Enlarge Possessed at Decibel Metal and Beer Fest Los Angeles 2019. Photo credit: Tom Delgado for MetalSucks.

Jeff Becerra Says Possessed are “100%” the First Death Metal Band


One of extreme metal’s oldest debates rages on: who exactly is the first death metal band? For most, the answer is usually Death or Possessed, though you might get an answer like Necrophagia. The debate has gone on for decades and shows no sign of slowing down (counting on you, comments section). Speaking to Finnish publication Rauta, Possessed frontman Jeff Becerra was asked whether he agrees Possessed were the band who invented the phrase “death metal” (based on their 1984 demo Death Metal). As you’ll read below, Becerra agrees and claims that his band was definitely the first… sort of.

“One hundred percent. I had the copyright in 1983. Possessed was the very first death metal band. That doesn’t mean we created death metal; it just means we were the first [to call ourselves death metal]. ‘Cause every band after that does their own shit. So, yeah, we were just the first, man. And I’m surprised somebody didn’t think of it before, to be honest. It’s so obvious.

“Back then, you’ve gotta realize, with very few exceptions — maybe Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, Destruction, Exodus — most thrash metal bands were — and with all due respect — were kind of bouncy kind of hair bands. They would say, ‘Oh, we’re so heavy,’ but they were never really heavy. ‘We’re so evil.’ And there was nothing wrong with that, but that just isn’t what blew our skirts up.

“I happened to meet [ex-guitarist] Mike Torrao at a very pivotal moment in our life, and we were just, like, ‘Fuck the world. Fuck everything. And let’s just make the heaviest, most Satanic music in the world.’ And trash metal was taken, black metal was taken, speed metal was taken, fucking power metal was taken. Why not death metal? Like, ‘Okay.’ So then I wrote a song called ‘Death Metal’, and that was it. But it was more about the music and then the title, but the title seemed to outweigh the music. I don’t know.”

Frankly, I think the debate is splitting hairs. Possessed were certainly one of the first bands to push thrash beyond its limits—and obviously they coined the term—but, personally, my vote goes to Death for fully shredding the thrash tendencies and going full-blown death metal. Even the Death by Metal demo (released the same year as Death Metal) is more extreme.

(via Blabbermouth)

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