Review: “Reborn” by Usquam

Originally released at the end June digitally, French Blackened Death Metallers Usquam inked a deal in blood with WormHoleDeath Records for the re-release of their debut EP “Reborn“, a record themed on dark philosophy and inspired by the observation of a world oscillating between decline and progress. As a trio Alwan (bass), Draugr (guitars) and Lucas Henry (vocals) have been invested in this project since 2018 while Henry is also in Paris based Symphonic Black Metal outfit Aryoch

…in terms of genres, Usquam seamlessly blend Melodic Death Metal and Symphonic Black Metal into one cohesive twin headed dragon of a sonic onslaught with Henry’s vocals being nothing short of the ferocious fire breathing variety that you might expect from such a beast. He blends styles so that you have a deeper, darker demonic gutteral low growl and a shriller Gollum esq one to counter balance it in the mix, layered up perfectly to give the impression of a dual vocal attack that works incredibly well on these cuts. Incendiary riffs are nothing short of blistering throughout with “Drawn to death” clearly influenced by Death Metal and having a sumptuous solo that cracks light through the dark clouds of the Cinematic orchestration that serves to enhance and bejewel the overall sound rather than bury the guitar work. The off kilter, slightly warped or out of tune piano work that concludes the cut adds that eerie haunting atmospheric that shows that Usquam have plenty of ideas while giving it a more completed, rounded feeling. Programmed drums can be decisive but here Usquam have played something of a trump card, using them to their advantage. For the most part they have that human quality that means any human drummer could step in a fill the void, however there are times, like in the introduction of “Hails to Mars” where the driven blast beats are so fierce, fast and accurate that they would be impossible to match and as the black plague winds of death and destruction escape the throat of Henry, that works for the sound the band are looking to create. Incidentally, that cut also has an incendiary crossover Thrash solo that should stand out like a bloody hammer smashed sore thumb, but oddly enough fits in the context of the blazing skies. Finale “Tempus edax rerum” has a soaring majestic solo and choral elements that give it a black ethereal quality as if Henry is a demon set to burn down a church and as a clever mix of styles this puts Usquam squarely on the map beside the likes of Solemnity as rising forces to be reckoned with [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Epiphany
  2. Drawn to death
  3. Reborn
  4. Hails to Mars
  5. Tempus edax rerum

Reborn” by Usquam is out 5th November 2021 in physical editions via WormHoleDeath Records and is out digitally over at bandcamp.

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