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Review: Usurper - Lords of the Permafrost
Lords of the Permafrost

Label: Soulseller Records
Year released: 2019
Duration: 37:42
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black/Thrash


Review online: January 26, 2019
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.91/5 (78.18%) (11 Votes)

I never thought I'd see the day. Usurper broke up in 2007 after Cryptobeast, and even though mainman Rick Scythe put out two solid, Usurper-like albums with his band Scythe, I didn't think he'd ever re-form the original band. Now, twelve years after their last album, we get a new one, with only Scythe and Cryptobeast vocalist Danny Lawson returning from the old days. So, is it good?

It's good, but it doesn't measure up to the old days. The problem with having legendary albums in your past is that people want more of that. Even Cryptobeast was not on a level with monstrous works like Twilight Dominion or Diabolosis—one of the greatest Black Metal albums of all time. So, this is a perfectly fine album, with the expected solid riffs and Lawson sounding more like GD Slaughter than he ever did before. All the elements are here, but the production is really weak, so it all sounds just a little too safe and smooth. The guitar sound is weak, the bass is almost inaudible, and the drums are buried in the mix. It's too bad, because it robs these songs of all their impact. Tunes like "Beyond the Walls of Ice" and "Mutants of the Iron Age" could be killers, but the recording smothers them.

One of the hallmarks of Usurper was they always sounded like a wrecking ball. This time out they sound like they were afraid to turn it up and really rip, and the mushy mix and smoothed-out sound leave them sadly diminished. I know this band can do better.

More about Usurper...
Review: Cryptobeast (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Diabolosis (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Necronemesis (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Skeletal Season (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Threshold of the Usurper (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Twilight Dominion (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with Rick Scythe (guitars) on January 15, 2003 (Interviewed by Barbara Williams (Crowley))
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