Album Review: Urne - A Feast On Sorrow
Reviewed by Matthew Williams
When you release one of the outstanding metal albums of the year, particularly when it’s your debut release, the expectation and media frenzy around your follow up, is always likely to be a bit chaotic, but this is exactly where Urne are placed right now.
Go back to 2021, and the London metal trio release 'Serpent & Spirit' an incredible album, that featured highly in many people’s Album of the Year lists, (number 4 in mine), and as their profile has grown, gaining new admirers along the way, they find themselves in a different situation, as the public expects more of the same, and they’ve whetted the appetite with the release of the stunning 'Becoming The Ocean' and the big sounding arena metal riffage of 'The Burden'.
The band are definitely not afraid to try something new, and this album is one of more personal reflection, as frontman Joe Nally says, “losing people is a horrible thing” and “I was full of pent-up emotion” and this is evident in the songs.
Opening track 'The Flood Came Rushing In' begins with an angry opening question of “Where do the memories go?” and then it’s a brutal assault on your senses from there on it, and you can sense the pain and the anguish coming through loud and clear. Having a high profile fan like Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier, who they’ve supported in Europe, offering to work with them in New York, has clearly has a massive effect on the band.
'To Die Twice' is a brutally introspective track, full of emotion that will crush your heart and soul, the track meandering all over the place, with a killer middle section, before it leads into the first of two epic 11 minute tracks, 'A Stumble of Words'. You can feel the cathartic experience pouring out of the band on this one, and for such a long track, not once do you feel bored, yet you’ll be wrapped up in your own thoughts and clearly moved.
For Nally, the whole album is an extremely personal one, and helped him to understand the grieving process better than before. The piano intro to title track 'A Feast of Sorrow' is a prelude to a song of insanely high quality, and proves that this isn’t a joyful or uplifting record, as its raw and from the heart.
'Peace' is the penultimate song, and provides a moment of quiet reflection, with a sombre tone, before it’s consumed by the another behemoth of a song, 'The Long Goodbye/Where Do The Memories Go?' with its slow and intense build up, feeling like a wreckage being observed and forensically analysed, before you release a scream so loud it hurts every sinew of your body and soul. This encapsulates all that is brilliant about this band.
This second album will genuinely surprise a lot of people, as it’s a deeply personal album, and not as fun as 'Serpent & Spirit' but it will gain them a lot more admirers and will catapult them too much, much higher levels. The music is angry, aggressive, darker and all consuming, showcasing perfectly that Urne are a band who simply have no limits and are ready to crash through the glass ceiling above them and announce themselves to a much wider audience.