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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Venom - 1985 Possessed
Venom - 1985 Possessed

ALBUM: Possessed
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1994, Castrle Classics, CLACD 402 * 2002, Castle Music, CMRCD507


LINEUP: Cronos - vocals, bass * Mantas - guitars * Abbadon - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Powerdrive * 02 Flytrap * 03 Satanachrist * 04 Burn This Place To The Ground * 05 Harmony Dies * 06 Possesed * 07 Hellchild * 08 Moonshine * 09 Wing And A Prayer * 10 Suffer Not The Children * 11 Voyeur * 12 Mustique * 13 Too Loud (For The Crowd)


Forging a reputation as premier metal wildmen prior to 'Possessed', this is where the wheels began to loosen for the Venom machine. Rewind to four years earlier when debut 'Welcome To Hell' took the scene by the proverbial balls, with its embryonic black metal stance, featuring the band decked out in leather and studs, using the much maligned demonic approach to their image and music, if somewhat contrived and comedic. This attracted the attention of metal scribes and fans all over the UK, and subsequent releases 'Black Metal and 'At War With Satan' boosted Venom's popularity, if not always consistent material wise, veering from all out thrash to plodding epic compositions. By 1985 it was fair to say Venom had been overtaken, rapidly, by younger and even heavier acts like Metallica and Slayer, who took Venom's inventive style further than Venom ever could. As a result 'Possessed' fared poorly, as the band began to splinter.

The Songs
If tracks like 'Black Metal', 'Rip Ride' and 'Witching Hour' had been landmark early extreme metal, then 'Possessed' saw a huge regression. 'Powerdrive' as openers go is a worthy statement, virtually identical to the first three albums in sound, fast, crude riffs and Cronos' trademark growls giving it the distinction of the best track, disturbing as there's still eleven left! Venom's lack of ideas filters through badly through the average material, the best bands able to make the same album repeatedly and keep it fresh, something Venom seemed unable to achieve. For the discerning headbanger the album appears to be a dream come true, it's consistently thrash based, but the melody is missing, which is needed to separate the contenders from pretenders. 'Satanachrist' forcibly maintains the demonic attributes, but strikes me a sheer comedy, even all these year later, whereas a legion of European metal acts actually sounded like they were practicing it for real, even if those bands, Bathory, Celtic Frost etc were not accomplished themselves yet. 'Suffer Not The Children' could still pass for 1981, the years seeming to have passed Venom in production terms, and while 'Burn This Place', 'Too Loud For The Crowd' and 'Voyeur' are all certainly heavy, the special feel of the early years is gone, suddenly not so extreme. One listen to what the Americans were producing, namely Anthrax, Exodus and Metallica, and it's obvious why Venom fell so fast.

In Summary
Adding to their woes Mantas became ill before a tour and left the band in 1986, therefore bringing to an end the famed lineup, until they reformed in 1997 after various other members joined the Venom ranks over the years, namely ex Atomkraft bassist Tony Dolan who replaced Cronos in the late 80's and early 90's. 'Possessed' itself is the victim of production standards that were dated by 1985 standards and set the band back immeasurably, lending a muddy edge to the music which wasn't up to par in the first place, save for a select few tracks. Arguably Venom had already left their indelible mark on metal history so this failure might not have been as stinging as it was twenty plus years ago.

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#1 | jeffduran on July 14 2008 08:17:31
Just released a new slab of savagery 'HELL'....
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