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Possessed – Revelations Of Oblivion

Published:

Last Updated on 04:07 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Death / Thrash
Country: U.S.A.
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release: 10/05/2019

This particular review – or to be more accurate this point of opinion – has made me twist and turn for about a month. I keep writing and backspacing every two days, thinking that something has escaped my mind, or I’ve exaggerated about / underestimated some of the points of the album. I let time pass intentionally, and obviously avoided to officially state what I was thinking primarily because I wanted this ‘hype’ over the album to go flat and people stop praising the album due to mere enthusiasm and hazy judgment, blinded by their love towards the band and the longing for a new album for over three decades. Just to be clear, my thoughts were divided. On one hand I kept thinking that I would be utterly disappointed should the album were a disaster; on the other hand I hoped for the best, especially after attending the band’s live gig in Thessaloniki about two and a half years ago, where tension, passion and emotional tautness on both ends were sky high. Thankfully (that goes for everyone involved), the album managed to fulfill the crowd’s expectations and slapped the crap out of those who remember to reunite their inactive bands after reaching an age when kids are not a ‘issue’ keeping them at home anymore or they’re close to retirement; reunions which most of the time lead to disappointing gigs and even more disappointing releases. In order to contain myself and to avoid being carried away, I probably should talk about the album itself, shouldn’t I?

“Revelations Of Oblivion” consists of 12 tracks, of a total duration of 54 minutes, based on the logic of mixing and entwining Death and Thrash Metal. The drums are being pummeled by Emilio Marquez, Robert Cardenas is on bass duties, Daniel Gonzalez (of Gruesome) along with Claudeous Creamer (of From Hell) play the guitar, and of course we find Jeff Becerra slaying on vocals, the only remaining member of the original lineup. The good thing is that no one looks like a “foreign body”. It’s like they’ve always been part of the band and continue from where they stopped. On substance and act, they “embrace” and complement each other; an excellent lineup that yielded the best.

In general, “Revelations Of Oblivion” manages to combine the primitive Death Metal of “Seven Churches” with the most thrash turn we heard in “Beyond The Gates”. For the most part, we are talking about classic, monolithic structures, as they were expected to be, of course, with the appropriate dose of “paranoia” that always distinguished the band.

The introductory “Chant of Oblivion” is probably the most essential intro that we could have for the album, as it puts us in the mood. Its connection to the title of the album, along with the dark and eerie atmosphere it creates, paves the way for the most evil path that leads to Hell. That otherworldly feeling is intensified by the beasty vocals that remind us of a monster awakening (metaphorically, fits perfectly in the case of Possessed). In sequential tracks, we come across elaborately worked-on guitars, given special gravitas to the solo parts (listen to “Damned”), and we often come across certain alternations, changes and breaks in the rhythms that cut the torrent flow, but keep our interest intact. Many would envy this powerful and actual dangerous comeback of Possessed. In times when everybody is trying to restore their earlier glory, Possessed kick them in the arse.

Due to the fact that the main face of Possessed at the moment is Jeff Becerra, it would serve our cause to speak a bit about him. In terms of performance, Becerra is mentally transferring us back to the good old days, proving that he was always ready to return to action (beyond the ultimate proof, returning a few years ago to the concert life). It looks as if he has not been touched by the passage of time in a general context. We certainly see a change in the tone and gravity of his vocals – it is reasonable, he’s aging like any of us – but that does not mean that their quality changes. Theatricality and drama, with that damned rough screams, are still one of the very basic / structuring elements of the success of Possessed.

In the list of the positive points I should also include the production of the album, which surprisingly seems to deviate from the Nuclear Blast practice of recent years, in which everything sounds super-tight and plastic.

As always, extra points for the “divine” cover – it captures everything that’s happening on the album, but also encompasses all the extreme and satanic aesthetics of Possessed.

On the reverse, points are removed (at least for me) from the total, due to the long duration of the record. I think the ideal length for an album that carries such a great momentum and weight of sound, is 35-40 minutes. From then on, things get tiresome and make you think that all tracks are the same.

In summary, Possessed seems to balance between then and now. They still have the flame of “Seven Churches,” but their step is steadily and loudly pushed to the present, so that they keep their character and avoid sounding retro in 2019. Sure, we have a complete record at hand with the full meaning of that word, and even more surely, it deserved our patience, while simultaneously raising its middle finger to all those who thought the band would never come back.

The most likely scenario is that at the end of the season we will be talking about “Revelations Of Oblivion” and add it to the category with the best “mainstream” records of the year in the extreme genre – I put it this way because I personally review the underground releases under a different light and considering different criteria; And not just because it is a record of excellent quality, but because it marks the restart of Possessed making the future look promising. In a nutshell, we saw the renewed face of Possessed, supported by their old glamour.

5,5 / 6

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