Published May 08, 2019Possessed are more of a myth than a band at this point. Since birthing the entire death metal genre with the song "Death Metal," on 1985's Seven Churches, they have flirted around the edges of the scene without really ever stepping back in. While their fellow originators Morbid Angel and Death have either transformed into industrial monstrosities or, um, died, Possessed have retained their legendary status due mainly to inactivity.
The band's output stalled after 1986's Beyond the Gates, and since then, has consisted mainly of compilations, two EPs and a single live album from 2004. Original guitarist Larry LaLonde went on to create a little project called Primus in 1989, and the rest of the band largely faded from sight. Could it be that Possessed simply aren't up to the task of reaffirming their immeasurable legacy?
Revelations of Oblivion confirms that the answer is a firm "No." Stopping short of being the complete musical revolution that Seven Churches was, Revelations is still a killer slice of death metal, crafted by the people who understand it best. Vocalist Jeff Becerra (now in a wheelchair after a failed armed robbery attempt in 1989) snarls like no time has passed at all. "Chant of Oblivion" recaptures the menace that once defined the genre, while "No More Room in Hell" is an ode to death metal's biggest influence, the peerless Slayer. Right away, it's clear this is what fans have been waiting for.
Revelations of Oblivion isn't just a simple throwback either. Sure, "Demon," "Dominion" and "Graven" couldn't be more '80s death metal if they tried, but there are still surprises to be had. "Omen" contains grand symphonic elements that were completely unknown in Possessed's heyday, and "Abandoned" is so blindingly technical, it puts many modern acts to shame. A special shoutout goes to Daniel Gonzalez, whose guitar rampage captures the frenzied spirit of the original Florida death metal sound.
Possessed deserve to be spoken of in the same breath as Black Sabbath and Metallica when it comes to influence. Simply put, nobody does this as well as them and probably no one ever will. Revelations of Oblivion was exactly the reminder we all needed. (Nuclear Blast)