Possessed – Seven Churches
In the autumn of 1985, US four piece Possessed issued what would become a landmark release in heavy music. Considered by many to be the first death metal album, Seven Churches is the record that bridged thrash metal with its more extreme sibling genre. It retains many traits of its parent genre, but there’s also an abominable intensity and nightmarish atmosphere pervading every second that was largely absent in metal at the time. Whilst things have predictably got faster, heavier, more complex and brutal in the years since, the album is still an incredibly potent experience (just imagine how it must have sounded in 1985). Amidst the chaos created by the wild and furious riffs of Larry LaLonde and Mike Tarrao and the relentless skin thumping of Mike Sus lies Jeff Becerra, whose demonic, feral roar would go on to become one of the defining features of the genre. Possessed did not endure long enough to truly build on the legacy of Seven Churches, but the impact and influence they had on extreme metal cannot be understated.