Neat 1024 LP
Released in April 1985
Recorded at Moorhall, Sussex, England
Produced by Venom & Keith Nichol
Album Cover Artwork by Conrad Lant
On April 1, 1985 Venoms fourth longplayer was released, Possessed. An album that was planned before the At War With Satan LP, in fact a lot of it was written at the time of the Black Metal album. The crusade to get Possessed crammed alongside the first trilogy of Venom albums in terms of recognition is futile and really not necessary, it´s the lack of groundbraking factors, not the lack of quality songs, that keeps it the underdog of Venom albums. Welcome To Hell will always remain the seminal foundation for extreme metal, and is one of the most influencal heavy metal releases of all time. Black Metal is still unparalleled when it comes to simplistic quality in metal, and of course the epic title track of At War With Satan was innovative at the time. But Possessed was released when the floodgates of extreme metal had already been opened by Venom themselves.
This is in my opinion one of the most underrated albums ever made. On Possessed, Venom we´re in a somewhat different mode and they changed the songstructure just a little bit. It´s more complex and intricate. Although the band did not lose any of their fire and none of the diabolical themes that they had made their trademark up to this date. The album has a really dark, haunting feel to it that I really like. Another thing is that they turned up the punk/hardcore influence, so it is overall a bit faster then their earlier works.
Powerdrive certainly manifests its namesake, travelling on demon wings with a mighty roar, incinerating all in its path. Flytrap scoches incessantly, and on to Satanachist, using echoing vocals to accentuate the force therof. Burn This Place To The Ground blasts forth at blacklight speed igniting hellfire with burning sulphuric rage. Harmony Dies is as a purifying plume of destruction to bring forth renewal. Last track on first vinylside is the titletrack, Possessed, probably the prime offering of this opus and still remains one of the foremost and memorable blasphemous pieces in Black Metal history.
Hellchild kickstart side two and follows with Moonshine, which uses howling werewolves and a fade-out chorus for heightened psychodramatic effect. Wing And A Prayer is a faster, well composed, instrumental that gives another dose of headbanging frenzy. Suffer Not The Children contains a whispering chorus amidst the metal mayhem , the dichotomy works pretty good. But this is probably the least successful track on the album. Voyeur is fun and fast, and even manages to out-pervert Teacher's Pet. The album finish with two totally killer tracks, Mystique and Too Loud For The Crowd, the latter is the same sort of metal anthem Venom sought with Stand Up And Be Counted on At War With Satan, but it betters that tenfold. A truly excellent track.
You often read reviewer that slaughter this albums production to pieces. Pesonally I like this raw and brutal basement production. That made the album sound like nothing else back then and 23 years later it still sounds totally unique.