Abaddon magazine

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Friday, February 3, 2023

Review: Immortal Possession – The Ressurrectionist

Label: CDN Records

Date: December 9th, 2022

Honestly speaking, I had to check. With such a moniker I was almost sure this band has visited my stereo at some point. However, all I needed was to investigate the online sources to figure out they had no chance of doing so. Not because this is the band’s first full length record, but because their previous recordings were all issued in the first half of 1990’s.

Namely, these Canadians had three demos prior to disbanding. Likely, as many of their contemporaries, because they were unsuccessful with finding a suitable label to publish their material. Also, calling “The Ressurrectionist” a full length record, or even new, is debatable. The recording is comprised of a selection of eight songs that originally appeared on the mentioned demos, re-recorded here, and one brand new track. Basically, this is a retrospective of Immortal Possession’s career with a slight glimpse into the future. And let me put your mind at ease. From what I’ve heard, I can only hope that there’s a future for this quartet.

Not so much because of the first eight tracks. I wouldn’t dare ask for more stuff like they’ve come up with thirty years ago. Those do not show the form Immortal Possession is in after a quarter of a new century has passed. That last, new track is the road sign to where the band is heading. Hopefully, it is not a sign towards a dead end.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Immortal Possession doesn’t change direction. The name of the game remains death metal. Old school, first generation death metal, strongly inspired by the pioneers like Possessed, Death, Obituary, Morbid Angel… It seems only the lyrics have gone “astray”. “Class Warfare” seems to be a signal for social awareness, whereas most of the album (the old songs) revolves around gory, antichristian or topics of mental illness. Music however, is just the way I like my death metal. Not overly technical, but brutal enough. Dynamic and imaginative in every regard. With subtle doomy intake apparent in slower sections. Vocally expressive. Death metal where guitarists do not attempt to overshadow the rest, even in solo sections. Where the song is key and everything else only serves to build it.

From this depiction, you should already have a formed image of what Immortal Possession sounds like. This is typical death metal, classical, traditional, as was originally intended. Decent, not groundbreaking, but honest and enjoyable.

But there’s another aspect to these Canadians. Violin! And that’s not some newborn idea that the members thought of in a desperate attempt to be noticed. They’ve actually used it back in the day, too. Okay, that was likely the influence of My Dying Bride, but Immortal Possession used it in a distinct death metal manner, while the Brits basically invented a whole new subgenre with the instrument.

Yet, the question remains whether the violin works in such a setting. For instance, in the opener, “Mass Murder”, it sounds a bit out of tune. Weird though, even if it is out of tune (pardon my lack of pitch perfect hearing) it is not out of place. Also, the band doesn’t misuse it and avoids shoveling it in wherever possible. Violin remains a session instrument, used only where necessity calls, proving the band’s thought process omnipresent.

Also, while on violin, the mentioned closing track “Class Warfare”, has something extra, built upon the foundation I described above. Immortal Possession has grown as composers, arrangers and seemingly musicians. The song seems to have a bit of a neo-classical seal. Not only for the subtle symphonic background, but also for the melodic track development that “tells a story”. That’s where I base my optimism for a bright future of these Canadians. The song remains brutal, clearly old school death metal, but there’s a bit more to it.

So, where does “The Ressurrectionist” land on the scene? On the one hand, it falls right in the nostalgic fit, so this type of recap could be thought of like a dug up relic of metal archaeology. On the other, it could be a show of a bright future, that wasn’t to be back in the heyday. Either way, Immortal Possession deserves attention from death metal aficionados.