Visions from the Gods

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In the 1990s, death metal/black metal was full of amelodic, one-dimensional grindcore bands that played at the same tempo 100% of the time: ultra-fast. But Usurper was never like that. Although very much a death metal/black metal outfit, Usurper never fell into the grindcore category. When other death metallers were emulating Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, or Carcass, Usurper had more in common with Venom, Celtic Frost, and Slayer. Everything on Visions From the Gods was recorded in the 1990s, but much of the material owes a major debt to 1980s thrash. While the songs are blistering and mercilessly heavy, they're also fairly melodic and musical. This collection of rarities, which spans 1994-1998, is unpredictable -- Usurper changes tempos a lot, and the headbangers have no problem playing at lightning speed one minute and slowing things down the next. Back in 1994, Visions From the Gods was the title of a cassette demo that Usurper circulated; this 2000 CD contains all of the material from that demo as well as rarities that came later. Visions From the Gods isn't among Usurper's essential releases; casual listeners, in fact, would be better off starting out with Usurper II: Skeletal Season. Nonetheless, Usurper's hardcore fans will find this to be a highly enjoyable, if imperfect, collection.

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