Modernization of "thrash" style speed metal riffing combined with black metal melody and image fuses some potent elements into a percussive ride of metal vengeance.

Threshold of the Usurper

Production: Well-placed production values seem to appreciate an otherwise washed-out guitar that disintegrates higher in the mix; whether this is for effect or by error is unknown.

Review: : Forging a balance between the techno-inspired pulse of modern black metal and the machine-stamped chorus rigidity of old style metal Usurper have integrated many impulses of the metal tradition without relapsing into utter repetition, which although not groundbreaking keeps the essence of this type of creation alive and allowing it recombination gives new life to older conceptions of chorus and structure.


1. Necrocult Pt. 1 (The Metal War)
2. Slavehammer
3. Black funeral
4. The Dead of Winter
5. Threshold of the Usurper

Copyright © 1997 Necropolis

Using simple heavy metal or punk rock riffs, sometimes infused with melodic accentuation, over the running blast of mostly linear drum constructions Usurper assemble blasting, thrashy, anthemic tunes. Guitars are manacled in grisly distortion but perform intermediate duties in ranges from death metal pacing riffs to speedy black metal bridges through Judas Priest-era bouncy rock riffs and narrative verses. Harmonic motion is simple and de-emphasized, where rhythm under the lead of voice and guitar riff is the voice of the album.

For all that it does, there's a lot it doesn't do, and while Usurper is entertaining and dramatic these are its downfalls and its lack of appreciation for its own voice, which is stiffled under wandering phrases and pure dependence on rhythm to end a phrase at a certain note without dissipating its tonal potential. A disorganized schizophrenia litters this album underneath the consistent technical ability and cohesive groove-building songs. While its strengths are appreciable this music offers little for the advancement of black metal to a more cogent voice.

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