URNE – ‘A Feast On Sorrow’

By Ash Bebbington

If you haven’t heard of London metallers URNE yet, you will soon. After all, loads of your favourite bands already count themselves as fans. Trivium’s Matt Heafy has loudly championed the band on social media and given them shout-outs at shows, while Joe Duplantier of the mighty Gojira is also a fan. It’s the latter who unexpectedly contacted the band and invited them to record their second album ‘A Feast On Sorrow’ at his recording studio in New York.

This is the three-piece’s second record, following up on their 2021 debut ‘Serpent & Spirit’ which made waves in the metal underground, earning them slots at festivals such as Damnation, Bloodstock, and Copenhell. The record is a rumination on grief, inspired by the experiences of singer Joe Nally. As a result, this is a much darker, harder-hitting affair than its predecessor. The vocals switch between gruff screams, black metal-esque shrieks, and heartrendingly sincere cleans. You can practically hear the anguish dripping from his vocals in the clean sections.

In a similar vein to other modern contemporaries in the UK metal scene, URNE seamlessly blends a variety of different genres into one scintillatingly crushing whole. There are elements of hardcore, metalcore, thrash, doom, and black metal to name a few, and if you are a fan of any of these genres, and particularly if you like a bit of all of them, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here.

While the album finds a nice balance between heaviness and melody, throwing in enough melodic sections to cleanse the palette and make the heavier sections hit even harder, ultimately, this is a heavy record. It is an absolute headbanger’s delight with a sound that’s likely to appeal to young and old metalheads alike. Whether you got into Metallica and Slayer in the 80s, or love modern bands like Trivium, Mastodon, or Gojira, you’ll be equally delighted with what’s in store for you on ‘A Feast For Sorrow’.

The fact that URNE is able to create such a glorious racket is even more impressive when you consider that there are just three members. The sonic landscapes they’re able to create with three members is better than many lesser bands can achieve with five. Technically speaking, the album is genuinely impressive and speaks to the members’ musical proficiency and songcraft. Guitarist Angus Neyra is an absolute virtuoso, cranking out riff after riff, and delivers many of the album’s standout moments all on his own. Newly recruited drummer James Cook is an agent of controlled chaos, smashing his kit to pieces and even throwing in a few blast beats here and there which will be catnip to extreme metal fans.

Opener ‘The Flood Came Rushing In’ comes snarling out of the speakers like an uncaged beast, with a maelstrom of thrashy guitar parts, growled vocals and chaotic drumbeats. This gives way to a metaphorical gut punch of a chorus, with emotively charged clean vocals.

The album doesn’t keep up this pace, however, slowing things down for ‘To Die Twice’ which closes with a beautiful acoustic guitar section before leading into the epic 11-minute track ‘A Stumble of Words’. This is the first of two 11 minute songs, and is one of the finest moments on the record. It’s a song that takes you on a real journey, with plenty of heavy peaks and slower, more contemplative moments. It takes a truly skilled group of musicians to create a track like this that feels cohesive and engaging despite its length.

The album’s shortest track, clocking in at a shade under five minutes, ‘Becoming The Ocean’, is an absolute barnstormer, diving in two-footed with fast riffing and screamed vocals. This adds some variety to a record that’s full of more expansive moments, and shows that URNE have a variety of different styles in their locker. The end of the track gives way to a sombre piano interlude before the crushing opening of title-track ‘A Feast On Sorrow’ comes rattling out of the speakers. On a heavy album, this is a particularly brutal track, not least in the agonised clean vocals on the chorus.

Closer ‘The Long Goodbye/Where Do The Memories Go?’ is an absolute monster clocking in at 11:15, and is by far one of the album’s best moments, with plenty of melody without sacrificing any of the heaviness. It’s cast in a similar mould to legendary closing tracks like Trivium’s ‘Shogun’ or Behemoth’s ‘O Father! O Satan! O Sun!’ and, for a relatively new band, that is some fine company to keep.

With ‘A Feast On Sorrow’, URNE have cemented themselves as real contenders to be the next big British metal act, and a genre mainstay for many years to come. If they continue on this trajectory and continue putting out records of this impeccable quality, there’s no reason why they can’t reach the heady heights of bands like Gojira and Trivium who have so loudly advocated for them. If you’re a metalhead, it’s time to get to know your new favourite band.

ASH BEBBINGTON

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