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March 2005
Released: 2005, Earache Records
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

I have to admit that this is my first encounter with Chicago’s own metallians, Usurper. Years ago (probably about the time the band released SKELETAL SEASON back in 1999) I had read some unflattering reviews and never given the band an actual listen. Well, now that I’ve the band’s latest album, CRYPTOBEAST, in my hands, I have to say – we critics are so often full of shit. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Anyway, to the disc at hand. CRYPTOBEAST is Usurper’s sixth (!) full-length album (they have also released one E.P.) since 1996, and the first one with new lead throat Tyrantor who replaces the much-loved Diabolical Slaughter (cute tip ‘o the hat to him on the album cover). Well, I can’t say how Tyrantor compares to his predecessor, but I can tell you that the man is an absolute MONSTER behind the mic! His vokills push death metal most of the time, but always stay intelligible. Plus, he sings with such power and conviction, you can just feel it in your bones. Of course, it helps that the music behind him is of such ridiculously good quality. Call it thrash, call it death metal, call it whatever the fuck you want, it is undeniably Metal. It’s nothing more than pure, flesh-ripping, face-melting heavy metal with riffs all over the damn place. You know those CDs that you can put on and they will just make you feel metal? This is one of those CDs, and I suspect, you could pick any Usurper and get the same feeling. These guys just bleed metal.

There’s no more to say. This album is ridiculously catchy, insanely good, and probably one of the top 3 that I’ve heard so far this year. If you love metal, you WILL buy Usurper.
Track Listing

1. Bones of My Enemies
2. Supernatural Killing Spree
3. Kill for Metal
4. Conquest of the Grotesque
5. Ectoplasm
6. Return of the Werewolf
7. Reptilian
8. Cryptobeast
9. Wrath of God
10. Warrios of Iron and Rust (remake)


Tyrantor: Vocals
Rick Scythe: Guitar
Carcass Chris: Rhythm Guitar
Jon Necromancer: Bass
Apocalyptic Warlord: Drums



Other reviews

» Cryptobeast
by Waspman

» Cryptobeast
by Anders Sandvall

by Luxi Lahtinen

Next review: » Usurper - Cryptobeast
April 2005
Released: 2005, Earache Records/Sound Pollution
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

I had to do some background research about this band because they are a brand new acquaintance for me. Usurper come from Chicago and have been in the industry for 12 years. Their debut came in 1995, titled, DIABOLOSIS. Since then they have released another 5 albums and the latest one, TWILIGHT DOMINION, came in 2003. CRYPTOBEAST is their second release on Earache Records.

The last album was recorded in Chicago’s Rax Trax Studio, and behind the mixing table sat Neil Kernon (Judas Priest, Decide, Cannibal Corpse etc). Usurper have worked with Neil also this time, and Neil has done wonders with the production; it sounds brutal, aggressive, and hard.

The bio says this about Usurper; “These fist banging, beer swilling metalheads bring you OTT ultra heavy metal that is true to the essence of classic underground bands like Venom, Celtic Frost and Slayer. Usurper’s love and admiration of old school lead them to create their own brand of uncompromising black/death/thrash”.

I wouldn’t go that far in my description of the band; I’d say that it does sound like death and thrash, but also heavy metal in some parts. I’d describe this as a raw heavy/thrash/death metal with the focus on old heavy metal; the way it sounded at the beginning of the 80’s. I wouldn’t say that they play black metal, but you can hear influences of it in some of the songs.

I grew up with all of the bands that were mentioned in the bio, and was into the thrash/black/speed/death and especially heavy metal. I’m glad to see that there are bands today that still play old school death/thrash/heavy metal, just like Usurper.

There are a few changes in the line up on CRYPTOBEAST. They have a new singer by the name of Dan “Tyrantor” Lawson, and they welcome back their original drummer and founder, Joe “Apocalyptic” Warlord, in the band. These true metal warriors have been on the road with Cradle of Filth, Manowar, and the Swedish band, Dark Funeral, to mention a few.

The new lead singer Dan does an OK job, I think, and he’s not one of the greatest singers, but his voice works to this music. The guitar players, Rick and Carcass, riff on; sharing a lot of sharp twin guitar duels amongst them. The returning drummer and founder, Joe, shows that he’s both fast and technical, and he handles the double bass pedal play brilliantly. It sounds like all of the guys are really skilled musicians that know exactly how it should sound.

CRYPTOBEAST consists of 10 tracks, and amongst those tracks is a remake of the old song, “Warriors of Iron and Rust”; a song that apparently is a favorite amongst their fans. They run through the songs at a hideous tempo, and by looking at the title of the tracks, the lyrics are about pure aggression, violence, death, and other similar fun stuff. It’s not only the music that sounds 80, the lyrics sound like 1980 to; something that really is to the bands benefit.

If we return to the bio it says; “This album is and iron first in the face of all nu-metal, emo-core, and other forms of horse shit commonly labeled as “metal” these days”. And who can’t agree with that, huh?

Killer tracks are “Bones of My Enemies”, “Kill for Metal”, “Conquest of the Grotesque”, “Return of the Werewolf”, and “Reptilian”.
Track Listing

Track list
Bones of my Enemies
Supernatural Killing Spree
Kill for Metal
Conquest of the Grotesque
Return of the Werewolf
Wrath of God
Warriors of Iron and Rust (Remake)


Dan Tyrantor – Lead vocals
Rick Scythe – Guitar
Jon Necromancer – Bass
Carcass Chris – Guitar
Joe Apocalyptic Warlord – Drums

Other reviews

» Cryptobeast
by Waspman

» Cryptobeast
by Anders Sandvall

by Luxi Lahtinen

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