I’ve been wrestling with this new album by Usurper for quite a while now, but, as release day looms – it’s out this Friday, March 22nd – I thought I’d better get my feelings down in tangible form.

Put simply, Lords of the Permafrost is an incredibly difficult album to love if you don’t come from a death/black metal background. And though I love both of those genres in moderation, I’m just not able to immerse myself in them enough to give this record a forensically thorough examination because, at the core of my relationship with Lords of the Permafrost is the fact that I’m just not moved enough one way or the other about it to get truly worked up…

Better then to simply comment on a less metaphysical level. The album sounds superb, with the band (releasing their first album in nearly a decade and a half) managing to tame their innate brutality within the realms of modern recording practices. This is a genuinely heavy-sounding heavy metal record! Cemetery Wolf in particular assaults the listener viciously, as does follow up track Warlock Moon, wherein vocalist Danny ‘Tyrantor’ Lawson gives full vent to his fearsome croak-come-bellow. For this reviewer, the band stand out best on the shorter, more concise metallic assaults; Longer tracks sometimes just seems to lack focus, becoming relentless chugfests where the band thrash aimlessly without much impact.

I have many metal associates who are raging for a listen to this album, and, if you go back a long way with this band then I’m sure you’ll find Lords of the Permafrost every bit as ripping as you doubtless hope it will be. And if you’ll not find me frothing at the mouth just as enthusiastically, I can at least confirm that this is a well-put together and executed slice of old-school extremity – please enjoy!