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A hidden Death Metal gem - 93%

stefan86, March 17th, 2008

This danish band is pretty much unknown to the scene, maybe due to the fact that they only released one album before disbanding. At first glance "Dead Corner of The Eye" comes across as a pretty typical guitar based Death Metal album. But as the album envelops we're treated to a whole lot of variation and creativity along with a solid onslaught of good riffs. This band isn't quite like any other.

The key element here is thoughtful and varied songwriting. Usipian is not the most brutal band ever, not the catchiest or the most atmospheric. They mix all these elements into a sound where every pattern has its place in the song structure. Many of the songs have almost psychadelic clean guitar parts that fit almost seemlessly right into the sound. Using these kind of dynamics usually results in a loss of direction or at least a sense of lacking structure.

The songs themselves are also distinguished enough to stand on their own. While "Selfless" and "An Everborn" are pretty straight Death Metal songs based solely on good distorted riffing there are songs like "Shadows of The Once Unseen", "Multiplied Inhuman Disrupture" and "Predators of The Unbound Sea" where the band really gets into their own style. The clean parts I mentioned take a big space in these songs and in a way that is deeply impressive from a songwriting aspect. Usipian definitely is Death Metal with a whole lot of feeling.

Vocal wise there's also some pretty good things on here. The vocalist Toke sounds a lot like Frank Mullen from Suffocation, and manages to accompany a lot of the riffs with good passion and precision. Production is one of the few low points on this album. It's not overtly bad, but it could've been better considering it's a 2005 release. The drums come off sounding a bit muffled, especially in the blastbeat parts. It's a minor complaint though.

It's really sad that this band broke up. It still leaves me with a paradoxal feeling, since I don't think they could ever write an album quite like this again. Maybe it's better to quit while you're ahead.

Songs of choice: "Selfless", "Shadows of The Once Unseen", "Multiple Inhuman Disrupture"

Insert medicore buzzwords like 'engaging' here - 85%

Noktorn, August 26th, 2006

Okay, I know what every one of you that are reading along at home are thinking: "Hey, look, Noah's doing yet another review of a brutal death metal album! I bet he'll make up some more lame reasons why this one is different from all the others!" Well, I can't dispute the first part of it. Usipian's 'Dead Corner Of The Eye' is a brutal death metal record. And I guess I can't really dispute the second either: I will be making (hopefully not that lame) excuses as to why this one is different from all the others. But I mean it this time!

Briefly: Usipian is a Danish act that plays Suffocation-style brutal death. They're unabashadly oldschool: many of these songs have definite nods to the Morbid Angel and Deicide of old. And, in oldschool tradition, there are a lot of very cool melodic twists on this LP; songs like 'Brought Within Chains' or 'Shadows Of The Once Unseen' remind me of Immolation or other artists with their grandiose, harmonized riffing, though much less atonal than that artist. The vocals could be described as a fusion between Frank Mullen and Glen Benton, which fits the mid to fast paced music very well. The production is also top-notch, very clear and bass heavy, appropriate for the style. However, a couple things push this album from above average to pretty damned good:

First off: the drummer on 'Dead Corner Of The Eye' is superb. Not so much in speed or technicality (though those factors are perfectly sufficient for the task at hand), but in his Sandoval-like ability to match the music at hand almost flawlessly. He exhibits his skill at writing rhythms on songs like 'Clouded Restrainment', which boasts a fantastic percussive intro before the blasting starts. Overall, his performance is one of the highlights of 'Dead Corner Of The Eye'.

Secondly, the structure of this release is very highly developed. Usipian rarely tend to repeat musical sections (though they might be rather similar to each other), so the compositions tend to take on a more elaborate, unfolding quality than most death metal. I would almost call it neoclassical were it not so groovy. When sections are repeated, they're done very cleverly, such as the reintroduction of the bridge in 'Dead Reckoning' near the end of the song. Creating music that is so un-rocklike is a difficult process, and I must tip my hat to a band that can muster up such a volume of pure material.

Of course Usipian isn't reinventing the wheel with this album. 'Dead Corner Of The Eye' is simply a very proficient, very well designed brutal death metal album. But if you want quality music from a lesser-known band, this is a very good choice.

(Originally written for www.vampire-magazine.com)