You’ve really gotta hand it to Usurper: They’re the most “fuck you” band in metal now, maybe even ever. Though often (and rather accurately) branded Celtic Frost clones, “Chicago’s most hated band” have Frost’s early formula — from the dirty under-chug of the riffing to vokillist Diabolical Slaughter’s supremely Tom Warrior-esque “uh!“s — down to a T, and, thankfully, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Necronemesis, the trio’s third album, loudly and blackly declares that they’re never going to stray from form, plying the “Metal of Death” trade to the bitter end, staying “true” to the spikes n’ leather lifestyle free from the “trends,” assassinating all “posers” in their wake. Thing is — and this is why Usurper’s such a guilty, guilty pleasure — any time they try to toss something remotely new (e.g., fucked-up blastbeats, even King Diamond’s cameo on the title track) into the cauldron, the move’s so self-conscious and endearing and just plain wrong, you’ve gotta root for ’em no matter how derivative or familiar the sounds may be — “Full Metal Maelstrom” indeed. Lap it up, sissies!
Necropolis, P.O. Box 14815, Fremont, CA 94539-4815; http://www.necropolisrec.com