Marrying the alchemic wizardry of Krallice with the experimental bent of Negative Plane and the blackened roll of Darkthrone, Spirit Possession’s self-titled debut full-length of raw, erratic Black Metal is one of those records that shouldn’t really work but does. Whether these influences are deliberate or inadvertent is a moot point as this possessed Portland, Oregon duo – one of whom is also in Ulthar – deliver 35 minutes of unique music that more than manages to justify its existence.
There’s a sense of unhinged chaos evident throughout; proceedings are unstable and precarious as the all-consuming madness seeps through and does its stuff, the curious song titles (‘Deity of Knives and Pointed Apparitions’, ‘Amongst Inverted Castles and Holy Laughter’ …) providing further evidence that Spirit Possession is not your everyday Black Metal band.
In the wild, twisted and almost improvised riffing, lunacy resides. Likewise, the deranged vocals betray insanity and schizophrenia, drums crashing around in a myriad of rhythms, sometimes pummelling and out of control, others taunting and teasing. From start to finish, everything feels disjointed, unharnessed and unpredictable, which makes me wonder what the band’s approach to song-writing is.
The nature of Spirit Possession’s music is such that there is no natural flow to the album. If you played the songs in any random order you would get the same result. Each track is a jolt, a law onto itself, the crazed journey more important than the destination. ‘Spirit Possession’ is a strange and intangible experience, creepy synths adding to the bizarre, refreshing rite.