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A feast of evil, headbanging madness - 95%

Empyreal, October 31st, 2007

All those bedroom black metal projects and brutal technical grind death bands could learn something from this. Possessed doesn't need much of an introduction, but they were a good old thrash band that took their sound to the extreme, a daring move which ended up leaving them with this album. Seven Churches is pretty much the antithesis of politically correct-ness by its name and thematic alone, with such charming and classic song titles as "Satan's Curse" and "Pentagram." I wasn't around when it was first released, but I imagine it, along with the cover, did not make Possessed many friends in groups like the PMRC back in those days, even when such people had not even heard one note of the music contained inside. And the music on here definitely lives up to the band's crazy, unheard-of-in-1985 Satanic imagery, being a whirling cacophony of hard hitting, devilishly catchy thrash riffs, twisted, evil solos, drums that were faster than speeding bullets, and a vocalist in Jeff Becerra that literally sounded like he was coming from Hell to drag you down to the Devil himself, to be tortured for all eternity.

The songs on Seven Churches are simple and they all sound quite alike, but hell, in a case where sounding alike means that your album just consistently applies a steel-toed boot to your ass, as it does here, I'm not complaining. Every song here ranges from 3 to 5 minutes, as on a lot of older thrash albums, and every song is pretty much equally good, with standouts being exceptionally difficult to choose. Things start off with a calming, rather haunting synth intro, when suddenly the floor drops, and you're plunged into an orgy of jugular-tearing riffage, pierced by Becerra's netherworldly rasping, and if you can't get into "The Exorcist" after that, then you're a lost cause. "Pentagram" has some absurdly cool guitar trills running about it's hellish exterior, a meaty and healthy thrash appetizer that doesn't fail to please. "Fallen Angels" is another killer track, starting off with some somber, hypnotic church bells and then leaping head first into the aural equivalent of a machine gun fight, with the fastest riffs on here, only to drop out towards the end with the church bells again, before going back to the throat-cutting, too-fast-for-the-speed-limit riffage and a winding, demented solo that will send chills up your back as it ascends from the pits of Hell. Holy fuck. Every other song here kills too, there are no duds whatsoever.

If you're a fan of extreme metal, this is more than mandatory. If you dislike extreme metal, then you should still at least try to enjoy this one. It might be short and it might be repetitive at times, but that's why it's so damn cool. This is a burst of Hellish fun that you'd be hard pressed to find an equal to anywhere these days. Go get it.