Urn – The Burning

In general I’m not the biggest fan of blackened thrash but I’ll sure as hell make an exception for the awesome The Burning, the new album from Finnish group Urn. A riffest with great blackened atmosphere and old school metal tendencies they deliver pure Satan worshipping metal.

The production isn’t particularly extreme, with an emphasis on the trebly guitars and raspy but audible black metal vocals. But it’s a blackened thrash album after all, not a true kvlt black metal band. In a style that’s reminiscent of the most recent 1349 album Massive Cauldron of Chaos the first track proper Celestial Light kicks off with a huge tremolo picked riff in the classic style of eighties thrash with the trebly but powerful guitar tone and high pitched harmonic sound of the aforementioned 1349. With simple chuggy guitars in the middle of the track they definitely bring the fun sound of thrash with black metal blastbeats and raw but comprehensible vocals courtesy of Jarno Hämäläinen. A melodic Megadeth-esque solo runs through the middle of the track, simple and short but gives an extra touch of melody alongside the riffs. Much like the latest Destroyer 666 album Wildfire there’s an emphasis on the old school sound particularly on second track Hail the King that opens with a Motorhead-esque drum beat and opening riff that almost borders on plagiarism. More of a gruff shout in the vocals along with the headbangable riffs and bluesy leads sees them deliver a track that’s got to have been a tribute to Lemmy.

They get decidedly faster and more demonic on the rest of the album, Morbid Black Sorrow’s simple but dark opening riff summoning the hellfire the title invokes, while Sons of the Northern Star has more of that high pitched 1349 tremolo riffing style. Nocturnal Demons is outright thrash with that dark melodic solo, punky drums and  gruff blackened yells. There’s a few slower epic tracks toward the end of the album too, with the cleaner guitar tone and  title-only chorus of Wolves of Radiation, which could have stood to really kick off after spending most of its time in slower territory, and the closing title track with its melodic opening and clean vocalled chorus among some awesomely gravelly vocals alongside its foreboding verse riffs.

A few more aggressive sections of all out blastbeats and icy tremolo picking might have changed it up a bit more as the album as a whole is rather mid paced and not particularly devastating despite being quite a lot of fun, one gets the sense that it will sound even better when it’s performed live. At least they didn’t go the other way and just blast bluntly and chug the bottom strings ad infinitum like so many other bands, Urn have really found their own style. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of the aforementioned Wildfire but its still one of the best blackened thrash albums of the last few years, in that Urn know you can incorporate melody and slower parts in the song-writing while still kicking ass in a classic thrash manner.

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