Blimey, another belter from Transcending Obscurity Records here with the debut album from Ursinne.
Right, for starters what’s an “Ursinne” and what’s this band all about?
Well for starters “Ursinne” is a Swedish word for “rage” and the band is aptly titled!
This here project is the brain-child of two top chaps.
- Swedish born and UK living, super talented riff-ninja & multi-instrumentalist Jonny Petterson. Jonny is approaching Rogga levels of output playing in Ashcloud, Wombbath, Just Before Dawn, Gods Forsaken and my fave, his solo project “Henry Kane” – “Den Forstorda Manniskans Rike” is one of the best death/grind albums you’ll hear this year, check it out!
On this record Jonny plays guitar, bass and takes care of percussion duties too.
(Ursinne have since recruited Dutch bass goddess Sonia Nusselder (Sephiroth / Shade Of Hatred / Ecocide)
- As for the vocals, well you’re in for a treat as none other than David Ingram lays his ridiculously powerful roar all over the twelve tracks here. You’ll no doubt know Dave from his nine years Benediction and his tenure in everyone’s favourite death metal artillery barrage, Bolt Thrower. He also recently fronted Hail Of Bullets and has been pretty damn busy with loads of other projects, check out Echelon and Down Among The Dead Men, some tasty stuff right there.
So what’s it all about then? Well it’s about some furious, groove heavy, old school death metal that’s fucking what!
Kicking things off is “Devil May Care”, a five minute stall-setting belter of a track. When I heard the first guitar chord, I won’t lie, I chubbed up a bit. Jonny’s guitar tone is pure Swedish filth, the riffs are chunky as you like and pure “Clandestine” era Entombed only fatter and groovier. His leads though can be sometimes quite melancholic and haunting and this lends the songs quite an emotive tinge in parts such as on this track and the second number, the storming “I, Serpentine”. Make no mistake though, I can promise you there is no let-up in intensity.
Another thing you’ll notice from the get go is Dave’s voice. That roar 40 seconds in to “Devil May Care” will part your eyebrows and if you’ve any left by the end of the record I’ll be surprised as this is probably his most powerful vocal performance to date. His lyrics have always been something the Englishman takes pride in and here too he writes intelligent, thought provoking and dark songs. No gore / murder / torture here. Check out the lyrics to “Bullet Bitten” (a song written in tribute to Lemmy). At first glance they read like a war song, about soldiers perhaps fighting in a muddy field somewhere…… now, read them again and remember, this is a tribute to LEMMY!
“when the bullet is bitten you’re tasting brass, mouthful of munitions knocks you on your ass”.
Of course, Dave often incorporates his love of all things Doctor Who into his lyrics……the nerd! But unless you’re a fellow Whovian you’d be excused for not noticing, “Talons” is a great example of this likewise “Something Wicked This Way Comes” displays Ingrams love of Shakespeare.
Now, “Swim With The Leviathan” also contains some “what the actual fuck???” moments in the form of some cover songs. Four in fact. Two of which will definitely have your head on a swivel and are all the more fun for it. Firstly the lads lay waste to “Crazy Horses” by The Osmonds….. yes, little Donny & Marie get a full scale death metal thrashing and I absolutely love it. Not as some kind of comic relief from Ursinne’s own barrage before it, rather this is played straight but chunked up to the max. Jonny grabs the tune by the scruff of the neck and forces it through his “riff mangle” and out the other side comes some heavy as fuck riffing grimy & groovy in equal measure with David doing what he does best i.e. bellowing aggressively all over it. It shouldn’t work should it? It really shouldn’t but it DOES! This is a killer track and if Ursinne ever play live….and fingers crossed they do….. if this is not the set closer then I’ll eat my hat! Also up is a cover of The Vapors’ 1980 hit…. ”Turning Japanese”. Which as you may or may not know is an infectious ear worm of a song which is about……wanking. Ursinne also bang out versions of “Monsters In The Parasol” originally by Queens Of The Stone Age and the album closes with a cover of Siouxsie and the Banshee’s “Spellbound”. Both are pretty damn good, especially “Spellbound” which keeps the originals dark & eerie feel while turning the aggression knob to 11.
Some people will no doubt bitch & moan about this being a debut album containing four covers. Moan away wankers (while no doubt turning Japanese) there are still eight songs of original prime quality death metal here to feast on. You can’t please everyone…..and why would you want to! In my mind the covers are fun and give what would already be a killer album “added value”. Look upon them as bonus tracks and what a Brucie Bonus they are!
This is a quality record, made by blokes who know what they’re doing love what they do. They also do it better than most. Without doubt one of your essential death metal purchases this year.
(9/10 Mark Eve)