Possessed by the Moon

full moon norway

Article by David Rosales.

A legendary time and place for underground metal, the Norway of 1993 is an esoteric landmark (1994 being the exoteric) in time and space in black metal history. It saw the rise of a mythology of its own, the mythology of black metal, and an eventual catastrophic demise worthy of a saga of its own.

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Possessed and Sadistic Intent in Austin, Texas

Possessed and Sadistic Intent
June 29, 2008
Red 7
622 E. 7th Street
Austin, Texas 78701

Sadistic Intent played their first-ever show in Austin last night, which was ostensibly more auspicious in that they were also serving as Jeff Becerra’s backing band in the current incarnation of Possessed. The band came out to a well-attended room and delivered a set of now time-worn but authentic tracks taken from the series of EPs they released in the mid-90’s. A distinct sense of “Abominations of Desolation” permeated the set in their favor, as few bands of the current era are able to draw upon their predecessors in such a convincing manner. Momentum was lost as one of the two guitarists suddenly had string problems and appeared to be unable to resolve it without consultation from both of his axe-mates. The unit left the stage after three songs but then returned to complete the set about ten minutes later. The audience reacted appropriately with multiple phalanxes of whirling hair and horns held high, and ultimately Sadistic Intent proved why their name continues to endure despite a spare discography.

Following another more prolonged intermission, the band retook the stage again with Jeff Becerra in tow. There was much curiosity leading up to this performance because save for the notorious vocalist this was effectively a Possessed cover band. Compounding this was Becerra’s confinement to a wheelchair since 1989 after being shot in a drug deal gone bad (these circumstances have since been obscured through revisionism and the fact that the event occurred before the advent of the internet), so expectations among the assembled faithful were punctuated with question marks and guarded commentary.

It takes courage to carry on after such a devastating blow to one’s health and mobility, and if Becerra had presented with conviction and dignity he would have easily overcome his perceived limitations. In this venue, unfortunately, he wore his handicap and a still-apparent substance abuse problem around his neck like an anvil and proceeded to turn the event into a spectacle. The man is admittedly scary in a way that transcends metal; mad-eyed and clearly unstable, he wheeled around the stage and spent most of the time crowding or hitting the dutiful members of his backing band or gesticulating to his handlers for more beer (which, once received, he continuously poured over his head). Sadistic Intent, to their massive credit, lashed convincingly through a set of tunes comprised of the proto-death classic “Seven Churches”, and seemed they focused on working as a unit in spite of the dubious situation. It was no surprise that they seemed divorced from the vocalist, given his complete lack of poise. Becerra rasped and yelled his way through the songs in a fashion that made it seem more like he was interrupting rather than contributing. There were a few glimmers of the hellish voice that made him famous, but it was hardly a showing that would have resurrected any former glories. The set’s highlight was the modern classic, “The Exorcist”, which led to several subsequent injuries in the pit and further acquitted the band’s efforts. The end of the show was marked by Becerra’s leap from the stage, wheelchair and all, face-first into the middle of the floor. For a moment it looked as though he had managed to finish himself off but his attendants managed to scrape him up and carry him past many bemused onlookers.

In this reviewer’s opinion, the legacy of Possessed is in terrible danger of being further maligned and invalidated through appearances such as this. It was an experience to be sure, but more befitting of a rodeo or a circus than the revival of a seminal metal act. Even a top-flight backing band cannot account for the psychotic and counterproductive behavior of its frontman, and ultimately it is Mr. Becerra whose reputation is at stake. For now it seems like he is a full-time resident of a truly dark and painful place, and if he does not find a way to surface then he will likely consumed by the very demons he invoked on his albums so many years ago.

– Written by David Anzalone

Bands:
Possessed
Sadistic Intent

Promoters:
Red 7

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Transitions MMXVIII

Death Metal Underground wishes to announce a constructive change in editorship, in which the present author comes to complement rather than replace the current leadership. We have a great team of writers, ever too few but still dedicated and talented enough that the last few months have seen a non-stop inflow of high quality and insightful content on a variety of metal-related topics. Although our primary job as Traditionalists is to somewhat mirror the Conservative effort of preserving what is good and shedding what is detrimental, it must be stated that this is done through an organic development of vision. And so, an editor, writer, thinker or artist can only do his best by upholding his ideals or vision through his work, at the risk of coming into conflict with the more conventional views and tastes on metal music.

The ebb and flow of the tides in a larger cosmic order forces Death Metal Underground to adapt and evolve to maintain its supremacy as the ultimate source on metal music as living art and philosophy. An intermediate period of transformation now begins. And although we will not be missing the intellectual contributions and versatile notions on content management that Brock Dorsey brought to DMU, a sinister influence will come to gradually displace the hitherto cultural-political overtones in place. Instead of utilizing metal to signify ideological stances, we will retake the more organic and timeless approach of metal as a foreboding, an intimation, into raw reality experienced directly, and through that, a realization of humans as material to be shaped.

This sinister influence implies a re-taking of the esoteric artistic philosophy of metal within its highest and purest point of evolution: black metal. There are ample rational, philosophical, as well as artistic, reasons for this conscious shift to occur. Nevertheless, the vestigial archaisms of metal our talented writers may still wish to entertain will enrich the historical aisle of Death Metal Underground’s archives, and so will in due manner be welcomed. But against that impulse, we will be moving upwards towards unknown planes, rather than producing more of the same about the same old and irrelevant “art” that pleases but is ultimately harmless. Instead of having metal serve as a conduit for mythic imagination and inspiration resulting in mere idle chatter, we shall uphold the potential of black metal as a mind-warping gateway onto a cosmic, wordless path to the stars that is only possible through tangible action.

Gradually but decidedly, we will reap the very real fruits of patience and devotion. The transition into a cosmic and futuristic take on the potential of metal through black metal shall not mean an ensconcement around the black metal cliche as a fashion. Neither will we embrace so-called progressive trends of flowing, modern, dissonant or melody-over-chord drum-groove black metal which are but stale reformulations of the past or hipster dead ends propelled by an obsession with innovation alone. As has been stated before, in order for metal to thrive, it must leave its infancy behind and mature consciously and, in this maturing, coming to terms with its raw, phrasal, motific nature. In short, this is a stage which cannot be ignored at all, at least if further development is sought: it requires a descent to draw out the obscure.

Evolution is always a willing towards a higher state, but it is not to be thought in the abstract or through the archetype as mere symbol, but should be rather acted upon, that the archetype is brought to life consciously in an initiation to the the full potential of what metal, and hence the individual, can become. It is not a return to roots that we seek, but a return to essence, & thus to facilitate an awakening of those who have the necessary spiritual earth in which seeds for the future may be planted, which seeds are served by the blood of the living shed in effort, shocking or traumatic experience, & so transformation and insight thereof. The characteristic sign that a dark (in that it is part of the nightside, the unpleasant, and the very real) discovery is taking place is the presentiment being under threat by something beyond the confines of relative normalcy and what is accepted in your accustomed space. The methods which can revive metal, the forces which possessed an evil T. Warrior, an entranced Trey Azagthoth or a demented Paul Ledney are those that create madness, and which open a gateway to the abyss. Herein, and nowhere else, lies the key to the gate.

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Analysis of Immolation’s “Christ’s Cage”

Immolation are legends in Death metal and rightfully so, though their heydays were after the initial burst that characterized the NYDM scene and have cemented their place with the likes of Cryptopsy and Immortal for prolonging the lifespan of that classic period of metal. Longevity seems to be the forte of the band’s centerpieces Dolan and Vigna and while they released a few decent albums, none of them quite hold up to Here in After. Black Sabbath and Slayer stretched the palette for what was possible in metal and introduced endless possibilities whereas Immolation took one closed approach and pushed it to its limit on this album. Though Close To A World Below took experimentation further, the whole was not as cohesive or powerful. Let us look as the closing track which truly concludes the album.

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SUFFOCATION’S BASTARD CHILDREN

Some bands perfectly encapsulate a sound and an era through the appropriation and development of an existing idea. Van Halen fascinated the mainstream with his take on tapping and his twist on virtuosity which had existed for centuries on various string instruments. Iron maiden took the harmonies from Thin Lizzy and adapted them for their long narrative epics. Suffocation took the slow thrash metal staccato riff and completely changed its use by using them as breakdowns. While those three bands are heavily associated with their respective techniques that have been used by all sorts of bands, Suffocation has spawned multiple subgenres that are all terrible and are completely eluded by the original intention.

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Endless War : The Similarities Between Metal and Wrestling

 

Wrestling is the oldest sport in existence. One can find it in any culture on earth, Egyptian hieroglyphs depict various techniques, Islam recognizes it as one of the main sports for preparation in combat and European knights trained extensively as a lot of armored fights quickly become tests of who could pin who to be able to deal a finishing blow with a dagger through the gaps in the plate armor. Throughout the years wrestling has proven to be the best art for all forms of combat as every region in the world has at least one form of indigenous wrestling.

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Analysis of Death Metal Vocalists

Guttural vocals are the only true vocal innovation in metal as other singing styles are derived from other genres. The growed vocal technique is a combination of multiple frequencies and is harmonically too rich to be treated in the same way as more tonal styles.  Since they are different to all that came before them they must be analyzed differently.  And as metal continues to be penetrated by the mainstream it is important to understand what should be expected from a vocalist and what each one brings to the table since as humans we are inclined to judge vocals first.

In the spirit of understanding the wide variety that the technique has to offer, take a look at some of the more interesting and/or well known vocalists that death metal has given us throughout the years:
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Sin and Despair in Deathcrush

At the truest heart of metal lies a voice embodied, somewhat childishly, somewhat ineptly, but no less clearly and latent with potential, by Mayhem’s Deathcrush. The re-inversion of all values that metal enacts starts with the embracing of what modernity would see as its sickness unto death. The despair and sin of sickness unto death become vital active elements in the morbid minds of those who would vanquish dogmatic preconceptions in the Sky God Religions and their secular humanist counterparts.  Being, in essence a way of connecting back to itself, the ideological blockages set up by this dead-end society had to be faced head on.  Herein lies the relevance and meaning of the present album.  Despair is converted into pure energy, the rules disavowed, the road of sin is tread fanatically as a method of purification —a negative unity of evil towards the beyond, away from human-ness in its modern form, away from mundanity.  For the burgeoning underground, as seen from Mayhem’s perspective, primacy would placed on being and its dark discovery of self, against the presumption of knowing, and the oppressive, futile impositions from above.  All knowing, all value of music, would come from this ‘being’, from a dark exploration of the soul possessed by a cosmic force of destruction.

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Sadistic Metal Reviews: Chevy Chase Chainsaw Massacre

Twas the 5th day before Christmas, and all through the house, the creatures stared concerned and suddenly in need of psychiatric therapy.  My wife said I have that crazy look in my eye, as my boss had jipped me on my Christmas bonus- the holiest thing of the American middle class baby boomer.  The urge to kill left me trembling, barely able to stand, and I frantically raced to the garage and grabbed my chainsaw and son’s hockey mask.  As the voices got louder, I found myself speaking in tongues- vocalizing a string of obscenities as if possessed by otherworldly entities.  In an attempt to quiet the deafening commands to kill, I remembered that death metal was an outlet that had saved me years before.  But it was 2017, and I did not know what the new death metal sounded like.  But I had heard that Bandcamp were going to save the world with their social justice, so I thought I would listen to the top selling death metal bands on the first page of Bandcamp.  Surely they had the most sales, and therefore were the most trustworthy, and true to the old death metal sound.  I decided to download all 8 albums and burn to CD to listen to on my Walkman CD player.  But when I heard…. when I heard… when I heard…

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Blood – Inferno (2017)

Continuing the path of a storied band, Inferno mixes re-recorded versions of older tracks with new material in what seems to be a band redefining itself. Blood started as a grindcore band with more of a death metal attitude, then adopted an outlook closer to black metal for its opus O Agios Pethane, but since then has struggled by being caught in the middle of three genres.

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