Usurper - _Threshold of the Usurper_
(Necropolis Records, 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (7 out of 10)
Usurper make some very compelling music on this 35-minute MCD, displaying real metallic talent and great potential. Ultimately, though, _Threshold_ is kind of a hit-or-miss affair. Still, when these guys hit, they do it in a major way, blending the crushing weight and way-dark vibe of Celtic Frost with varied vocal styles and ripping blasts of blackened grind. (We're talking tight, crisp explosions of hyper-speed snare drum punishment - not shitty, undifferentiated 'bowel-churning' grind.) This approach works extremely well on the title track (this song rules), as well as on "Necrocult Pt. I (The Metal War)". Also noteworthy is the more experimental "The Dead of Winter", which layers weeping acoustics over crawling doom, building up to a weird and effective passage of blasting beats and anguished raspy vocals, still blanketed with slow acoustic guitar. All in all, I greatly enjoy these three songs. Still, the MCD as a whole has some failings. For one, Diabolical Slaughter, who provides the 'vokills', spends too much time simply impersonating Tom G. Warrior's unique vocal style. As a result, his vocals often sound much more imitative than creative. More to the point, the same thing is often true of the music: tracks like "Slavehammer" and the untitled 'hidden' track just sound way too derivative of Celtic Frost's singular style. (There's also a cover of Mercyful Fate's "Black Funeral" which doesn't add much to the original.) But when Usurper enhance their eighties influences with more up-to-date elements and experimentation, they produce some genuinely kick-ass stuff. I definitely look forward to hearing more from this band.

(article published 7/6/1997)

12/13/2004 J Smit 8 Usurper - Cryptobeast
1/10/2001 A McKay 8 Usurper - Necronemesis
8/12/2000 A McKay 7.5 Usurper - Visions From the Gods
8/12/1999 A Wasylyk Cradle of Filth / Usurper / Endless / Averse Sefira Averse Conditions Inhibit the Endless Usurp of Filth
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