Seven Churches(Combat - 1985)
Following in the footsteps of Venom so to speak, Possessed decided to coin their own term for a new standard of metal brutality and they called it death metal, even titling a demo and a song after this new category. But whereas black metal has progressed today to the point where Venom isn't even considered black metal by some, this first stab at the most brutal style of music is undeniably death even today. The only differences today of course are the increased brutality, and the more melodic or progressive mutations. As an offshoot of thrash metal, the contemporary influences of their time are evident, bringing Slayer, Kreator, Bathory and Venom to mind. Some have even called this semi-black metal and indeed the borders between these styles were blurry at the time. But enough history and taxonomy, lets describe the music: Raw, furious and fast in the 80's style; Dynamic, varied and enjoyably unpolished; Coarse Venom-like vocals, thrash guitars, mixed thrash and death metal riffs and always interesting. There you go, now buy it.
Beyond the Gates(Combat - 1986)
Surprisingly, Possessed ease up on the brutality this time and revert back to thrash/speed metal. I found this fascinating actually: the music is so similar yet one album sounds undeniably thrashy and the other is mostly death - is it possible to pinpoint what causes this? I can describe death as an overpowering emphasis on brutality rather than speed - although the speed is still there of course - and the guitars usually have more roar and bottom end distortion. Thrash has more of a rhythm emphasis or speed frenzy, delivered with scratchier guitars relatively. This can be debated a lot obviously, and some would add double-bass drums and throatier growls as death metal criteria, but these aren't crucial to the death sound in my opinion. The key is the looming brutality effect in death caused by different riffing styles, whereas I would describe thrash more as aggressive rather than brutal. But I have digressed into taxonomy again: Thrash this album is, and wonderfully so. Superb fretwork, changing from whirlwind riffs to mosh delights and always changing often enough to keep things interesting. The drumming complements the many changes well and the vocals now have a more whining, Celtic Frost quality to them. A fast and superb speed/thrash metal album, the low production notwithstanding, and highly recommended to fans of this genre.
The Eyes of Horror EP(Combat - 1987)
More of the same superb thrash metal with great fretwork both in the rhythm and the solos. Some variation with the vocals here, with death growls used as well as the Celtic Frost/Venom vocal style, but otherwise I have nothing more to add. Five new songs make this a worthwhile EP.