Usurper – Lords of the Permafrost
Usurper once stated that the main reason for their rehearsal room sessions wasn’t to practice on their songs or create new music, but that of a ritual dedicated do drugs and alcohol, and that any creative side effects of that was just a mere bonus.
That statement goes back to the late nineties and much water has flown under the bridge since then. Usurper actually hasn’t released an album since 2005 and it isn’t a wild guess that the above mentioned statement takes a large part in the long break, since their singer Danny “Tyrantor” Lawson suffered liver failure and had to undergo a liver transplantation some years ago.
But then is then, this is now! “Tyrantor” is back in the saddle again and together with the remaining original Usurper members, Joe Warlord on drums and Rick Scythe on Guitars and their latest addition, Scott Maelstrom on bas they return to the scene with their new album “Lords of the Permafrost”.
I guess that the music comes at firsthand now and the drug rituals has taken a step back, but does that mean that the once so tuff Americans have gone soft? Not at all, is the answer. Usurper still delivers their unique brand of though, fist in the air, death/black/thrash-metal and I dare to say that they do a better job than ever!
Besides some great tunes, Usurper on “Lords of the Permafrost” for once also have succeeded to get the sound right. One of my biggest problems with the early Usurper records was their ultra-triggered drum sound that effective managed to destroy that retro feeling this type of music craves, but on their new record even the drums almost sound, maybe not analog, but at least, organic!
To call Usurper a tribute to Hellhammer or Celtic Frost is an exaggeration but you can clearly hear where they have found their inspiration, not the least due to “Tyrantors” Tom G Warrior-sounding death grunts and extensive use of the former Hellhammer/Frost-frontman trademarked “urgh”. In other words the main part of the music aims at complete heaviness although the later part of the record focus on some up-tempo death/thrash tunes, and if you should sum Usurper and “Lords of the Permafrost” up in a few words, I should say that it sounds “bad ass”!
Yes, besides the already mentioned Swiss inspiration this sounds very much like American middle-aged, steady men in baggy leather pants, black shades and a bit too tight leather jackets, paying a straddle-legged homage to the ancient metal gods, and I love it! And although the Usurper of today welcome everybody to listen to their music, no matter the color of your skin or gender, If Heavy Metal is said to be musical testosterone, Usurper certainly is the real deal!
Wimps and posers, leave the hall!
Title: Lords of the Permafrost
Label: Soulseller Records
Date of release: 22/3-19
Playing time: 36:26
Stand out track: Beyond the Walls of Ice