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This is the one album that has SO much controversy; nobody is exactly sure what to call it. Seven Churches is believed to be the “first death metal” album ever made. To a certain degree, I can agree with that. I believe that the term Death Metal in that era was really just a nickname for such brutal thrash metal, also considering the facts that many also consider Kreator’s pleasure to kill to also be Death Metal, AND how Death Metal itself as a genre did not take place till Death’s Scream Bloody Gore was released. Sure, for it’s time, it could have been Death Metal for what it was, but really, since Death Metal didn’t take place till S.B.G. I am therefore going to call this a Thrash metal album.
Seven Churches is a classic without a doubt, and since I LOVE thrash metal, especially 80’s Thrash, really makes me love this one a lot more. Unfortunately, and I am sure that it has been thought by many, this is a VERY over-hyped/over-rated album. To compare this to S.B.G., I like Death’s album much more, because I really think that this is MUCH too sloppy and unstructured. I love it either way, but that really makes me wonder if I should give it a 90. Originally, I was gonna give it am 95 at the most, but I really thought about it, and felt it should get a 90. NOT a 100 percent worthy album or a 95, but a 90 isn’t too damn shabby. Some of the reasons for me giving it a lower rating than everybody else is because as was said earlier, it’s over-rated, WAY too much reverb on ALL the instruments, sometimes you hear the same guitar solo in a few of the songs, and most importantly the songs are TOO short.
To start the album off, we have The Exorcist. It starts off with the tubular bells intro, and if you listen to it carefully, it is played a little wrong by I believe ONE note. It’s funny how ONE note can make a BIG difference, but still. Once the song kicks in, we get introduced to one of the heaviest songs EVER! The lyrics are piercing, the vocals are crucifying, and the music is insanely brutal. Need I also mention a POSSIBLE influence to the ALBUM (not exactly an influence to the band) This album has a similar sound the Speed Metal group Exorcist, particularly in the vocals, even though Possessed has been around longer, but it seems like they could be a possible influence. Maybe even a somewhat tribute to them with this song? One of the highlight tracks. 10/10
Pentagram is up next, which starts off with a very demonic growl for about a few seconds, THEN it kicks in. I personally do not like the intro riff, but after that passes, the rest of the song kicks ass. HELLA HEAVY! Not much to say other than that. 8/10
Burning In Hell is a REAL headbanger. Instead of starting it off with little crazy intro’s to accent the songs, they cut right to the chase and deliver a HEAVY ass tune here. VERY Brutal sounding and a MAJOY headbanging tune. I bet back in the day, this song was probably considered to be a real Wall of sound because of how heavy this one is. DEFINITELY one of the highlights. 9/10
Evil Warriors is not bad. I love this one, and it’s hell-a heavy, brutal, and crazy. This one sounds like it was written for the purpose of headbanging, because it’s NON STOP Heavy. Cool guitar solo, and Jeff gives off a real evil scream on this one. Almost never heard a vocalist sound so horrifying on a CD before. SIX SIX SIX!!!!! 9/10
This next one is the self titled track Seven Churches. The intro riff to this one is really crucifying, but it’s played a little too fast for the drums because it goes off beat with this one, which I think makes this song not very great. Even though the funny thing is, this one is one of my favorite songs on here, and probably my top 3 favorite tracks. 9/10.
Satan’s Curse is not that great of a song. Actually, I find this song to kinda fail to have the same amount of horror and shock that the other songs bring. But also, it’s very different from the other songs that this album has all because it’s less brutal (at least in my eyes). Not really one of the best, but good because it’s not like the others. 7/10
Holy Hell is a crazy song. This one kinda reminds me of songs that have been played by Macabre (who was also considered to be one of the first Death Metal bands). This one is a real headbanger as well, BUT also does lack some. Not really a track I would like to listen to ALL the time, but also, it’s NOT too bad. Tolerable but not loved. 7/10.
Twisted Minds – this one is finally a track with length to it. Actually this one is the longest album on the record. Starts off slow, then as it continues, it gets faster, BUT it doesn’t get that much faster. Not exactly a head banger, but the Jeff gives off some real good yells/screams with this song. 8/10
Fallen Angel goes back to the routes of the first 2 tracks with the sound effect intros before the song gets heavy. This one is a PURE Thrash song, and really delivers. A REAL Headbanger, BUT also somewhat lacks as Holy Hell and Satan’s Curse. However, I do enjoy this one because of the bells at the intro which give it a more chilling sound. 8/10
Now, my favorite Possessed song and the BEST and MOST different song on the album DEATH METAL! The lyrics are VERY appealing. The double kicks at the intro help make the song different from some of the others. Definitely the MOST brutal song on the album and is very intimidating. So intimidating that bands who have covered it have not even made a good enough attempt to make it as the same league as these guy’s version. If Possessed was to make a music video, this would be the song to make it, and in the concerts, this is the song that would probably get the crowd going violent. Definitely an innovator and a true classic.
BOTTOMLINE: Though this album is very overrated, and many have made it seem SO great that Scream Bloody Gore does not live up to it’s own hype. I still prefer Scream Bloody Gore by Death over this album BUT that doesn’t mean this album isn’t great. It’s a classic and like most people who have heard it, it is highly recommended. Especially since it is not only an innovator, but it HELPED Death metal come into play (it did NOT create it like many say, because this is just Thrash Metal played to a more extreme demeanor.) If you find it, do NOT Hesitate, and buy it IMMEDIATELY!