Shakma – House of Possession (2018) REVIEW

Norwegian occult thrashers Shakma have finally put together a full-length two years after their promising ‘Night of Torment’ demo tape and the band have refined their sound a great deal since. ‘House of Possession’ is a celebration of the darker, blackened side of thrash metal with a heavy emphasis on the mid-80’s riffing and sound of speed metal. Even if their influences are largely pooled from modern retro-black/thrash bands like Midnight their sound is more comparable to some of the greatest old school classics. The energy and violent thrash riffing of ‘House of Possession’ picks up steam fast and carries the album even when Shakma have more or less run out of ideas by the end.

Though you might initially hear classic Sabbat (Japan) on the surface, as ‘House of Possession’ reveals its core drum patterns and riff style it closely resembles obscure classics like Exorcist‘s dark speed metal beast ‘Nightmare Theatre’ and Sacrifice‘s ‘Torment in Fire’. The raw gravel of the vocalist brings an almost death-thrashing terror tot he music at times but the songs aren’t a far cry from 1986 era speed/thrashers from Artillery, Vectom, and German occult thrash masters Necronomicon‘s self-titled debut. Shakma are so driven by their straight-forward thrash demons that they don’t seem necessarily obsessed with orthodox recreation of the old school but rather inspired by it.

Despite how solidly the band nails that classic thrash sound and occult first wave black/speed metal spirit they’ve limited their guitar work with the orthodox approach of ‘House of Possession’ and in turn their inspiring ideas stop flowing after about a half hour. Granted that half hour where they’re ‘on’ is easily some of the most memorable thrash in this style I’ve heard in a while. They break up the constant thrashing with songs like “Midnight Mass” that is far more of a Venom-meets-‘Haunting the Chapel’ style stomper than anything else and it’s ‘Open the Gates’ riffing in the intro really impressed me. There is a lot to like here even if you’re exhausted by all of the black/thrash/speed variants out there, especially if you’re thrilled by mid-80’s thrash ethos.


Artist Shakma
Type Album
Released February 23, 2018
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Desecration of souls. 3.75/5.0

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