Every now and then an album comes along which can only be listened to in one particular way. Sometimes it’s an album that needs headphones, so you can pickup the nuance of each note. Sometimes, it’s an album that requires you to put on vinyl to be able to feel the music as it plays, experience the liner notes. Sometimes an album needs to be played live as the recording just can’t do it justice.
Then there is this album. Dead By Dawn by Possessor.
This album requires none of the above. It only has one real requirement to make listening to it pure, unadulterated pleasure.
It needs to be played FUCKING LOUD.
It opens with a customary audio clip from some b grade horror movie (as is usual for Possessor) and then smashes into a drum rolling intro before the guitars and bass pile in and punch you in the face. The riff is simple, pounding and makes you want to leap up and down hailing Satan while drinking warm goats blood from the skull of a Gorgon.
This album is exciting, get’s the blood pumping and legs twitching from the opener – Afterburner. The lyrics “Slasher! Destroyer!” summing up how I feel after less than a minute of listening to it. This is music that makes you feel. It sounds like a fuzzed up mix of 70’s Black Sabbath played at twice the speed and three times as loud by Monster Magnet the morning after the drugs have worn off and Fu Manchu, if they worshipped Satan instead of skateboards.
Lead guitarist, singer and songwriter Graham Bywater has laid down the familiar Possessor fuzzed up, barely understandable vocals with lyrics that reek of Hammer Horror. If I have one criticism of this album, it’s that I can’t often make out what the lyrics are, however, this is less of a problem if you consider the whole and cleaner vocals would ruin the old-skool feel of the sound. The guitar and bass sound is immense and battering – something that serves the lo-fi offering exceptionally well. You can hear the layers of guitar through the fuzz and the not-quite-solos fill in the gaps well – how a three piece will pull this off live will be interesting to see.
Marc Breretons bass is wobbly, fuzzy and full on. I love it, especially on the second track “Scorpion Swamp”. It gives real body to the tone, pumping the guitar sound into something akin to a giants belch at times. Lovely.
The drums, banged on this release by Dr Anton Kramer (Beandog), are all the better for being actual drums. It feels more grown-up, more fluid and Beandogs early musical influences (Sabbath, Judas Priest, Maiden) perfectly match the feel of this album. I can almost hear him grinning and gurning his way through songs like Terror Tripping and The Creeps, which is a fast chundering away on a set of bongos and the echo makes it sound like they recorded the album in a crypt (which wouldn’t surprise me) – short and spooky.
Adding this album to your collection is mandatory. Incredible work from a three-piece. In an industry of often over produced, over funded, copycat music, it’s stands like a towering behemoth. It’s fast, fun, heavy, fuzzy, exciting music and if you’re not Dead by Dawn, I’ll eat my Gorgon skull.
Get the album from bandcamp here: https://possessor.bandcamp.com/album/dead-by-dawn and if you like it, buy the back catalogue: https://possessor.bandcamp.com, it’ll cost you less than three pints of beer (which you should also buy and consume, from the hollowed out skull of a witch’s familiar, while listening). Or, you can listen below (before you buy it!).