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POSSESSED

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

One of the prime instigators of the Bay Area Thrash scene. San Francisco's POSSESSED's influence would be felt on the extreme Metal scene, particularly the Death and Black Metal genres, long after the group had disbanded. Indeed, POSSESSED is generally acknowledged to be amongst the very earliest groups to brand their of music as "Death Metal". Founded as teenagers during 1983 POSSESSED were originally fronted by singer Barry Fisk. The band also formatively included the EXODUS credited Geoff Andrews on bass. Tragedy struck the band early in their career though when Fisk committed suicide, shooting himself in the head in front of his girlfriend.

With former MARAUDER and BLIZZARD man Jeff Beccara replacing Fisk the band, including guitarists Mike Torrao and Brian Montana with drummer Mike Sus, cut a 1984 demo which excited the interest of Metal Blade Records. The label gave an inclusion to POSSESSED's 'Swing Of The Axe', culled from a second demo recorded at Dangerous Rhythm Studio in Oakland with engineer Matt Wallace, to their 'Best Of Metal Massacre' compilation but did not sign the band up for an album. The honour fell to Combat Records although not before Montana was fired, apparantly for disagreeing with the bands image of leather, studs and inverted crosses. Larry Lalonde, another BLIZZARD recruit, took his place for the Randy Burns produced debut 'Seven Churches'.

'Seven Churches' emerged in October 1985 although not in its originally intended packaging. The band had at first conceived a cover featuring gravestones bearing the individual members names plus a nun hanging from a tree. Bravely opening with a lift from Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells Part 1', 'Seven Churches' vent forth a far blacker and Luddite brand of thrash metal than had been heard previously. Stylistically, Beccara's primal vocal roar and the harsh nature of the music polarized opinion.

POSSESSED's debut international concert came with an appearance at the 'World War III" festival in Montreal, Canada ranked alongside NASTY SAVAGE, CELTIC FROST, VOIVOD and DESTRUCTION in November 1985. The 'Beyond The Gates' album, produced by Carl Canedy of THE RODS, came wrapped in a lavish fold out sleeve, a rare extravagance for a Thrash act. To promote the album, POSSESSED toured Europe with VOIVOD and DEATHROW in November 1986, with a solitary London date adding ENGLISH DOGS to the bill.

The follow up mini-album 'The Eyes Of Horror' was produced by none other than guitar guru JOE SATRIANI and found the group mellowing out slightly.

POSSESSED fractured leaving Torrao to carry on the name. LaLonde would join veteran Speed Metal combo BLIND ILLUSION then create the offbeat but commercially successful PRIMUS. Beccara suffered the misfortune of being shot by two drug addicts and was paralysed from the waist down.

POSSESSED resurfaced in 1991, demoing with a line up comprising of Tarrao, guitarist Mark Strausberg, erstwhile DESECRATION bassist Bob Yost and drummer Walter Ryan. The band supported MACHINE HEAD the same year and cut a two song demo at Razor's Edge Studios in October 1991. POSSESSED's last incarnation came in 1993. Former POSSESSED guitarist Mike Hollman joined hardcore merchants PRO-PAIN in 1994. Ryan joined MACHINE HEAD, then Hardcore merchants MADBALL before a stint with Oakland's POWERHOUSE. Torrao later forged IKONOCLAST.

Although their career was short the band's music is now held in high regard in particular by today's Black and Death Metal legions. Indeed, a POSSESSED tribute album would surface in 2000 which found the Los Angeles band SADISTIC INTENT's contribution featuring no less than Jeff Beccara on vocals. CANNIBAL CORPSE had also cut both 'The Exorcist' and 'Confessions' as exclusive tracks for Japanese editions of their albums.

The Polish Agonia Promotions label would appease ardent POSSESSED fans by issuing a limited edition 10" EP entitled 'Resurrection'. This outing, restricted to 500 copies, comprised tracks from the band's debut demo tape 'Death Metal' plus previously unreleased cuts 'Pentagram', 'Swing Of The Axe', 'Twisted Minds' and 'Fallen Angel' as well as one brand new studio song from Becerra's new project SIDE EFFECT. This latter venture incorporating Becerra, Ken Bertoncini, Ed Varni and Rick Durocher.

The Dutch Karmageddon Media label issued a further POSSESSED tribute in 2004 entitled 'Tribute To Possessed... Seven Gates of Horror'. Featured acts paying homage included IMPIOUS, CANNIBAL CORPSE, VADER, DIABOLIC, GOD DETHRONED, ABSU, PENTACLE, SINISTER, ANGEL CORPSE, KRABATHOR, HOUWITSER and AMON AMARTH. That same year Agonia unearthed a soundboard tape from a January 1987 show in Ohio and released these tracks as the 'Agony In Paradise' album.

Florida Black Metal band KULT OV AZAZEL revealed in January 2006 that Jeff Becerra was contributing both lyrics and guest vocals on a new album. Becerra would also head up a cover rendition of POSSESSED's 'Holy Hell'. Boneless Records released a limited edition, 1,000 run 7" single 'Ashes From Hell' in June.

Jeff Becerra joined filmmakers Shane and Amy Bugbee in June 2008 for an "acoustic country and folkish" project called REPOSSESSED.

Jeff Becerra of the reformed POSSESSED has joined filmmakers Shane and Amy Bugbee in a new "acoustic country and folkish" project called REPOSSESSED.

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