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Swing of the axes - 95%

Felix 1666, December 11th, 2014

Allow me to welcome to you to this masterpiece of metal. It starts with a throaty cry of Jeff Beccera that leads to the fantastic verse of "Confessions". While leaving the seven churches behind and dwelling beyond the gates, the band lets you take a look through "The Eyes of Horror". The opener is a straight up-tempo thrasher, equipped with the power of a pretty horrifying melody. It shows the best side of Possessed, that already offered a perfect and surprisingly mature performance on their unbelievable debut. How good it is to hear that the musicians had not yet forgotten how to create a malicious and absolutely stirring record. Thanks to the fact that they skillfully mixed up-tempo tunes and heavy sequences, this EP shines with an immaculate flow. It´s definitely not just a question of its brevity that I want to hear it again as soon as its last tones have faded. There are other good reasons for this.

For example, the guitar work is excellent. The riffs immediately take possession of the listener while having a long-term effect. No, I must correct myself; it is an ever lasting effect. I am not exaggerating when I say that the solos and the guitar lines represent the benchmark in terms of early thrash metal. The guitars combine the slightly technical approach of albums such as Toxik´s debut "World Circus" with the unbridled energy of angry adolescents. The songs themselves are always the main thing, the guitar wizardry does never appear as an act of musical masturbation. Drums and bass guitar do their job in a technically flawless manner, too. The production of Joe Satriani is more or less perfect for that time. Honestly, this was a matter of urgency after the shocking sound disaster of "Beyond the Gates". Carl Canedy, I still hate you for that!

The five songs offer a great variety of metal. Only the ingenious title track follows a similar concept as the opener. "The Eyes of Horror" features inter alia thrilling solos (at the beginning as well as during the middle part) and a very intensive ending. Apart from these tunes, Possessed also offer slower parts and almost melancholic melodies. Just listen to the first tones of "Storm in My Mind", it surprises with a different atmosphere without hurting the homogeneous overall impression. Finally, "Swing of the Axe" delivers the most bulky riffs of the album. Possessed manage them well. Despite the fact that the track was well known because of its first release on "Metal Massacre VI", it added value to this EP. The same can be said about the stereotyped yet phenomenal cover artwork. Therefore, do yourself a favour and listen to this outstanding output, it is much more than the short reverberation of the first two albums of the band.

Thrash in my mind - 88%

dismember_marcin, April 24th, 2013

The infatuated trilogy of Possessed's classic releases is closed with a 20 minute short MLP “The Eyes of Horror”. Well, the previous album – “Beyond the Gates” – was for me personally a slight disappointment, if I can be honest with you. OK, I will never say it was a complete shite or something like that, because it is a decent thrash metal album, but the problem I have with it is that: 1. It is not as good as “Seven Churches” and 2. The quality of songwriting on this album is fine, but not outstanding and personally I would expect something more from the masters of death / thrash metal. I have a feeling like this album hasn’t aged that well and when I listen to it nowadays I just don’t feel as thrilled as when I listen to any my top thrash metal releases of all times. But another thing is “The Eyes of Horror”… this album is 26 years old now and I think that music wise is it a better effort than the earlier Possessed release.

I simply like these songs more. The riffing is better and more arse kicking, there are more memorable parts on the MLP and the whole material is more straight forward affair rather than a dull guitar masturbating. Already the opening song is crazy – “Confessions” sounds incredibly well, the fast pace, at which it was played, is great and literally this track will force the listener to bang the head otherwise something wrong will happen to him. And “Confessions” isn’t even my personal favourite from “The Eyes of Horror”! That would I think be “My Belief”, which has that killer opening riff and as a whole I think it would be perfect on some early Destruction records. And those riffs in the title track? They’re just excellent, especially with that galloping tempo, which definitely will never let the fans stand like stones, when they’ll hear this song played live. And finally there’s also “Storm In My Mind” – oh, how sweet bad ass thrash metal devastation.

So what I will say for the end of this short review is that I definitely like “The Eyes of Horror” more than “Beyond the Gates” and for me personally it is one of the most classic and obligatory thrash metal releases of all times. Check it out, especially on LP, so you can look at this excellent front artwork of this album.
Standout tracks: “The Eyes of Horror”, “My Belief”
Final rate: 88/100

Sin after sin, your brains are crushed in - 80%

autothrall, April 27th, 2010

Seven Churches and Beyond the Gates have both earned Possessed a fanatical cult following, considered seminal works of 80s occult thrash metal and pioneering releases that led the genre into its next evolution (death metal). But The Eyes of Horror EP, which followed, is often left out of the conversation. Boasting a tighter coordination and cleaner production than their full-lengths, the five tracks on this release exhibit what Possessed might have become had their career forged on, solid thrash with some similarities to then-albums by Hallows Eve (in particular, Monument's guitar tone sounds a lot like this recording). The EP was recorded by guitar guru Joe Satriani.

"Confessions" begins with a forceful, grinding thrash rhythm swathed in Jeff Becera's charnel vocal tone. It's pretty memorable and vile, but you'll notice right away it's a bit polished up from the band's origins. "Eyes of Horror" is a slower groove with some nice rhythm work beneath the leads, and an unforgettable first verse (though the lyrics are admittably pretty weak):

'I believe only the real
Walk through life on what I feel
Living my life from day to day
What's wrong, what's right, who's to say'

Hideous. The title track is the creepiest and best on the album, with a death metal visage implied among its churning guitars and quite a few catchy riffs. I really enjoy the chorus vocals, with the sinister echo. "Swing of the Axe" is a vicious track that recalls Slayer's Show No Mercy, and the final "Storm In My Mind" opens with some nice leadwork and busts out a nice mid-paced thrashing rhythm later on. The material here might feel more focused, but that steals away nothing from its dark nature. The lyrics seemed to be moving in a more personal direction, but the ability to write memorable, ominous rhythms is untouched. Most probably have this EP tacked on to their copy of Beyond the Gates, but it's worth hearing to any fan of evil 80s thrash metal, even those rare souls who don't care for the band's legendary full-lengths.

Highlights: Confessions, Eyes of Horror, Swing of the Axe

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

The Last Seal By Possessed... - 88%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, April 8th, 2008

Unfortunately, this is the last considerable (for the length) release by the thrash/death demons, Possessed. If in its precursor, that Beyond The Gates, we already noticed a big change of direction by this great band, here we have the natural continuation with more thrash metal oriented riffage. The production here is less clean that in Beyond The Gates and “Confessions” immediately shows its death/thrash metal load with great riffs and awesome, more melodic solos.

To continue we have the mid paced beginning to “My Believe”, suddenly transformed in up tempo with great galloping guitars parts and tapping solos. The technique level has increased since Beyond The Gates and the music quality is always high, even if the direction has changed. Becerra’s vocals here are less screamed but lower in the tonality, with the raw component always in the first place.

The beginning to the title track is pure thrash, made of lots of palm muting parts and gloom atmosphere. The solos here are really great and more melodic. The main riff is repeated ‘till the end, creating a really compact wall of sound to sustain the long lead guitars parts. The riff at the beginning to “Swing The Axe” always reminded me the one on “Antichrist” song by Sepultura. Anyway, this is another great thrash metal song, excellent to damage your neck.

With the last “Storm In My Mind” you can easily forget the death metal influences. This one is pure thrash, either on the solos or during the fast restart. The tempo is in Hellhammer style in some points and that’s great to me! All in all, this is a very good piece of thrash metal by a band that disappeared in a premature way, leaving us the memory of three great releases. I can only hope in something new from them as soon as possible.

A more mature Possessed... - 86%

bastos666, March 14th, 2008

Unfortunately, this is the last release from the “classic” Possessed. Soon after this, the band demised and the members parted ways. Even so, this little EP is very good and features a different and more mature style of Possessed. As stated by the band itself, the trademark Satanism is almost ditched (except on “Swing of the axe”, an old re-recorder classic) and the main lyrical theme is now Becerra’s inner feelings.

The music itself is different too, as the other user said this is basically a thrash EP loosing the Death Metal characteristics from earlier albums. We can tell that from the clean (and impeccable) production and from Jeff’s voice that is now cleaner and not so aggressive.

The riffing is very good and the drumming is very consistent but nothing outstanding. All the songs are good but my favourite is the title track. That song creeps me out and that chorus is pure headbanging material!

Despite a short change of direction of the band’s musical style this will not disappoint older Possessed fans. Highly recommended!

Highlights: “The Eyes of Horror”, “Swing of the Axe”

More thrashy than any other Possessed I've heard. - 100%

Scrotal_Salad, June 5th, 2005

This is by far the thrashiest album I've heard put out by Possessed. It's a pity it's only five songs. There isn't one song where you listen and just go, "Eh..Next track." That's just not a possible reaction to this CD.

The guitar work on this EP is just amazing and I think that's mostly due to Joe Santriani producing it and I've heard he also gave the guitarist lessons. Every song is cocked-full of catchy, timely riffs. Never a dull moment riff-wise. The drumming is your typical thrash drumming and it done well. Nothing too special, but it matches the music perfectly. The vocals sound pretty similar Lemmy at time. They go in nice with the music. They sound so tortured and full of agony which is perfect for Possessed's style of thrash. Nothing special about the bass. It does it part and nothing more.

If you have not heard this EP and are a fan of Possessed, or just a fan of thrash for that matter, I highly recommend you pick this EP up. You will not regret it.

Choice tracks: All.

Throwaway tracks: None.