Album anniversaries – Seven Churches

A landmark in underground metal has been allowed to be 30 years old for some time now. We can’t have that, can we? Seven Churches is sometimes labeled the first “death metal” album by members of the press. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say that, but it’s a crucial link between earlier speed metal and more advanced recordings that would come out only a year later. Musically, this fits in well with many of its immediate proto-underground contemporaries, like Bathory, Celtic Frost (at least on their faster material), and perhaps Show No Mercy era Slayer, although it benefits from an especially clear and powerful production given its vintage. Later works by the band more closely resemble extreme, souped up speed metal than the more evolved recordings of the late ’80s, but this album came in at just the right time to directly influence many aspiring (or at least aspirating) metalheads.

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8 thoughts on “Album anniversaries – Seven Churches

  1. morbideathscream says:

    A classic that will never age.

    Just about anything that can be said about seven churches has been said.

  2. Daniel Maarat says:

    Aspirating metalheads!

  3. OliveFox says:

    Forgive me if this sounds ignorant, and I like Possessed well enough, BUT, does anyone else think that death metal would have gone on in the same trajectory if they never existed? To me they seems like the least important of the early pioneers of extreme metal. Maybe I am wrong, but I have never gotten a suitable explanation as to their true impact. Venom, as ridiculous as they are, at least gets named dropped by a zillion bands, but Possessed does not come up as much.

    Anyone have a response, rebuttal or explanation? I am not being sarcastic, I am truly interested.

    1. Gabe Kagan says:

      My hypothesis as to the relevance of Possessed is that in the mid-1980s, a lot of the musicians that would coalesce into the various American death metal movements were either at the very beginning of their careers or, in some cases, not yet involved in metal. If you were exposed to the various proto-underground things coming out of Europe, Seven Churches wouldn’t seem as revolutionary. On the other hand, it’s the type of album that might’ve pushed some speed metal and hardcore musicians who perhaps weren’t exposed to much more intense than Slayer at best towards early death and black metal recordings. It helps that Possessed actually got a full length album released on a relatively prominent record label (Combat), and while commercial statistics aren’t the end all of music, they do help you build fame.

    2. ObscureMonk says:

      Look for old immolation interviews they name possessed as an influence.

  4. Daniel Maarat says:

    Possessed might’ve greatly influenced the leads of many death metal bands but honestly more were probably just cranking the Mercyful Fate.

  5. Poser Patrol says:

    This band’s guitarist and songwriter, Larry LaLonde, renounced metal and went on to play with Primus. Maybe that has something to do with how boring this album is?

  6. fenrir says:

    This album is VERY meh compared to Bathory or Celtic Frost

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