Venom - Possessed
I read an interview of Venom in 1985 from a Finnish music magazine and was curious about this band, who claimed to be the fastest, heaviest, rawest and everything that nobody else was able to be. The title of the interview was strikingly; "Venom, we drink the vomit of the priest" and this evil and Satanic aura around them was something that I wanted to experience. It took me some weeks to find any releases of Venom, but as 'Possessed' was released about the same time as I read the interview, I found a c-cassette version of it and bought it right away.
The black'n'white bizarre cover with the children on Venom t-shirts was really weird and hinting of something forbidden and evil to be recorded on this cassette. The photos of the unholy trinity of Cronos, Mantas & Abaddon look like these maniacs would tear the limbs of their minister and rape the nuns at sight. Not really a typical choice of arts for a release in 1985.
From the first seconds I felt the overwhelmingly raw and brutal sound of theirs crushing everything I had heard before. The sound of a hellish double kick drumming of Abaddon and Cronos shouting violently; "Come, let's get some loud over here!!" as 'Powerdrive' begun. Then the dirty guitar tone and the distorted bass, with so raw sound I had never heard, steamed forward and I felt like a wave of pure evilness had run over me. I did not know what the hell this was, but instantly I felt like I had been waiting for this kind of musical assault for ever. Literally all my interests in heavy metal died on that one moment as I just sat down and listened the tracks and read the bizarre and provocative lyrics.
Every note they played sounded more strange and obscure than any composing structures I had heard before and the total absence of any melodies was absolute. The lyrical themes of the songs dealt with subjects I had not seen bands writing in this uncompromising manner. They were full of hatred and aggression and openly praised Satan, Hell and perversions. The guitar leads are brilliant on this release as they are not mindless fast picking, but have deeper connection to the music around. The guitar riffs are a mix of punk & heavy metal played in roughest production they probably could get and the sound engineering has left the bass guitar to surface which makes the songs sound harsh and heavy.
There is variety on the songs from the faster opener 'Powerdrive' and equally fast 'Voyer' to the midpaced masterpieces of 'Suffer Not the Children' and 'Flytrap'. The doomy intro of the 'Mystique' adds its own heavy touch to the unholy wholeness. Everything in this release was the sleaziest I had ever witnessed and the boot to the face attitude underlined this. This was not music to the masses but music to hail demons and darkness. This was music for me.
As I today listen to 'Possessed' I feel the same energy and rawness that I heard back in 1985 and for me this release will never lose its uniqueness. This was the release that changed everything I thought of music and eventually led me to buy my first guitar in 1986. As much as Venom has influenced me with my style of composing hymns for Archgoat, as much we have wanted to be faster, heavier and rawer than anybody else around and not to make any compromises for anybody. The spirit of Venom lives in Archgoat.