Ursinne – Swim with the Leviathan (Review)

UrsinneThis is the debut album of death metal supergroup Ursinne.

A death metal supergroup you say? Sounds interesting.

So who’s involved?

Well, this is a collaboration between Dave Ingram and Jonny Pettersson. Between them they are current or ex-members of bands such as Echelon, Bolt Thrower, Hail of Bullets, Benediction, and Down Among the Dead Men, (Ingram), and Henry Kane, Wombbath, Just Before Dawn, and Ashcloud, (Pettersson).

Phew. That’s quite the impressive pedigree.

With eight original songs and four covers, this is 44 minutes of old-school death metal, played with all of the confidence and skill that you would expect from the people involved.

There’s a lot of mid-paced groove and hearty riffing involved, and the songs generally stick to this formula. After all, if it works, don’t change it. The influences from the band members’ other bands can be heard across the tracks, meaning that Ursinne is a mix of the Swedish style that Pettersson favours and the rolling, steadily relentless war metal approach that Ingram brings to the table. Mixing these two together is a no-brainer in many ways and on Swim with the Leviathan it works very effectively.

The songs are well-written and feature a good balance between the two aforementioned preferred styles of the writers. This results in songs that are belligerent and heavy, but with dashes of melodic colour and upbeat riffs thrown in for good measure. As the heavy, thick guitars punish and crush, relatively subtle leads and melodies can be heard adding texture to the assault.

The deep growls of the singer, (Ingram), are a welcome and familiar presence in the songs, brutally accentuating the music and providing a focal point for the songs as they rampage and destroy. Some other vocal styles appear on the cover versions too.

Speaking of; the cover versions are all death metal versions of non-death metal songs, (The Osmonds, The Vapors, Queens of the Stone Age, and Siouxie and the Banshees). Although these are enjoyable enough, for the most part I would just rather listen to Ursinne’s own material. I find most things like this just come off as forgettable novelty songs, unless they’re exceptionally well done or wildly innovative. Having said that, these tracks are still worth listening to.

Overall, a strong release. Check this out.

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