Sicktus : Usurpress started back in 2010 as an oldschool death band featuring a big dose of crust, dubbed deathcrust by the band themselves. This enjoyable, uncomplicated rattle-and-roar kind of death could be heard on 'In Permanent Twilight' (MCD, 2011), debut album 'Trenches Of The Netherworld' (2012) and on the split with Bent Sea (2013).
On ’Ordained’ (2014), we could hear the first, still rather smallish, change of musical direction: a bit more of a doomy and dark side began to pop up – and even a hint of 70’s rock / prog. The band kept that change of direction going on the very strong album ’The Regal Tribe’ in 2016, letting the mix of 70’s, prog and oldschool death really blossom. That musical direction reaches its peak – for now – with this latest addition to their already very strong discography, ‘Interregnum’. The three Swedes apparently were quite happy with the result themselves as well, given the fact they decided to record a mini documentary about the writing / recording of ‘Interregnum’.
To get straight to the point: if you ask me, this is without a shred of doubt the strongest, most varied, most engaging, compelling, melancholy and melodic release by Usurpress so far – while at the same time, keeping things well and good rooted in oldschool death(/doom). The trio are supported on ‘Interregnum’ by session (jazz/fusion) drummer Stefan Hildman and (session) keyboardist Erik Sundström and that move turns out to be pure gold. The drums are very strong, varied, at times just a tad bit freaky, but always fluently tight and in service of the song. Musically, ‘Interregnum’ offers from interwoven midtempo death to atmospherical, slow, doomy and a bit proggy tracks, chockfull of (clean) guitar melodies and keys. Subdued – or better, restrained. Threatening. Driven. Melancholy. Heavy. With punchy, venomous and well articulate growls as well as clean, melancholy vocals. Is this going to cost them fans, or phrased in a different way, will the fans who loved their earlier work still dig this? Who knows. That remains a question, for now. What I already do know, however, is that this album is sure to gain them a bunch of new fans. The band have stopped describing their music as deathcrust for some time now. They have branded it to be primitive and progressive death metal. I hear a hint of Vulture Industries, a hint of Ayreon, a hint of Bolt Thrower, a hint of Edge Of Sanity, some Paradise Lost, a tiny spark of Steve Vai, some Morbid Angel, Sonne Adam…
You know what. Main thing here is that we get 40 minutes of heavy, melancholy, melodic and compelling death/doom. This is Usurpress anno 2018. Convincing. A cast-iron beast of an album. ‘Interregnum’ will be out through Agonia Records on CD and LP (a black or a gold vinyl version). Be quick, they are quite limited. Dear reader: What. An. Album. We’ve just started 2018, but this one is end-of-year-list worhty. Hats off to Usurpress!