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Review: Usurper - Threshold of the Usurper
Threshold of the Usurper

Label: Necropolis Records
Year released: 1997
Duration: 34:42
Tracks: 5
Genre: Black/Thrash


Review online: November 4, 2019
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.57/5 (91.43%) (7 Votes)

I seriously considered writing "Fuck yeah, buy this shit!" and leaving it at that, but that doesn't really do this enough justice. For those not in the know, Usurper are one of the greatest Black/Thrash bands to come out of Chicago and one of the very best period. This EP was released off the heels of their toddler slaughtering debut, Diabolisis, and it not only starts where it left off, but it's also within a hair of being as good.

The album starts with the screaming opening track "Necrocult, Part 1 (The Metal War)", which contains everything you come to expect from Usurper: thugging, pugilistic riffs, the unstoppable roars of General Diabolical Slaughter, and a relentless, inimitable heaviness akin to being slammed by a black train covered in iron spikes and fire-breathing skulls. If you want a song to introduce someone to Usurper with, this would be the one. "Slavehammer" rules hard but is a little shorter than it needed to be, and the cover of Mercyful Fate's "Black Funeral" is solid enough. The real prize, however, is the desolate nightmare "The Dead of Winter", a grinding, lurching slab of cold, pitiless hatred that may well be the best damn song they ever wrote.

The biggest problem I have with this EP isn't even the music's fault. You see, the final track "Threshold of the Usurper/Anno Satanas" is actually two tracks that were incorrectly printed as one whole track. What this means is we have two perfectly good songs with a solid minute or two of silence in between them that ruins the pacing of the album and takes away some of the impact of the latter track. This is only an issue with the original print, but even then, these songs fall a little short of the previous tracks, with the former being a little too bouncy in the beginning and the latter just not having the same kind of feral energy as the other songs.

These grievances are minor, however, and do little to hold back the dark, violent wrath of one of the most violent and wrathful bands that ever lived. This isn't as good as their debut, but it's damn close, and if you're looking for an album to prime yourself for the mighty Usurper, then start here.

More about Usurper...
Review: Cryptobeast (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Diabolosis (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Lords of the Permafrost (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Necronemesis (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Skeletal Season (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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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