No, not the last Ne Obliviscaris album or the Finnish black thrash band who have an album coming out next month; they’re both just “Urn”. No, not the blackened hardcore band from Melbourne who just kind of disappeared, that’s “Urns”. This Urne hail from London, spell their name with an “e” at the end, and play a hybrid of sludgy stoner-doom and groovy almost-thrash metal that will have you questioning whether you’re meant to be chilling out or throwing down and loving every second of it either way.
Urne are comprised of ex-Hang the Bastard frontman Joe Nally and guitarist Angus Neyra, along with drummer Rich Wiltshire. They might only have a single four-track EP to their name so far, but The Mountain of Gold (2018) is a hell of a mission statement. The inherent appeal of their sound is made abundantly clear via the opening track, “Dust Atlas”, which kicks things off with some classic, Black Sabbath-style doom, before transitioning into a thrashier riff reminiscent of Mastodon‘s “Blood and Thunder”. The Mastodon-isms remain present throughout the track. However, Urne also like to sit with their grooves a bit more than the Georgians, so that the main riff eventually ends up more specifically recalling Machine Head‘s “Bulldozer”.
The track sets the tone for the rest of the EP, which – although it branches out in many different directions – is always anchored by a central, driving groove. “The Lady & the Devil” balances out its monolithic groove with a layer of melodic vocals and a lofty goth chorus. “Mountain of Gold” is another hard-hitter that again invokes Mastodon although, again, it’s far grittier than anything that band have produced in a long time, and its extended instrumental sections allow the band to flex their musical muscles a bit more than on the other tracks, without ever loosing sight of its central groove. Finally, “The March Towards the Sun”, which features a guest spot from from Sylosis and Architects axeman Josh Middleton, who lends his distinctive vocals (and apparantly his riffing style as well?) to the song, which begins in frantic fashion before building to a mournful melodic close.
There’s a ton of potential here and I, for one, can’t wait to see in what ways Urne expand their sound over future releases. According to their social media, the band are currently working on a debut full-length, which everyone should all keep their eyes and ears open for, and which I’ll try and do a better job of bringing to you in a more timely manner.