Album Review: Urne – Serpent & Spirit (Candlelight Records)

London trio Urne was formed by ex-Hang the Bastard bassist Joe Nally and guitarist Angus Neyra after their former band called it quits. Getting drummer Richard Harris on board in 2018, they gilded their new outfit (Urne, as in funeral urn, but using the German spelling for no real reason other than it looks cool) with The Mountain of Gold EP.

Now, they return with Serpent & Spirit. With a weighty concept based around the central character’s struggle as he’s pulled between good and evil, darkness and light.

Explains Joe:

I had a bit of a bad patch for a few months. I’m absolutely fine now, but I drew on those two months where I just wasn’t feeling great. I took that and wrote a story based about that. The actual track-listing is done like that film Memento, where it’s all in a different order. Maybe one day someone will listen to the lyrics and work out which order the story goes in.

The album is called Serpent & Spirit. The spirit is the human experience, the serpent is the evil that tricks your mind. It’s about getting pulled apart and trying to find yourself within all of that. So, it’s almost good and evil, and throughout the album it’s about a person getting pulled from the light to the dark.

Candelight Records will release Urne’s Serpent & Spirit on June 25th, 2021.

It’s impossible to not be pulled to the dark through the sheer delight that Urne’s debut album will create. If you’re a fan of mood-altering, focused heaviness and exciting twists and turns, then Urne’s slab of heaviness will make you very happy.

From heavy head-banging bursts to mournful and grandiose soundscapes, Urne’s darkness is spread far and wide. The pull to the light is strong but the gloom wins out, thanks to unexpected but captivating beauty. Two words you might not expect to read when it comes to an album that is still crushingly heavy. It just so happens that metal can make you feel when the band is doing it right and Urne are doing it so very right.

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Most will be sold on the gargantuan opening title track as Urne open themselves up, lay things bare and deliver an epic slice of progressive-tinged heavy freaking metal. Following that with something that has a bit of dirty thrash groove in The Palace of Devils & Wolves. Before going even bigger on the meaty instrumental that is Memorial. Where the riffs are gold-plated, guitar soloing stands out for all the right reasons and the chugging rhythm encourages a wild bout of head-banging. This might very well be the best song Urne has ever written.

Though if you’re missing the vocals, be them clean or guttural, Moon & Sky has you covered. Crushing heaviness, moving melodies, depth to every instrument and making the passage of time feel ever so fleeting.

Half the album done and what an album it has been already. Urne have much more to show though as Desolate Heart comes racing out with a flurry of heavy thrash-imbued noise. Of course, this Urne and there is so much more to this track as it goes on. The band adding progressive touches, having rawer sounding moments and dragging things down before building them back up in a heroic and uplifting way.

Envy the Dead is the most straight-forward Urne get as they blast through a short and choppy bout of modern sounding metal. Before Memorial – Sing Me to Rest pulls the rug out with echoey, heart-wrenching melody and softly sung vocals. It does really power up around the halfway point but it still has such emotional depth to it.

Finally, this album of the year contender wraps up with one last ‘big’ one. A Tomb So Frail, where calming acoustic melody descends into Urne at their most intense. Raging might be the right word, such is the vitriol that spills from them. By the end, few won’t be completely exhausted but no-one will be unsatisfied.

Urne – Serpent & Spirit Full Track Listing:

1. Serpent & Spirit
2. The Palace of Devils & Wolves
3. Memorial
4. Moon & Sky
5. Desolate Heart
6. Envy the Dead
7. Memorial – Sing Me to Rest
8. A Tomb So Frail




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Urne - Serpent & Spirit (Candlelight Records)
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