Usurpress – The Regal Tribe (Review)

UsurpressHailing form Sweden, this is the third album from Usurpress.

I like Usurpress. Both their split with Bent Sea and their last full-length, Ordained, were very enjoyable, and now they’re back with a new album that features a very good cover.

But what of the music? Usurpress are not a normal death metal band, including elements of crust, sludge and progressive/psychedelic music in their delivery, as they do.

From the very start of the album it’s clear that Usurpress have upped their game; the more you listen to this latest album of theirs, the more this becomes even more apparent.

The songs are all very well-composed and although each track stands up individually, the ebb and flow of the album is such that it could almost be one long song, sliced up into ten parts.

The core of the band’s death metal is still intact, and still sounds great, but they’ve now confidently expanded into other musical spheres even more so than in the past. This means that The Regal Tribe has lots more depth, nuance and atmosphere than their previous work, and it’s all performed and realised very, very well.

I like that they still have a burning aggression in their music, but I equally like that they don’t feel the need to vent this all the time; instead they allow themselves permission to explore and experiment with their influences. It should be apparent to anyone that Usurpress are playing purely by their own rules, ones which they’re making up as they go along. In a less confident or experienced band this could end up a mess, but Usurpress know what they are doing.

It’s all held together by a love of death metal, however, and this is the thread that runs through the entire 39 minutes of this release, tying everything together. For all its aspirations and sophistication, (both of which are apparent in different places and to different extents at different times), this is still essentially a death metal band kicking out the jams; they’re just not as restrictive with themselves as most bands are.

This is their best release yet. Give it a listen.

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