Hang the Bastard’s demise was the premature demise of another great British band far too soon. Thankfully, from the ashes rises something new and URNE’s debut EP is a wonderful return for a group of musicians that have been absurdly overlooked over the past few years. Combining the duo at the heart of Chapters, and bassist and live guitarist of Hang the Bastard, Joe Nally and Angus Neyra alongside drummer Richard Wiltshire have fused together the best elements of their previous projects into one of this years standout metal releases.
In Ethos, ‘The Mountain of Gold’ is very much a direct line from Nally and Neyra’s former project, Chapters, with its flirtations with elements across the full musical spectrum and extended song structures. There’s still the bastard heavy riffs from Hang the Bastard but this is tempered by alternative rock leanings and progressive song structures that drag the listener through valleys and peaks within each song. Even more so than Chapters, URNE are unafraid to explore any and every angle with opener Dust Atlas bouncing between a sludgy, Bastard-esque riff into a tremulo picked extreme metal riff then straight into a chorus more in keeping with the vocal stylings of Alice in Chains. Whole potentially schizophrenic in its commitment to diversity URNE are talented enough to rap this up in a distinctly ‘URNE’-shaped package that ensures that no one element ever feels like a dramatic outlier.
Much of this is down to producer, Josh Middleton, also of Sylosis/Architects fame who keeps every disparate element of this EP balanced and in tone with the other. Middleton even continues the tradition of Chapter’s ‘Imperial Skies’ mini-album, contributing to a vocal trade off with Nally on the excellent closer ‘The March Towards the Sun.’ Nally himself is one of the surprises of this EP tempering a trademark bark with the ability to produce unearthly vocal textures which float above the instrumentation.
‘The Mountain of Gold’ is an excellent debut and one that bodes well for URNE’s future; with their ability to create something this good on a first outing its exciting to think about what the future holds when this template can be tempered and refined.
The Mountain Of Gold is out now on self-release.