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Biography : Possessed

The band originated in San Francisco in 1983, when Mike Torrao and Mike Sus's garage band recruited Jeff Becerra, following the suicide of vocalist Barry Fisk. Before Jeff joined former Exodus member Geoff Andrews played bass and was replaced by Kirk Zanzey shortly after. Brian Montana was recruited on guitar, and the first incarnation of Possessed was created. The following years were spent practicing and working on their sound by performing at local venues. Through their early live performances they met fellow bay-area heavy metal band Exodus; Exodus then brought the band's three-song demo recording to the attention of Brian Slagel, head of Metal Blade Records. Slagel showed interest in the band and offered to put one of their songs on an upcoming compilation, Metal Massacre 6. The track included was titled "Swing of the Axe." Following the release of the compilation, guitarist Brian Montana left the band due to creative differences. He was replaced by Larry Lalonde. Although Metal Blade did not offer to sign the band, the compilation drew the attention of Combat Records. Possessed signed with the label and released the album Seven Churches in 1985.

Possessed followed the release with a supporting tour which included a performance with Slayer and Venom at San Francisco's Kabuki in 1986. On Halloween, 1986, Possessed released their second album, Beyond The Gates featuring first songwriting from Larry Lalonde. In May 1987 the band issued a five-song EP titled The Eyes Of Horror which marked a change in direction for the band. The Satanic themes they had become noted for were completely absent, and the songs had more of a thrash metal style than their earlier Death Metal. The EP was produced by guitarist Joe Satriani, and some of the songwriting was done by Lalonde again.

Shortly after the release of The Eyes Of Horror EP the band disbanded. In 1990, Jeff Becerra was paralyzed from the waist down following a shooting incident.

Mike Torrao reformed Possessed in 1990 with new line-ups consisting of former members of Sanguinary, Indestroy and Pro-Pain. He wrote lyrics in the vein of early Possessed dealing with Satan again. They recorded two demos and played three gigs, at one of them Machine Head was opener, before dissolving in 1993. Mike Torrao has said he feels it was not Possessed, but merely playing under the Possessed name.

In 2007, it was announced Jeff Becerra would be performing under the "Possessed" name at the Wacken Open Air festival and would be backed by all members of 'Sadistic Intent', one of the bands featured on the Possessed tribute, and would also headline the Gathering of the Bestial Legions III festival in Los Angeles. Sadly none of the original members are willing to join Jeff for a "real" reunion. Some of the fans feel this is not the real Possessed anymore and that the creative force behind the legend is gone.

At the beginning of 2011 Jeff Becerra recruited new members Kelly McLauchlin from Pessimist on guitar, Dan Gonzalez from Nailshitter on guitar respectively and Tony Campos on bass while Emilio Marquez still is in the band playing drums.

Possessed is often cited as the first Death Metal band, largely because of Jeff Becerra's grunted vocals, which were heavily influenced by Lemmy. Guitarist Mike Torrao, who wrote most of the band's music, has repeatedly cited early Exodus and Venom as Possessed's main influences, and denies being influenced at all by Slayer, contrary to popular belief. The lyrical content, contributed mostly by Becerra, in most of the band's songs focused on Satanism and death. While Possessed's first album, Seven Churches, was praised for its speed and the brutality of the vocals, their second, Beyond The Gates, disappointed both fans and critics alike. Released on Halloween of 1986, the album wasn't as powerful and as influential as its predecessor, and the band's popularity suffered because of it. Because of Possessed's earlier material being more popular than their later work, they are most often remembered for their first album, Seven Churches.

Jeff Becerra continues to play a role in the death, black, and thrash metal scenes of Northern California. He received a degree in labor studies and plans to pursue a law degree. He has revamped the band 2007.

Mike Sus went on to get a degree in psychology and is helping injured people to live a normal everyday life. He is also a drug addiction counselor.

Larry LaLonde joined the Bay Area thrash metal band Blind Illusion which released The Sane Asylum in 1988, after which Lalonde with Blind Illusion bassist Les Claypool went on to form the influential progressive rock band Primus in 1989.

In 1993, Mike Sus reportedly retired from music to pursue other careers.

In 1993, Mike Torrao founded a new thrash band, Iconoklast, but never released any songs to the public. Iconoklast broke up in 1996. He has since worked as a landscaper and plays music only in his sparetime. As of 2008, Mike Torrao is working with the band INaCAGE. in the San Francisco Bay Area. But this never turned out well and in 2011 Mike still is in no band situation. He doesn't want to according to himself.

In 2008, Emilio Marquez announced he was leaving the band. Vanik Vartanian was to take his place but this seems to be a rumor only to cite the words of Becerra.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Possessed_(band)