Venom - Possessed review
04. Burn This Place To The Ground
05. Harmony Dies
09. Wing And A Prayer
10. Suffer Not The Children
13. Too Loud (For The Crowd)
Sometimes an album does not have to suck for earning a bad reputation; the unpleasant title of ''combo breaker'', terminating a sequence of successful attempts with its mediocrity, and therefore becoming a step backwards, is enough to fall into the pit of the hated. Possessed is one of those ''combo breakers'', but it did was released in a inopportune moment, when the foundations of Black Metal and Venom's style were already established; meaning that the sound produced, regardless the quality, was definitely outworn.
But despite all the reception problems with the fans (and even among the band), Possessed is not terrible musically. When technically analyzed, it presents most of the characteristics anyone would expect from a Venom album: bad sloppy production (check), raw and fast thrashy songs with unbalanced instruments (check), satanic and anti-religion thematic with good hints of humor (check), aggressive beyond most contemporary groups (check). Still, no insightful perspective is required to pinpoint the major defect of the album, which lies exactly in the first of the expected characteristics: production. This time the line was pushed too far, and they have finally managed to overcome themselves in negligence, burying the guitar riffs miles and miles beneath the drum and the bass, and draining out most of the power that could be displayed (although the bass preeminence in ''Flytrap'' worked beautifully). A less powerful, slower collection of songs was the only possible result, automatically causing the impression of musical step back.
Either way, even the pushed to the edge and messed up production could not destroy this album; songs like ''Suffer Not The Children'', ''Mystique'' and ''Possessed'' exhibit some nice atmospheric moments in its slowness, while ''Powerdrive'' and ''Moonshine'' compensate with an aggressive appeal. Other than that, no further changes in their image, except for the little effort responsible for the horrible cover art. What cannot be ignored is that Venom's trademark of insouciance with technical and production quality has cost them decades of relative anonymity, and an everlasting bad reputation accompanying the respect for their legacy; the release of Possessed was most likely the crucial moment in the band's murky fate.
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| Troy Killjoy
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