The Rickety Old Shack

Possessed — Revelations Of Oblivion

album cover

Releasing their first studio album in 33 years, legendary death metal veterans Possessed have been active on-and-off in those intervening years but haven't put out a full-length record since Beyond The Gates in 1986. For a band that has existed as long as I've been alive — infact, they were formed in 1983, the year I was born — Possessed have a strong, albeit brief discography. After reactivating in 2012, it took the band another 7 years to write, record and eventually release Relevations Of Oblivion.

These Progenitors of the death metal genre — a genre whose very name comes from the closing track of the band's debut album Seven ChurchesPossessed have trafficked in speedy, technical riffs, pummeling drums and vocalist Jeff Becerra's trademark growls. Revelations Of Oblivion picks up right where the band left off in the late 80s, serving up blisteringly fast material evocative of the old school death metal bands of decades gone by. The production feels very old school as well — clear, audible but absent any excessive digital editing and processing. In 2019, this record is as no-frills as you're going to get. I'm sure there were some modern production techniques employed, but the drums sound human, the guitars — while exceedingly fast and precise — sound playable, and Becerra's vocals sound almost clean in comparison to the Cookie Monster growls that are a staple of the last 2 decades of death metal.

Aside from the sub-2-minute instrumental opening and closing tracks, Revelations Of Oblivion is a sonic assault from beginning to end, giving the listener very little time to catch a breath. Trademarked tremolo runs, technical drum patterns and twisted barks waylay the listener, track-after-track, achieving maximum effect without descending into monotonous, unfocused brutality. Every track is packed full of catchy, quality riffs and face-melting leads — with "Abandoned" being the clear stand-out track in my estimation. However, you can't go really wrong with any of other other cuts on this album either. Most of the material runs in the 4-5 minute range, although the "Omen" clocks in at nearly 7 minutes. That all being said, everything feels much more concise and brief during the listening process — there are no lulls or breaks in the aggression.

It's got to be difficult to end a drought of albums that extended over 3 decades, but Possessed managed to do so by releasing a collection of material that both harkens back to ye olde days but also stands up to any modern album in the same genre. Possessed aren't just cashing in on nostalgia and their influential status, Revelations Of Oblivion is a set of absolutely vicious bangers, evidence that there is still a lot of life in these underground veterans. Twisting, violent riffing galore, this album has its feet planted firmly in the present and past, culminating in one of the year's best releases. Old school fans should greatly enjoy this new album from such an influential act while the uninitiated can get a good idea of why this group was so revolutionary in their heyday.

Summary

Legendary metal outfit, Possessed drop one of this year's most ferocious records. Revelations Of Oblivion is shocking in its quality, showing just how hard a band that was formed 35 years ago can go. The first full-length album from the band since 1986's Beyond The Gates, this new album is a serious return to form for one of the metal genre's most influential acts. What they lack in quantity of albums, Possessed absolutely deliver in terms of quality. A must-listen for any old school metal fan and well worth the time of younger fans as well. This isn't so much a throwback as a reminder the old guard can still rise to the occcasion.

Album Information

Release date: May 10th, 2019
Record label: Nuclear Blast Records

Jeff Becerra — vocals
Daniel Gonzalez — guitars
Claudeous Creamer — guitars
Robert Cardenas — bass, backing vocals
Emilio Marquez — drums

Track Listing

  1. Chant Of Oblivion (Instrumental)
  2. No More Room In Hell
  3. Dominion
  4. Damned
  5. Demon
  6. Abandoned
  7. Shadowcult
  8. Omen
  9. Ritual
  10. The Word
  11. Graven
  12. Temple Of Samael (Instrumental)

Link: nuclearblast.de

—by Derek

Published: June 4th, 2019.