Alright keepers of the underground flame, Possession has once more, released a mini-album’s worth of material to whet our appetite for what is to come. Eschaton draws closer as the world marches to mankind’s extinction, and on 1585-1646, we are treated to some old-school metal to help us greet the Armageddon.
Possession don’t wow on 1585-1646, but they don’t disappoint either. His Best Deceit was a stormer bigger than a turbo-diesel on the autobahn, but 1585-1646 is as enjoyable as a freight train can be whilst flying off the rails. It’s got a lot of mid-tempo sections that are indigenous to early black metal, and downpicked riffs that sound comfortable with some first wave bands. Ultimately, 1585-1646 take us back to black metal’s beginnings and in that case, is a triumphant warrior welcomed home after the victorious conquest.
There are all-out sections which feature blasting and shredding, but they don’t figure quite prominently in the scheme of things. More noticeable are the riffs that hover on mid-tempo and the production values that create a sense of atmosphere with the listening experience. Possession don’t make the same two records twice, as His Best Deceit featured more thrash, and Anneliese featured more ancient death metal. What this sounds like to me is the band paying homage to first wave roots, instead of building momentum from the last release. 1585-1646 is a departure as much as Anneliese was from His Best Deceit.
It is clear to me that Possession are on a creative high, spurning a template for recording albums in favor of doing something different each time. You can tell that 1585-1646 is Possession one hundred percent, but the stylistic change is not going to deter fans of the band from enjoying the record.
Possession clearly love old-school metal leanings, and what they will come up with next is a mystery to me as it will be for everyone else. While 1585-1646 isn’t monumental, it is very much a cause for celebration amongst fans of the underground. The atmosphere is dark; the screams are tortured; the riffs never lose the melody, and the drums keep the pace with clear intent. Possession isn’t a novelty act, even though the band don’t record the same album twice. They’re not retro-fodder for the sake of a retro audience. If there’s a band in the underground quite capable of being the next Watain, Possession are it, so lets hope that their ascent into legend continues the high trajectory they’ve so far displayed.