Urna - Iter Ad Lucem
Funeral Doom, Black Ambient
6 songs (44:44)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Goat

Italian doombahs Urna’s previous album, 2007’s Sepulcrum MMVI, was a misanthropic slice of bleakness, verging on Black Metal territory in its unrelenting search for complete and utter damnation, and the follow-up continues pretty much along the same path. It’s slow, atmospheric, almost grandiose misery, touching on the territory of bands like Blut Aus Nord and Burzum, using heady keyboards to drive the backing crunch into your very soul. The band (made up of two members from experimental Black Metallers Locus Mortis) take a radical (for them) step and here remove the interludes from between the lengthy, generally eight-minute plus songs, allowing them to concentrate fully on the main thrust of the music.

Where most Funeral Doom bands delight in tormenting you with the barest hints of melody, Urna are a little less cruel. There are melodies here, strong epic melodies that make the crashing Doom but a distant memory. Especially gripping are the opening pieces, the title track split into two nine and ten minute songs, which vary between piano-backed ambience and horrific The Axis Of Perdition-esque horror-filled soundscapes. As you’d expect, this is music to space out to, and yes, whilst the drums may be programmed, this is one of the few albums where this doesn’t matter – drums are but a part of the aural backdrop, used sparingly to add extra uneasy noise to the dissonance.

One standout point and surprise for me as a past fan of the band is the penultimate track Sefira Malkuth, which speeds up the pace considerably, adding strange Industrial percussion to the mix to create a more strident piece that fits in well with the other tracks but represents an experiment on the band’s behalf that is extremely welcome after the initial shock fades off. True, offerings of Funeral Doom do tend to all sound the same after you’ve heard a few, but Urna are walking their own path, and deserve recognition for it. It might not be the sort of Doom that you can listen to whilst out shopping, but Iter Ad Lucem is a fine, original offering from a genre that often wallows a little too much in its own misery. If you enjoy music that requires you to turn the lights off and use headphones without interruption, then Urna are a must.

Killing Songs :
Iter Ad Lucem pt I & II, K-TH-R, Om, Sefira Malkuth
Goat quoted 86 / 100
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