January 2015 National Music Reviews

Review: Usnea – Random Cosmic Violence

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Usnea
Random Cosmic Violence
Relapse
Street: 11.10.14
Usnea = Samothrace + Disma + Winter

I stumbled upon Usnea while digging through Bandcamp about a year ago and was impressed with the blackened, funeral doom/death concoction on their debut. Fast-forward to 2014—heavyweight label Relapse has put out their follow-up. This style can easily get bogged down in its dirging pace and atmosphere. Fortunately, Usnea has no such issues on Random Cosmic Violence. While most of the pacing is slow, their knack for melodic guitar work, passionate vocals and black metal flourishes make for a captivating listen. The best part of low and slow music is that when it changes up, the effect is potent. This is most evident in the title track, which is also the highlight of the album. “Random Cosmic Violence” showcases the mix of musical influences and impeccable timing that set Usnea apart. This may fly under the radar, and it’s too bad, because it’s excellent. –Peter Fryer

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