Usurper – ‘Lords Of The Permafrost’
Album Review By Adam McCann
Soulseller Records/Black-Thrash Metal
Usurper have always played their way, taking classic thrash metal and forcing it violently upon first wave black metal to make a sound that is truly empowering. Trailblazing across the United States with powerful albums such as ‘Diabolosis…’ and ‘Usurper II: Skeletal Season’, the band made sure their name would not be forgotten. This year see’s the Chicago band release ‘Lords of the Permafrost’, their first album in nearly 15 years, but how will it fare in a modern world?
As can be expected from Usurper, ‘Lords…’ wholeheartedly sticks to its guns. This album continues its relentless assault, done in the way that only experienced masters can demonstrate and whilst there is nothing here that hasn’t already been heard, ‘Lords…’ avoids the pitfalls of a generic run of the mill vibe by offering something that is warm and familiar. It is this familiarity that makes this album so endearing, yes, there are touches of classic Celtic Frost, Hellhammer and Aura Noir, which there is certainly nothing wrong with; but scratch beneath the surface and there are traces of Warhammer, Nocturnal and Funeral Nation with tracks such as ‘Cemetery Wolf’, ‘Skull Splitter’ and ‘Mutants of the Iron Age’ all showing that whilst Usurper may have mellowed in their adulthood, they have lost none of their bite, only gained maturity. Furthermore, whilst in a genre where many of the plaudits go to the drums and guitar, it is the bass playing of Scott Maelstorm which excels here, providing a fluid backbone that is both pummelling and powerful and seen nowhere better than during the impressive ‘Gargoyle’.
‘Lords…’ is yet another strong album from Usurper and shows that they are masters of their craft; this album is enjoyable from the start and only becomes more endearing with each listen. For those who miss Celtic Frost and long for a new Triptykon album, then ‘Lords…’ is definitely the album to consume.
Rating : 82/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann