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Songs for a second SEVEN CHURCHES - 99%

JBMT, February 17th, 2009

What a shame Possessed broke up again after the release of this killer demo!
The three songs featured on this tape plus the seven other songs composed by Mike "Hell Hick" Torrao from 1990 to 1993 would have been an excellent album close to the first album, a sort of "Seven Churches Part Two" in a more darker, modern death metal form.
The first song "The Seventh Sign" is a blast from hell indeed. Very fast (drummer Walter Ryan tops Mike Sus in any respect except the latter's remarkable martial snare rolls) and vicious with great riffing and great leads and great vocals of Mr. Torrao himself that are darker and deeper than Mr. Becerra's were (and that means a lot!)! Lyrically the band has returned to its roots - songs about Satan and horror flicks.
The second song "Last Ritual" is even faster and more brutal than the first one with a tremendous chorus. It is without any doubt the fastest song Possessed have ever done. Welcome to my home!
The third and last song is called "Human Extermination" and is a blaster of its own. Not so fast as the predecessors are its qualities in a very gloomy chorus and brilliant leads combined with a horror intro and a riff that is very easy to remember. Its sole manko is its length. The song starts to get boring after a while.
As I said in the beginning, it's a pity Torrao didn't move on with Possessed after this divine offering and the other songs like "The Martyr's Wake", "Re-Possessed", "Blood For Blood" or "Over Reality" to mention a few that never made it onto any recording.
I'm sure the third full-length-album of Possessed would have been the absolute killer if released in 1993 or 1994 and today this band would be in the position to which she should belong. Torrao, just record these songs anew please and put them out on a full-length-effort! Thanx.

One of the strongest demos in Death Metal history. - 85%

Necroticism89, January 12th, 2009

This demo was created in 1993 as Mike Torrao tried to re-unite Possessed once again. This was the only artefact from the sessions, a 3 song demo, which has never been commercially released.

First Impression? Well, the first song, The Seventh Sign, is an utter fucking beast of a song, one of my favourite songs ever written by Possessed. The solos are awesome and it's a real blast of a song. Last Ritual follows in more of the same vein, it doesn't let up either. These songs are classic Possessed, and by far match anything on Seven Churches or Beyond The Gates. There is no experimentation or progressive thinking on this one, and it's better for it.

Human Extermination is more of a mid-paced number, and can grate as the verse riff can get very annoying boring, very quickly. However, the more technical/progressive riffs near the end redeem this song a bit, reminding me of Ungentle Exhumation-era Cryptopsy or Contradictions Collapse-era Meshuggah, however, I do think this song outstays it's welcome a bit too much, and the solo isn't as up to scratch as the other two songs. Nonetheless, it's not a bad song, by any stretch of the imagination, it's just a bit boring compared to the other two.

Torrao is on top form on this demo, his vocals are unbelievable, a mixture of Chuck Schuldiner and a faster John Tardy, and the riffs on this record are some of his best, by far, only beaten by the astonishing solos. Another mention has to go to Walter Ryan, the drummer, who puts in the performance of his life on this demo. He blasts along with a ferocity easily bypassing anything by Mike Sus, with some of the fastest beats Possessed have ever had. He really has ramped up the speed factor on here, and some of the fills are just unbelievable. Mike Hollman and Paul Perry give respectable, workmanlike performances on their respective instruments and must be commended for their performance. But this is Torrao's show, he rules the roost and he kicks arse.

One notable aspect has to be the production. When you compare it the the 91' Demo, you can see a notable difference in sound quality. Although the 91 Demos are raw, they are also a bit muddy. However, the sound on this demo is unbelievable. It far surpasses the other demos and even Seven Churches, and the sounds is crystal clear. There's no hiss or crackle or annoying clipping. It's a modern production (For 1993) and isn't too polished, like the Cryptopsys and Decapitateds of today, who sound sterilised and neutered. It actually reminds me of the sound of Cannibal Corpse around the time of this demo, on TOTM and The Bleeding. It's all crystal clear, yet retains the essential warmth which all good Death Metal bands should have. To hear a sound so good on a demo is quite a revelation?

Overall, this demo is unbelievable. I actually prefer it to Beyond the Gates and The Eyes of Horror, and it's on equal level with Seven Churches. It could possibly be the best thing Possessed have ever done. Possessed should bundle this with the 2 demos from the ill-fated 1991 reunion as a compilation, because this needs an official release. I still do not see why this hasn't been re-released yet, because it's unbelievably good, and more people need to hear it. Another thing I can't fathom is why this reunion didn't work because the material they were writing was some of the best they had ever done and the live shows were apparently very good. Perhaps Torrao got cold feet all of a sudden about continuing the Possessed name, despite being the only original member.

Whatever reason, this demo will remain a time capsule of Possessed's tumultuous 90s history. Whether the latest line-up of Possessed with Jeff Becerra and the guys from Sadistic Intent are as worthy of the Possessed name as this line-up is unclear, as they haven't released any new material yet. But all I know is that Possessed can have no qualms or regrets about this demo, as it is certainly true Possessed, and not a mere shadow of it's old self. It is a true and accurate representation of the genre Possessed spawned, Death Metal and shows that the old dogs are more than perfectly capable of keeping up with the new breed.