In late March 1985, death metal pioneers Possessed played back-to-back Bay Area shows with thrash stalwarts Hirax. A week later, on March 30, Possessed began recording their debut LP, Seven Churches (1985). Widely regarded as the first death metal album, Seven Churches “took the most frantic of thrash metal and brought it to new levels of extremity” (Greg Pratt, Decibel). It was also the first proper album to feature what would become the standard growling death metal vocals for the genre.
The first of the two performances promoted on this poster took place at Ruthie’s Inn, the infamous East Bay bastion of heaviness featured in Harald Oimoen and Brian Lew’s Murder in the Front Row: Shots from the Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter (2012). It was within this scene that Possessed formed in 1983, with Jeff Becerra taking over on vocals following the suicide of Barry Fisk. The band recorded the 3-song demo Death Metal in 1984. Live shows with Metallica and Exodus attracted the attention of Brian Slagel, head of Metal Blade Records, who included their song “Swing of the Axe” on his Metal Massacre VI compilation. Seven Churches followed, cementing their place in extreme music and influencing not only fellow death metal legends Death but also acts like the UK’s Napalm Death, Greece’s Rotting Christ, and Norway’s Dimmu Borgir.
Photomechanically reproduced on an 8 ½” x 14” sheet of white stock. There is some very light toning, with a faint horizontal crease and a few tiny pin holes along the extremities; otherwise very good. Item #74435