Album review: Urne – A Feast On Sorrow

Brilliant London metal trio Urne face up to grief and loss on emotional second album A Feast On Sorrow...

Album review: Urne – A Feast On Sorrow
Olly Thomas

Urne’s 2021 debut Serpent & Spirit rejected the instant gratification of a catchy hook in favour of music that took time to reveal its appeal gradually. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, their heady brew of doom, sludge and classic metal flew under the radar of the mainstream, though it certainly earned kudos amongst certain sections of the underground rock cognoscenti. Most notably, Gojira’s Joe Duplantier bigged them up to K! back in February – and he’s gone one better by producing this excellent second album in his Brooklyn studio.

Very much rising to the occasion, the London trio have crafted an album that sounds huge, mixing gutsy riffage and grandiose prog sensibilities in a way that both reinforces and expands the strengths of its predecessor. There’s a striking confidence at play, as demonstrated by the presence of not one but two eleven-minute tracks, both justifying their duration in utterly convincing manner. There are even moments of relative accessibility like the Metallica-adjacent chug of The Burden or the soulful chorus of opener The Flood Came Rushing In.

The potency of A Feast On Sorrow doesn’t stem from sonics alone; frontman Joe Nally’s lyrics delve deeply into personal turmoil to confront a very specific type of loss. ‘Where do the memories go?’ is both the record’s first lyric and, with The Long Goodbye, part of the name of its final piece. Other song titles include To Die Twice and A Stumble Of Words. This is essentially an album-length reckoning with dementia, undoubtedly cathartic for its creator and incredibly moving to experience. That it’s also possessed of thundering rock power and restless artistic vision feels like a vindication of this underrated band’s long game.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Mastodon, Conjurer, Metallica

A Feast On Sorrow is released on August 11 via Candlelight

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