Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Usurper - Diabolosis (1995)

Though everyone seems to croak in delight over Usurper's sophmore LP, 1998's 'Skeletal Season', I have always felt that their debut was by far their best, not to mention most bizarre.

This is perhaps the most difficult album of all to categorize. I know that a lot of folks out there prefer to cop out and label Usurper's music as 'Celtic Frost' worship, but I'd hardly say that that sums up what they're dishing out. Sure, the influence of the mighty Frost is apparent, especially when you hear the singer yell "ooh" every other minute and indeed there are similar riff techniques, but I think it's safe to say that Usurper more than ably stands on their own two cloven hooves. I guess the one thing that stands out the most, to me, is how fucking weird this album is. Despite some of the rather upbeat grooves that rear their ugly heads from time to time, there is an unsettling and outright bizarre vibe that permeates this album throughout, not to mention the absolute bone shattering crunch of the guitar sound, I mean, Usurper was the fucking Dead Youth after all, and you'd be the champion of chumps to deny the Earth smashing heaviness of that band!

Ok, having got the "nod" to The Dead Youth out of the way, this album pretty much picks up where The Dead Youth's 'Writhing' left off. I would say that the guitar sound on 'Diabolosis' is pretty much the same as on TDY's 'Writhing'. The difference is in the riff delivery, which really, isn't that big of a difference except that with a track or two you can hear Usurper contemplating on whether or not to wholeheartedly jump on the black metal trend, so prevalent in the mid 90's. Thankfully, they opted to keep that influence to a bare minimum as the majority of this album falls under the crunch laden mid-paced/doom dirge category.

A lot of the riffs on this album are just downright fucking creepy. This is the kind of shit that black metal fags wish they could write. Unfortunately, this style of writing would see a decline throughout the bands next few releases until it was virtually non-existent in Usurper's sound later on down the road. A lot of folks have claimed this to be everything from "blackened thrash" to straight up black metal to doom/death, etc. The truth is, there is no way to describe this album. It just is.

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