Albums are interesting beasts. In the Year of Our Lord 2019 it’s almost de rigueur to see an album release as a huge event; the unleashing of a new piece of capital-a Art on an eagerly awaiting audience. They are Very Important and Serious things to be contemplated, reflected on and dissected in the aftermath of the release.
This is well and good, of course. For many bands it’s the desired and even right approach, but it’s easy to forget that this was not always the primary function of an album, nor does it need to be. Rather than striving as a cohesive whole for critical consumption, albums are often best leveraged as a promotional tool for the band’s live experience – where the real fun can be had. After listening to Gravelands (not THAT one), the fourth album from Possessor, one gets the impression that the latter approach is what they’ve gone with.
Evoking the usual crew of stoner suspects like High on Fire, Fu Manchu and of course Black Sabbath, it’s a fuzzy, half-hour ride through doomy rock and roll. Of course, when you’re drawing on such distinguished sources – and let’s be fair, walking over such well-trodden territory – you need to really bring your A-game to stand out. That’s where Gravelands falls a little flat; there isn’t anything especially new being said here and the tracks do have a tendency to blend into one another. Round the middle of the record we get some great riffs but unfortunately little long-term impression made.
With that being said, one is left with the strong sense that Possessor would be a rather more exciting prospect live. It’s just a shame that on this occasion this hasn’t quite translated to the home listening experience as well as it could have. One thing’s for sure, I’ll definitely be going to see them if they make it to my town.
Gravelands is released 26th July and can be purchased here.
Words: Tom G. Wolf