Usurper Visions From The Gods

That a relatively obscure band sees fit to release a collection of even more obscure demo tracks seems dubious, but Chicago's Usurper proceeds with this philosophy on this collection of 1994 demo and unreleased material. Most of the tracks aren't particularly remarkable; "Deep In The Forest" and the title track are slightly interesting in a Cause Of Death-era Obituary kind of way, plus there's not one but two versions of "Soulstalker." "Wolflord (Night Prowler Version)" even invokes doom metal progenitor Winter. Throwing in lots of Celtic Frost-styled death grunts, vokillist Diabolical Slaughter is a small step down in tone from Deceased's King Fowley, and guitarist Rick 'Rigor' Scythe is clearly a student from the Venom/Sodom camp. However, sloppy drumming plagues the bulk of the tuneage, which was greatly improved on Usurper's later full-lengths. If your curiosity is piqued at all, try last year's Usurper II: Skeletal Season album for a better sizing-up of this outfit. (Necropolis)