Feel The Burning Of Urn
Feel The Bern!
Urn was born in 1994 from the mass exodus of Barathrum when guitarist/vocalist Sulphur, bassist Infernus, and drummer Pimeä decided they’d be better off on their own. By the turn of the century, after a couple of short form releases, Sulphur found himself struggling to keep a line-up and ended up recording debut full-length, 666 Megatons and Morbid Death -split with drummer Tuska, before assembling a new full line-up with Hellwind Inferion (of more notable bands than you can count) and Blackvenom (in a twist of incestuous irony, of Flame – a band founded by Infernus and Pimeä after their exit from Urn). They recorded two more full-lengths and made themselves quite a name in the Finnish extreme metal circles before effectively dissolving completely.
It did not seem reasonable to expect anything more from Urn, but eventually – in 2016, Sulphur took over the bass duties and returned with a new line-up consisting of Sacrilegious Impalement/Front-men and after some initial shifting settled in with guitarist TooLoud and drummer Revenant (having added a second guitarist Axeleratörr post-recording). Brief, but unfortunately for many of you – necessary, history lessons and unnecessary namedropping aside – Enter The Burning.
First thing I noticed was how much better the cover art for The Burning is than anything they’ve had adorning their albums before. Seriously, their covers have ranged from bad through goofy to passable, but The Burning’s Slayer-esque pit of hell finally sees them nail their sound through visuals. Lo and behold, black/thrash is the name of the game and the band wastes little time before ripping through with “Celestial Light”. As heavily overused and as often as not, pointlessly so, an adjective ripping may be – that is exactly what Urn do. Delivering wildly thrashing riffs over controlled blasting, never stopping for a breather but every now and then changing pace towards something less frenetic. “Hail The King” quickly fills in the rest of the usual black/thrash tropes with simplified riffing, good chuck o’ Motörhead and a shout-along chorus. “Morbid Black Sorrow” not only has some of Urn’s best-ever riffs, but strikes a more blackened vein as well, with tempo changes, acoustic strokes and brief but amusing solo it also stands as the albums highlight and most vivid song.
Unfortunately The Burning settles into a groove soon after and the songs between “SotNS” and “Falling Paradise” don’t quite stand up to the challenge. While “Wolves of Radiation” apparently tries to provide a break from said groove – it also falls short of the other songs on the album, while the others serve infectious riffing that gets my head banging and fist pumping as much as the rest when played alone, but begin to fall flat in the context of the album. They make another turn for the better on the last two songs, the title-track closing the record on a more lead-filled and melodic note, which works well in Urn’s favour.
There’s not a lot to be said about how The Burning sounds, while it may lack some dynamics, it’s adequate as the songs aren’t terribly so either. Everything is audible, from the acoustic strokes here and there to the bass – even if latter has to be looked for as it follows the rhythm guitar rather strictly, and nothing occupies too much space leaving the mix balanced and full of kick. If it wasn’t for the minor slump towards the latter half The Burning might even be the best of it’s kind in 2017 as it stands, however, Urn get a