Possession (Belgium) - 1585-1646 (2015)
Iron Bonehead Productions / Invictus Productions
Review by Trevor Proctor
Belgium’s Possession first attracted international attention and praise for their demo, His Best Deceit, released via Iron Bonehead and Invictus Productions on cd and cassette in November 2013. This was a four track smasher that included a cover of Sepultura’s Necromancer during seventeen minutes of primal and harsh death/black/thrash. This was followed in April 2014 by the excellent Anneliese 7” which featured two tracks and despite being only ten minutes long it was enough to show us Possession are no doubt a band in their ascendancy.
This June will once again see Possession’s music co-released by Iron Bonehead and Invictus Productions, with Bonehead bringing us the vinyl and Invictus the cd version. To celebrate its release both labels are holding a special mini-album launch gig in Oberhausen, Germany on the 6th of June which will also feature Ritualization, Deathcult and Khthoniik Cerviiks.
The cover’s gloriously dark artwork is the creation of Thorncross (Christophe Moyen) and the music was recorded at Blackout Multimedia Studio in Brussels by Phorgath from Enthroned. There will be two vinyl editions – regular black 12” with an A2 poster and a limited plain white 12” also including the A2 poster along with a faux leather logo patch, the limited white 12” will not be repressed when (not if) it sells out. Those opting to get the CD will be treated by the inclusion of both tracks from the previously mentioned Anneliese 7”.
The mini-album includes four tracks which tell the story of a medieval witch living in France between 1585 and 1646. Obscurity-Visitation opens and the first thing you notice is Possession take much longer than usual to set the scene with an intro that brings us harsh winds and rain along with medieval chanting and the toll of Church bells. It’s well over two minutes before the first guitar tone and even then the band take a further few minutes to build the atmosphere before launching us into their relentless aural assault. Whilst some may see the intro as being fairly long I feel it befits the track nicely by setting the scene and building memento and tension.
With this scene perfectly set Possession throw us into a fairly constant barrage of thrash infused blackened death – harsh, sinister and filled to the throat with aggression. During the second part of this opening track, Visitation, we hear of the witch’s visit by the Devil during which she makes a pact with him, and then Ceremony and Guilty tell us of the witch being hunted and subsequently tortured into making a confession on the Sabbath before she’s burnt at the stake which is detailed during closer, Ablaze. Possession are a little like Ireland’s ZOM when it comes to writing riffs – they seem to be able to write quality, catchy, hooky as fuck riffs at will and there’s no shortage of them throughout this release. The riff hammered at us after Guilty’s breakdown is just one of many, many examples; if this doesn’t get the head nodding you’d best check yourself for a pulse as Possession’s music takes no prisoners and drags you along for the ride whether you like it or not.
The progress Posssession has achieved across their three releases in such a short period of time is exemplary – every release has seen the band take a significant step forward in terms of both production and song writing whilst holding on to the harsh and vicious nature of their music that was so very essential in the creation of their sound. Some might argue Possession are a little rough around the edges but this is part of the appeal and with 1585–1646 they have managed to improve their sound and production without losing any of that trademark viciousness.
The underground is spewing forth more bands than ever and this makes it difficult for a band to stand out and achieve the status they sometimes deserve but with this release Possession have proved, once again, they’re a band worth taking notice of. From demo to EP to mini-album they have brought us nothing less than brilliance - obviously the next logical step is an album and if Possession can bring us an album’s worth of music this good they have easily got the potential to become one of the best bands we may see in the next few years. The CD of “His Best Deceit” is still available from Invictus Productions and the Anneliese 7” can still be snared from Iron Bonehead Productions – get yourself familiar with this band, you’ll not be disappointed.
1 - Obscurity – Visitation
2 - Ceremony
3 - Guilty
4 - Ablaze