Personally, I was a fan of Hang The Bastard. Their albums were tight and full of passion while they were a sight to behold live. Urne then, is a most welcome arrival as two HTB members join forces. Joseph Nally on bass and vocals with guitarist Angus Neyra have teamed up with Rich Wiltshire behind the kit to create a formidable trio. “The Mountain Of Gold” EP is their first outing and hopefully will whet the appetite of fans searching for the familiar angsty, deep grooves but also to hear what direction these members take their sound to.

The first of four tracks, “Dust Atlas” is a grooving feast of riffs that highlights the band’s pedigree. However, this feels like an even sharper, more focussed affair. Vocals move from a desperate scream to clean reflections keeping the listener on edge. A spikier sort of sound that leans on the latter era thrash stylings of Metallica shows in the way they twist and turn their riffs which have that James Hetfield styled chop. Contemporary metal influences creep through in the progressive, dynamic flow of “The Lady And The Devil” with shades of Mastodon showing in the punchy riffs. Again the vocals shift although the clean passages here could do with a touch more strength given with weight of the rhythm. Brief flourishes of post 2000 Iron Maiden style compliment the middle two tracks, especially “Mountain Of Gold” with its’ taut, chugging riff punctuated with some clean, chiming guitar work.

The EP’s highlight is final track “The March Towards The Sun” featuring Sylosis and Architects’ Josh Middleton. Impassioned dual vocals lift it towards an anthemic, thrash fuelled neck warmer. There’s an irresistible urgency behind the meaty riffs and tar thick bass that give it a smoking Sylosis tinged aura that almost feels airy before the power and simplicity of the final uplifting chords come in to see the EP to its’ close.

Urne are onto something solid with “The Mountain Of Gold”. There’s enough of the old Hang The Bastard DNA to entrance those fans with this new project but it’s the immediate freshness that stands out. The four tracks here are enough leave hopes high for a long player in the hopefully not too distant future.

(7/10 Johnny Zed)