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Possessed (1996)

Tsjuder is one of the later bands to emerge from the Norwegian black metal scene, having nothing to do with the earlier wave of better-known bands. Their 1996 demo, Possessed, demonstrates precisely why it took so long for them to manage to record a proper full-length or to gain any amount of notoriety at all.

The best thing going for this demo is the necro, garage-quality, sound. This is one case of the raw production helping to mask the weaknesses of a band. As well, it is useful for burying various passages of double bass drumming, which would have sounded awful, otherwise.

Behind all of the fuzz and static is a band that has no clear vision for what they want to create. The songwriting is painfully average, at best, as Tsjuder do nothing but imitate the bands that came before them. They add nothing unique to differentiate themselves from the rest of the hordes that jumped on the black metal bandwagon around this time. In itself, that would be no big deal, but the compositions are just so mediocre. Despite the raw sound, the riffs on this demo are never very dark or threatening or evil. There are hints of atmosphere, from time to time, as Draugluin tries his best to channel the likes of Varg Vikernes or Infernus, but the sub-par arrangements leave most of the tracks dead in the water.

Possessed is the work of a tenth-rate Gorgoroth clone with bits of Emperor thrown in. Even Nag's vocals sound like a weak impersonation of Hat. Everything about this is average, and that is being generous. That said, this is probably the best thing that Tsjuder ever released. This is not a horrible demo, and can be enjoyed on some level, but it offers absolutely nothing that had not already been heard a thousand times, even by late 1996.
(17 Mar. 2015)

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