I met Joe Nally around seven years ago on the biggest UK Metal tour there had been for an age. He was the frontman for Chapters, a progressive metal outfit that is still, to this day, the best opening act I’ve ever seen on a tour headlined by Sylosis but showcasing everything that was great about fiery yet accessible UK metal.
Hang The Bastard. No, I’m not advocating the return of capital punishment. I’m lamenting the loss of one of the UK’s great sludge bands, of which the aforementioned Nally had an integral part in creating. Three-quarters of the detritus have created Urne, a groove-machine which former supporters hope to be a contender.
Self-released, The Mountain Of Gold, the band’s first EP, commences with ‘Dust Atlas’, a buzzsaw riff complementing a blend of harsh and clean vocals: the latter a laconic but clean throat, the bassline a mix of groove metal and thrash brutality. ‘The Lady and The Devil’ has a seductive quality, and some laudable guitar arrangements, but shows the first example of a cheesy background with the little invention: a generic composition which displays the parent band’s weaker moments all too well. ‘Mountain of God’, meanwhile, possesses savage axework and a deep rut, but the melodic centrepiece feels out of place, diluting the effect.
Closer ‘The March Towards The Sun’ begins with a ferocity that will generate a pit wherever it’s played, but it doesn’t quieten, it loses life. Here, sadly, is the deal. Hang The Bastard, while missing the inventiveness of Chapters, still had an element of identity, a fire that attracted watchers. Urne seem to have watered that down with generic, uninspired musicality that relies on the occasional spark to build a reputation.
It’s not enough.