"Subterranean Steel"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Any true metal fan from Chicago will surely acknowledge the greatness of Usurper. For many years, that leather-and-spike clad horde reigned with an iron fist before deciding to retire from the field of battle several years ago. That left a sizable void in the Chicago scene, but now we have two bands rising from the ashes of Usurper. Bones, featuring Jon Necromancer, we've already touched on here at Wormwood. Now we'll focus on Scythe, named after Usurper mastermind Rick Scythe.

"Subterranean Steel" is gonna bring a big troll-eating grin to the face of anybody who ever enjoyed Usurper's crude, powerful metal sound. Rick tried to experiment with some different sounds for a while, but not with Scythe. This is raging, primitive death-thrash with sizable influence from Celtic Frost and Obituary. There are plenty of "OOGH" and "UGH" grunts from Mr. Scythe here, enough to bring snorts of approval from old Usurper singer "The General". Along with that, we have brooding, sludgy metal with a kind of rocking feel...just the right musical accompaniment for impaling orc heads on spikes!

No mercy for the weak here, but the album gains force and anger as it proceeds, which makes for a nice change for most albums, where the band blows their wad in the first two or three songs. Here, last song "Thunder Hammer" cracks your skull just as much as the opening "Leather Aggressor". Yep, with those song titles, you know what you're getting into. It's the evil trio of tunes in the middle of the album..."The Grunting Dead", "The Bray Beast" and "Beyond the Northwoods"...that are the most explosive. These are as fast and furious as anything Usurper ever did and I might say "Beyond the Northwoods" matches the legendary "Dismal Wings of Terror" for utter brutality.

This album has more headbanging, fistpumping true metal mayhem than Anthony Weiner has embarassing text messages. It is a worthy addition to the legacy of Usurper...and a beginning to the age of Scythe!