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Damn the Light


Artist: Possessor
Label: APF Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 30 October 2020

APF Records releases Damn the Light, the new album from London-based Horror Metal band Possessor. The trio comprises Graham Bywater on vocals and guitar, Nathan Perrier on Drums, and Ollie Isaac on bass. They formed as a Thrash/Stoner/Slush combo in 2013. This is their fifth full album following Electric Hell (2014), Dead By Dawn (2016), The Ripper (2018), and Gravelands (2019). Damn the Light was written from the musicians’ homes during the original Covid-19 lockdown, and the songs rehearsed using phone video and voice messages. It was recorded at the Bear Bites Horse Studios...

We begin with 'Bloodsuckers', and an atmospheric ear-to-ear film-like intro is burst in upon by a heavy riff and pile driver drums. The vocals are shouted but quite clear. They seem to be purposefully lifted from the mix to give them an ethereal otherworldly quality. At times this sounds like 1980s Thrash, but is much more tuneful, allowing melodies to come and go as brief excerpts. This is nicely different. 'Coffin Fit' (“You know who I am and you’re afraid, aren’t you?”) has a slightly Grungy element to it which originates in part, I believe, from the buzzing bass guitar sound. The vocals are pretty monotone here, but the excellent guitar melody break makes for a suitable contrast. There is great variance here, with a sudden galloping beat which brings the second half of the track alive. The opening to 'Take it to the Grave' reminds me of a cross between early Iron Maiden and Venom. It definitely has an 1980s feel to it, but with a thicker, smoother sound. The drummer has fun in this song with rolls and a timing change. There is an obvious wish to put across a hard – even harsh – sound, and that provides a backdrop for the melodies.

'The Strangeness' has a nice melody and chord changes which really makes this chug along. Because there is more in the way of changes, it forces the vocal tones to go with it. This one slows slightly for an effects-driven Wah Wah guitar break, before returning to the galloping beat for a moment before the end. One of the stronger tracks. Another voiceover (“Now man is no longer the supreme being on this planet.”) introduces 'Razorback'. A heavy-as-you-like bass and guitar riff soon slows to a simple but effective backing to added low guitar sounds and drum patterns. For me, this forms the best part of the song. The title track, 'Damn the Light', has the sound of harsh winds introduce a nice little guitar melody. The rest of the band fades in from the background in a nice effect. This track reminds me of another song, but I just can’t pin it down. A nice driving melody. There is a screaming guitar solo, short but sweet. I’ve really warmed to this album. A top track.

'Fresh Hell' has a tinny mono drum beat exploded apart by the brutality of the full band sound. It’s probably the heaviest song thus far, but still manages to inject energy and melody. 'Confession' serves merely as a linking piece, with a tolling bell, distant screams and a voiceover. There is a Grunge riff to the bass-driven 'Scalpel'. The song alternates between driving rhythm and Doom (“My nail-gun, my chainsaw, my pickaxe…”). We bring the proceedings to a close with 'Return to Slaughter High' (the slasher film starred the very lovely First Lady of Fantasy, Caroline Munro). Rain and atmospherics accompany a light bass which is pretty soon slammed aside by a heavy Sludge noise. Nevertheless, this has a moderate pace, with nice underlying guitar. Not the track I would chose to finish the album with though.

I must confess that when I began listening to the first track I didn’t think I would take to the album. But it’s necessary to get into the groove, as they say, and I’ve come away appreciating the intricacies of the recording. Make no mistake though, this release takes no prisoners. A pleasant surprise.


Ty Power

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