Tuesday, June 19, 2012

City Built With Skulls - Possessor - 2012

Another in a long line of discoveries credited to the fantastic New Wave of Thrash Metal blog, Possessor's full-length debut, City Built With Skulls, worked its way into my, um, possession shortly following its late May release via CD all the way from Slaney Records in Ireland and in digital form via simultaneous immediate download upon purchase. For those like myself who still cling to a physical format, I love this model as I am instantly gratified with music to play on the iPod and then all the more pleased a few days later when some fun mail shows up. So Possessor started things off on the right foot. And then City Built With Skulls delivered the musical goods and then some. A kick-ass, 40-minute dose of thrash, City Built With Skulls is certainly destined to be labeled "old school" and, perhaps, rightly so. It seems to me that it's simply timeless, gimmick-free, intense metal masterfully played, produced and packaged, right down to its irresistible, intricate sleeve art.

Possessor is not subtle. Riffs, drums and vocals all are equal-opportunity assaulters and each seem to vie for volume, resulting in an all-out attack that outright challenges the listener to try and sit still. Give in and move. Robbie Rainey's vocals span from standard-issue thrash to the Halford-esque (listen to horror homage "Slicer") and the guitars of Kevin Chappell and Mike Martin frenetically muscle against one another toward the fore and the listener is left the winner in their sonic grudge match - just check out their minute-long six-string solo shoot-out in the middle of Blind Dead-meets-Eastwood epic, "Hellbound Drifters." Gage Shanahan on bass and Chris Soblotne on drums propel the sonic apocalypse and impressively executed variations in tempo belie the simplicity that one may assume based on a quick sampling of City Built With Skulls. It's a fun record - but not a dumb record.

Lyrically, Possessor run the gamut across familiar territories: the undead, apocalypse (nuclear and otherwise), Satan, swordplay and Death incarnate. You won't see a novelization of City Built With Skulls any time soon. Nor should you. These are words meant to be screamed, music meant to be felt. I highly suggest you check Possessor out and feel some soon.

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