Macabre, Usurper, Cold Bearded Killers, Whut? 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Dec. 26, 7 p.m. 2015

Chicago’s Usurper never reached the level of iconic death-metal royalty like Tampa scenesters Deicide or Obituary, nor are they weirdo innovators like Demilich or Atheist. Still, from the mid-90s to the mid-2000s, the band were dependable, making solid, fierce, brutal albums with just enough variation to keep you coming back for further demonic butchery. This show celebrates the 20th anniversary of their debut 1995 full-length, Diabolosis, but my personal favorite is their 2005 swan song, Cryptobeast, which moves away from blackened death towards a cleaner thrash sound by introducing a Motorhead-worthy swagger and gigantic, clotted hooks to songs like “Return of the Werewolf,” “Reptilian,” and the standout “Kill for Metal” (“Kill! Kill! Kill! / Kill!! Kill! Kill! For metal!”). This reunion will feature the awesome late-period lineup, with Dan Tyrantor (rather than founding singer General Diabolical Slaughter) on vocals, Rick Scythe on guitars, Joe Warlord on drums, and newcomer Scott Maelstrom taking over from Jon Necromancer on bass. Expect the set to cover their whole career—and the band to put a demonic inferno in the heart of longtime fans and newcomers alike. Two decades on, Usurper is still, as they put it, “On a mission of vengeance / In the name of metal / Drinking, thrashing, slaying / For the glory of metal.”

Noah Berlatsky

Price: $18, $15 in advance

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