UK metallers Possessor have been a band fear and lust has equally and simultaneously been spawned for in the face of each release uncaged since they emerged within the death throes of 2013. The band’s doom nurtured, thrash fuelled sound is a crushing and violating experience but one which has enslaved body, imagination, and soul here with its virulent, invasive boogie. The London trio recently released new album The Ripper and we can tell you nothing has changed. Their third album is a cauldron of corrosive riffs and destructive rhythms honed into one of the rawest, insatiable, and thrilling trespasses you are likely to hear across this coming year and beyond.
As much grunge, stoner, and alternative metal as those earlier mentioned hues, Possessor’s sound is pure predatory confrontation often as demonic and lewd as the horror soaked premises it spawns. The band’s 2014 debut album, Electric Hell, was an unpolished gem of an introduction providing “a thrilling ticket to the start of their inevitable ascending ride.” It was a journey which has bruised and abused, gripped and thrilled across the following Stay Dead EP a year later and second full-length Dead By Dawn eighteen or so months on. The last album really thrust the band into new spotlights but it has to be said that all have been rousingly eclipsed and put in their place by the carnal majesty of The Ripper.
Instantly opener Conjure and Possess casts a sonic storm over the senses, its abrasive scouring the warm up and prelude to a ravenous stomp of riffs and rhythms bound in the most lustful of grooves. A temptation to rock the residents of a graveyard into life with the swinging beats of Matthew Radford as arousing as they are destructive, the track roars through ears bearing the raw dirty vocal tones of guitarist Graham Bywater with open devilment. The bass of Tom Fowler is just as devilish, its own grooved swing instinctive incitement in the multi-flavoured onslaught.
The following Guillotine is just as fevered in its attack, maybe more so but unafraid to slip into less intensive examinations of the listener as it conjures its own web of salacious grooves and rapacious enterprise. Bywater’s voice and riffs infest ears but even more so his grooves and sonic espionage manipulates body and appetite already caught by the primal claws of the rhythms.
Fowler’s bass finds an even more carnivorous voice for the following Wet Cemetery, its visceral gurning leading a wash of rasping riffs within which vocals spew causticity. Toxic melodies vein the relative calm which separates the song’s energetic lust, it all leading to moments of nefarious endeavour which itself is sheer magnetism. A mesh of essences which lure references to bands such as High On Fire, Cavalera Conspiracy, Electric Wizard, and Unsane, flavours rising throughout the album, the track emerges unique to Possessor and again a common factor to The Ripper echoed in The Slime immediately after and thereon in. The fourth track hits its crunchy stroll instantly, snarling riffs chewing sinew before grooves send liquor coated tendrils through ears, its varied metallic irritancy swiftly addictive as the psyche is increasingly possessed.
Through the grim viscera of Whitechapel Murders and the scalding tension of Lava, the scorching of the senses and unrestrained pleasure escalates, the first of the two bearing the early Therapy? scent our ears have always found and greedily consumed within the Possessor sound. Every part of the band’s unholy trinity is on the top of their game, a success applying across the whole release but at their hungriest or certainly most fervid here. Its successor is an inferno of threat and intrigue, less equipped with irresistible hooks and addiction sparking grooves than others around it but just as commanding in its escalating incessancy.
Notting Hell opens in a jungle of rhythmic machination, the piece a brief shamanic infestation of devilry setting up the blood strewn quarrel and sonic narcotic that is Hacksaw. The most barbarous exploit on the album, it is a bestial and concentrated blitz on the listener, manna for the beleaguered senses and primal rock ‘n’ roll instincts.
A pause as things take a breath simply marks the insatiable devouring sprung by closing instrumental Earth Shaker. It is a rampage driven by a horde of voracious riffs and fearsome rhythms with grooves and twists just as mercilessly toxic and though it does not quite hit the spot as fully as what came before, the track consumes attention and satisfaction with ease.
There are few bands which truly excite just from news of a new encounter with them but Possessor is among them and will continue to be so with hellish offerings like The Ripper.
The Ripper is available now through Graven Earth Records on cassette, Wicked Lester Records on CD, and digitally @ https://possessor.bandcamp.com/album/the-ripper
Pete RingMaster 10/01/2017
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