POSSESSED (1983–87). Jeff Becerra (vocals/bass), Mike Torrao (guitar), Brian Montana (guitar, replaced by Larry LaLonde), Mike Sus (drums).
Possessed were an American death metal/punk band that claimed to have been the first ones to have coined the term death metal or at least to have used it in a song, “Death Metal” on their classic Seven Churches record. The band started in 1983, and their musical evolution was marked by the tragic suicide of original lead singer Barry Fisk before the band had recorded any material. However, replacement vocalist and bassist Jeff Becerra was a more-than-adequate replacement and soon the band was gigging and eventually signed to Combat Records. The first Possessed release, Seven Churches, is a death metal landmark, with pounding drums, growled vocals, and dark tuned-down guitars all at thrash speed, but with darker, more evil lyrics than most bands (outside of Death) were playing at the time. LaLonde later went on to play with Primus for many years. Sadly, vocalist Becerra was shot during a botched robbery and confined to a wheelchair, most likely ending any hopes of a Possessed reunion, although the possibility was raised by Becerra in 2007 and a version of Possessed was touring in 2008. The influence of Possessed on the death metal movement and the extreme metal that came into vogue in the eighties continues to this day.
Discography: Seven Churches (Relativity, 1985); Beyond the Gates (Combat, 1986); Lyrical (Holy South, 2003); Agony in Paradise: Live (Agonia, 2004); Exploration (Rise Above Relics, 2006); Cat’s Life (Daemonic, 2007).