In 2016, after twelve years, London metal band Hang The Bastard called it a day. Leaving a legacy of two albums, a cluster of EPs, a wealth of side-projects and off-shoots. And there it could have ended, but music is in these guys’ blood. The remaining members formed URNE (pronounced Urn, if you’re wondering whether they’ve just dropped a vowel) who are about to release their debut EP – ‘The Mountain of Gold’.
With so much experience playing together (drummer Richard Wiltshire is the only non-Hang The Bastard member of the trio, but gels brilliantly with vocalist/bassist Joe Nally and guitarist Angus Neyra), URNE are surefooted and confident.
The four tracks here offer broad strokes on a canvas provided by the Max Cavalera school of riffing. Utilising a guitar tone that’s crunchier than a bag full of cockroaches, Neyra weaves expertly between doom, thrash and stoner rock, even whipping out solos when required; notably on ‘The March Toward the Sun’. Whereas Nally provides a varied approach; gruff yells, cleans, whatever fits with the music.
Each song clocks in around the six-minute mark, yet the trio utilise the space well. Take opening track, ‘Dust Atlas’, for example. A riff-heavy rollercoaster that hints at their versatility that is shown later on, serving as a perfect introduction.
‘Mountain of Gold’ opens out with long flowing passages, reminiscent of Mastodon, before returning to a crackling light riff. While Nally’s reverbed vocals add to its sludgy groove. Whereas ‘The Lady & the Devil’ is supercharged with a whiskey-soaked riff before plunging into a pounding metal stomp. The haunting vocals during the chorus are of note here; complimenting a great hook and underscored by killer guitar licks provides an EP highlight.
‘The Mountain Of Gold’ marks an exciting new chapter for its members, making you glad they didn’t hang up their instruments.
‘The Mountain of Gold‘ EP by URNE is released on 27th July.
Words by Ian Kenworthy (@WhisperingSand)