I’m a big fan of Danish Death Metal; INIQUITY, ILLDISPOSED, INFERNAL TORMENT and PANZERCHRIST are responsible for that. Even though I’ve been following the Danish Death Metal scene closely I’ve never heard of USIPIAN before; despite the fact that the band started out way back in 1995. They started out under the moniker GOTHIC DOMAIN but it doesn’t seem like they released any material under that name. Actually “Dead Corner Of Eye” is USIPIAN’s first full length release. That serves as a good explanation of why I haven’t heard about them before; after all I don’t have the capacity to listen to every Death Metal release this world has to offer. I would also like to mention the cover art which is done by Dan Seagraves; one could almost call him a Death Metal artist. If you see his signature on the cover art of a Death Metal album you can almost be sure that the album will be a worthwhile listen. If you want further information about the band I recommend you a visit to their homepage.
What USIPIAN offers are no frills Death Metal; no signs of crossover here. The music relies on heaviness and not the light warping speed that so many of today’s Death Metal bands seem to prefer. There are some blast beats spread across the album but they play second fiddle at best. Fortunately there isn’t few blast beats just because the drummer can’t handle them; they sound mighty good whenever they are present. Even though the drummer does everything right I have some complaints about how the drums sound. You see, the bass drums are mixed too high in the mix; which makes them a wee bit too dominant. Since the kick drums are used to a wide extent this is considered a minor flaw by me. Some would probably say that this is nitpicking and they’re probably right.
“Dead Corner Of The Eye” isn’t one of those polished turds many speak of today; this release harks back to the early days when bands such as PESTILENCE and MORBID ANGEL were kings. Oh I forgot; MORBID ANGEL and PESTILENCE are still kings. With all the shitty comebacks going on, do the wave VENOM is back, it would help if we heard talks about a PESTILENCE reunion.
Bands that play heavy Death Metal have a tendency to sound thin when they warp from slow to fast; not these guys though. The guitars sounds good at all times due to good musicianship and an overall good production. Quite some guitar solos\harmonies also occurs and makes “Dead Corner Of The Eye” into an interesting release. They are of such quality that they create a great atmosphere without the help of keyboards or any other “untraditional” Death Metal instruments. One example of smart guitar use can be found already in the first “real” song; that being “Dead Reckoning”. The intro isn’t half assed either by the way; it serves its purpose at least. Around out in this song they do some one string, almost acoustic, guitar picking. This little detail reinvents the main riff for some seconds; a very good main riff by the way. Sluggish and very powerful with room for much layering, that’s what I call good workmanship.
Sometimes the details are up front in the mix, other times they lurk in the background. This means that “Dead Corner Of The Eye” should be given more than one listen before the final judgement being passed. If you are a fan of Brutal Death Metal with guitar created atmospheres I think you should consider getting your hands on this release. If your country isn’t boycotting Danish goods that is…(Online May 19, 2006)