Possessed – Seven Churches (1985)
Strictly speaking, Seven Churches pre-dates death metal and subsequently takes the majority of its influences from established genres of the era, notably speed and thrash metal, but without it death metal may never have taken form and must be considered a definitive release in the history of death metal.
Released 2 years prior to Death’s Scream Bloody Gore debut, Possessed took a cut and paste approach to their music by incorporating the viciousness of Venom, the speed of Motörhead and the thrashing, atonal guitars of early Exodus and Slayer, eventually stumbling upon an innovative and primitive sound which allied thrash and death like no one else before them.
“The Exorcist”, “Burning In Hell” and “Seven Churches” are held together by Jeff Beccara’s unholy roar, simultaneously aping Lemmy from Motörhead yet producing a guttural tone that would go on to be the bread and butter of death metal.
Possessed take the honour of inventing death metal on their debut album, this is constantly up for debate but we’re standing by it; no Seven Churches, no death metal.