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Usurpress: Trenches of the Netherworld

A few months ago, I reviewed In Permanent Twilight, an album by Usurpress that struck me with its songwriting and performances. I recall noting that Usurpress was, for me, a real find, a band I could get excited about. Shortly after my review appeared, I found out Usurpress had even more music waiting in the wings, enough for another full-length recording. Even better, I learned that this music would be new, not simply a re-release of early demos or EPs. I felt impressed that Usurpress would work so hard to develop their songwriting through consistent work. What's more impressive, they are actually pretty good at it.

I can't say that I feel excited about Trenches of the Netherworld as I did about In Permanent Twilight. I think the reason is that this album didn't strike me as much as did the latter. Nevertheless, I find that with each listen, I like this album more. I especially like the moments (and there are several on this album) when the band slows things down a little and draws out melodic parts with the guitar. I also like it when the singer articulates his growls in ways that help me understand the words. I'm thinking especially of songs like "The Wooden Sceptre" and "In the Beginning (Ended Yesterday)." I was also partial to "Coronation of the Crippled King," a song that makes me wonder if the band wasn't thinking of a story, whether from mythology or fiction, for inspiration. I wasn't expecting anything groundbreaking from this album; honestly, I think I would have been disappointed if Usurpress strayed too far from their prior work. At this stage in their career, they need to establish a sound that distinguishes them from similar bands and that will draw new listeners. To my ears, they are doing quite well.

Track Listing:
1. Black Death on White Wings
2. Effigies Burns Across the Wastelands
3. Coronation of the Crippled King
4. The Wooden Sceptre
5. The Colours of Darkness
6. Trenches of the Netherworld
7. The God Eaters
8. In the Beginning (Ended Yesterday)
9. Dethroned by Shadows
10. I Stand Above Time

Added: October 2nd 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1506
Language: english

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