REVIEW: 1585 - 1646, Possession (Belgium)

In a society that is constantly sanitised, with all elements of danger and freedom slowly becoming absent from most people's everyday lives, it’s no surprise that folk are in turn now looking backwards towards a more care free and 'dangerous' time. Possession fit this to a tee, harking back to a time when the lines between what is black and what is death weren’t so clearly defined. Where fast paced, satanic and savage Extreme Metal was all that was required. Possession have all the rabid edges and untamed savagery that the finest who blend the blackest art with death metal’s force required to achieve greatness.

Seemingly coming out of nowhere with their brilliantly savage demo His Best Deceit, something that was recommended to me on a daily basis, they then followed up with the superb Anneliese EP and a few lives shows (unfortunately pulling out when I was meant to see them in Brussels supporting Vemod). With the band only being in existence for 2 years, it’s amazing the cult following they have amassed and 1585 -1646 certainly cements this support. As with all of their previous releases, production is handled by Phorgath of Enthroned and was recorded at his Blackout Studios in Brussels.

Possession unleash four spells across 1585-1646 that take the churning, grit and power of their demo and imbue them with the more dynamic leanings of Anneliese to offer the story of a witch who lived in France between 1585 and 1646. The MLP builds the medieval atmosphere perfectly via its slow, burning intro with great suspenseful quality. Rain and eerie harmonies hymn like chanting in the distance, and the toll of funeral bells leads into a repetitive riff with the backing of an occasional drum beating. This gradually rises until all hell breaks loose six and a half minutes in when a twisted lead riff and pounding drums lead into visitation that tells the story of the devil visiting the witch. This is certainly a fitting soundtrack for the arrival of Baphomet.

Second track ‘Ceremony’ takes up where the Anneliese EP left off. The band’s approach of the savagery of Black Metal alongside the solid foundation and oftentimes grooviness of Death Metal to compliment the blasts is a fitting tribute to the Sabbath and the continuation of the witch's tale. ‘Guilty’ follows on from ‘Ceremony’ in style and approach, with the harsh vocals of singer Mestema really shining through as the inquisitors are now hunting down the witch with what I can only assume is great vigour due to the intensity of the riffing that’s presented here. The closer of the release ‘Ablaze’ concludes the tale of the witch with her ultimately being burned at the stake and features some of the most feral and buzzing riffing of the four tracks accompanied by a delivery which is hate filled and snarling. Eventually slowing down to a more pedestrian pace, the howling of wolves begins to feature as the MLP fades away with indecipherable mumblings and manic howling.

All in all, a yet again flawless release from Belgium’s most demented. The sooner a full-length is released the better, with Possession’s ever growing fan base waiting in anticipation and the band seemingly being able to do no wrong. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch them live soon enough but their only live dates announced so far are celebrating the release of the album with a headlining ritual at the Helvete Club in Oberhausen, Germany and two festival appearances in Spain and Switzerland respectively.

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