Cemetery Urn - Cemetery UrnThose familiar with Plato’s Republic surely know of the extended discussion in which “Socrates” speaks about Greeks and barbarians. It discusses civil war and how to treat those who are your fellow civilized people in a fascinating early instance of actual laws of war: don’t execute prisoners, don’t kill more than necessary, and so on. The barbarians, a term employed to mean people one cannot converse with (and therefore cannot reason with), don’t fare so well. They can be mistreated, enslaved, and slaughtered at will; as an inferior civilization, they are to be decimated without remorse if they attack the polis, and the Greeks expect no fairer treatment from them in return. Australia’s Cemetery Urn describe themselves as “barbaric Australian death metal,” and one gets the feeling listening to their self-titled third record that they’d welcome the ceaseless bloodshed.

This bloodshed, of course, comes in the musical form; this is death metal, full stop. Heavily influenced by Incantation but not whatsoever a clone, Cemetery Urn take the Disma approach to death metal: latch on to the ethos of old Incantation and run with the formula in a different, albeit still certainly recognizable, direction. Those obsessed with alternate timelines can hear what Incantation would sound like if they incorporated the filthy groove of Austrian repulsion masters Pungent Stench and the crunchier riffing of old-school greats like Morgoth, Bolt Thrower, and Autopsy, along with some subtle but noticeable Morbid Angel influence. In sum, Cemetery Urn sounds familiar and oddly welcoming upon first hearing it, but at no point does it sound stale.

This sort of minor innovation is where true quality lies. Instead of jettisoning the rulebook carelessly before mastering it, Cemetery Urn view Chesterton’s Fence as an asset instead of a liability, circumscribing their songwriting into a narrow but fertile patch of metallic land. At a certain point, records like Cemetery Urn don’t lend themselves well to track-based descriptions; the influences on the riffs are above, and what matters is how the riffs are employed both individually and structurally. “Misshapen Affliction” has an intro riff reminiscent of newer Incantation but tinged noticeably with Bolt Thrower, and promptly shifts from this into a Realm of Chaos inspired rapid-fire pummeling that eventually gives way to something from Pungent Stench’s wheelhouse. All the while, Cemetery Urn cannot be mistaken for any of the above bands, and it’s frankly a boon that I had a bit of trouble writing about the highlights here. I can evoke quality bands positively in comparison to Cemetery Urn because these guys write rock solid death metal that will captivate fans of the aforementioned bands without wasting their time being a subpar clone.

Cemetery Urn 2017

The upshot here is that, good as this is, Cemetery Urn haven’t propelled themselves to greatness. The best analogy is a highly skilled author writing a book exclusively on a seminal author’s work. Writing on St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, the author would know that his work wasn’t in the same league of quality, but he’d latch onto certain aspects others may have missed or understated, and brought his own personality into the proceedings as well. This is what Cemetery Urn does with their influences, letting certain aspects that would never creep into, say, Incantation’s sound be heard, and convincingly so. Their use of melody in “Dredge the Pit of Burial” is more consonant than what Mr. McEntee himself would likely allow in his main outfit, but it works because Cemetery Urn knows how those Incantation records tick. Some may not agree with their choices or understanding, but it is at the very least an entirely defensible interpretation that doesn’t break with the general ethos of its influences and genre.

All of this is to say that Cemetery Urn took seminal and foundational material and ran it through their own highly competent filter with a consistent degree of success. This is not a great record in the mould of Onward to Golgotha or even Towards the Megalith, but it doesn’t have to be. Mastering the rulebook is an order of magnitude more important than arbitrarily breaking the rules, and Cemetery Urn demonstrate their understanding of great death metal by crafting the highly enjoyable songs present on their third record. Their tweaks and idiosyncrasies have the germ of greatness in them, and this is a band to keep a close eye on for future releases. For now, Cemetery Urn resides in the cream of a hugely overcrowded genre, which is surely no small feat and worthy of praise.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Websites: cemeteryurn.bandcamp.com| facebook.com/cemeteryurn
Releases Worldwide: June 9th, 2017

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  • El_Cuervo

    I bet you’d love a Philosopher King wouldn’t you, you fascist.

    • Wes Allen

      Either that or some good ol’ fashioned chairness.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      So I had too much wine at The Symposium and became one of the Thirty Tyrants once…happens to everyone!

    • Tofu muncher

      My thought exactly!

    • You wot m8?

      Well, yeah.

  • Aidan riess

    I listen to a ton of folk, prog, and black metal. I would love to get some responses on what people think are the best and most essential death metal albums. (I already love Opeth and Amon Amarth)

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Pretty broad question, but off the top of my head:

      Dismember – Like an Ever Flowing Stream (a one-of-a-kind classic)
      Death – Human (proggy, intellectual DM)
      Carcass – Heartwork or Symphonies of Sickness (the origin of most melodic stuff like Amon Amarth)
      Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness (Weird, evil math metal)
      Incantation – maybe Diabolical Conquest (Nasty, gutteral doomy death)

      That’s a pretty diverse selection to start you off.

      • Brent Johnson

        I’ve been diggin’ Skeletal Remains and Ex Deo lately.

    • Zach Ward

      I feel one of the best Death Metal albums of recent years is Anareta by Horrendous. Highly Recommend it!!

      • Sean Sky

        Horrendous are amazing. Scythian is another band I’m watching after their awesome 2015 release. Extremity and Soulskinner both have some pretty dank releases this year too.

      • Diego Molero

        I never got around Horrendous, I found them to be good, but not that great. I do think that Ecdysis is better than Anareta though (the amazing artwork doesn’t hurt either.)

        • Zach Ward

          Never gave Ecdysis a proper listen, for whatever reason. Will soon fix that. I thought Anareta was top 5 album of 2015 for me so I absolutely love that album.

          • Diego Molero

            Well, you listen to Ecdysis and I will listen to Anareta!

          • Zach Ward

            Done Deal!! Would prefer Anareta still but Ecdysis is solid no doubt. Good stuff.

    • Consuming Impulse by Pestilence.

    • defjam

      Leprosy by Death

    • Diego Molero

      I cannot stop talking about Trance of Death by Venenum. Death metal with hints of prog and black. It came out earlier this year, and is AotY and a fucking masterpiece.

      • Dudeguy Jones

        one of the best DM albums in a long time.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Latest Venenum is stellar

      • Name’s Dalton

        Yeah, it’s really great.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Morbid Saint’s “Spectrum of Death” is death-thrash but essential. “Towards the Megalith” by Disma is a modern classic, and Dead Congregation’s two EPs are high quality, I like them better than their full-lengths.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Disma!

      • herrschobel

        Disma ! yes !

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Obituary’s Cause of Death

      • Brent Johnson

        Was getting concerned no one had mentioned Obit.

    • Dead1

      – Autopsy “Severed Survival” and “Mental Funeral”

      – Atheist – “Piece of Time”
      – Bolt Thrower – “Realms of Chaos” and “Those Once Loyal”

      – Death “Leprosy” – no fucking prog shit here.
      – Carcass – agreed on “Symphonies of Sickness” and “Heartwork” though I would add “Necroticism”
      – Entombed “Left Hand Path” and “Clandestine”
      – Malevolent Creation – “Retribution”
      – Morbid Angel – “Altars of Madness” or “Blessed Are The Sick” or “Covenant.”
      – Nile – “Black Seeds of Vengeance” and “In Their Darkened Shrines”

      • Necroticism was a shocking omission so far, so I’m glad you got it in there. :)

      • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

        Though not as overt as “Unquestionable Presence” you still got some pretty strong “prog shit” in there with your Atheist inclusion.

        • Dead1

          Piece of Time is straight up thrashy death.

    • Wilhelm

      Desultory – Bitterness
      At the Gates – The Red in the Sky is Ours
      Obituary – Cause of Death
      Death – Human
      In Flames – The Jester Race
      Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness
      Entombed – Left Hand Path
      Dissection – Storm of the Lights Bane
      Unanimated – Ancient God of Evil

    • GardensTale

      As someone who doesn’t listen to a lot of straight-up death metal, I’d like to add Bloodbath – Nightmares Made Flesh to the list above.

  • VikingSchism

    Some Bolt Thrower mentions in this review it seems
    I started exploring Bolt Thrower recently, having not listened to them until now, and I’m craving more in that kind of death metal vein, so this seems interesting to me
    I still consider myself fairly new to metal, since I haven’t quite got round to all the classics and whatnot, so any recommendations for some death metal that I might like if I enjoyed Bolt Thrower would be welcomed

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Hail of Bullets are probably the closest analogue but I’d recommend you check out Transcend the Rubicon by Benediction, too.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Yeah def Hail of Bullets. Maybe Asphyx, Incantation, Slugathor, Stormcrow….

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      “Encirclement” by Decaying is a good choice, as is anything by Warmaster.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Bear Mace. Memories. Grond. Newer Exhumed. Excommunion. 1914. Engulfed. Dawn of Demise. Ruinous. Immolation. Seputus. Chthe’ilist. Denominate. Ursinne. Vastum. Nightmarer. Embalmer.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        Hard second for Grond. Worship the Kraken is beastly.

    • Morbidly Obese Angel

      Gatecreeper is well worth your time. Get on it!

  • rumour_control

    Props for the Plato props. Never a dull moment in AMGsville.

    Sweet write up, too.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Agreed. The author analogy was top notch.

  • Thatguy

    Clever review, and this may not be innovative, but it’s pretty good, innit?

    • Name’s Dalton

      I love it. Pre-ordered it. Gonna get the t-shirt, too.

      • Thatguy

        Way to go!

        • Name’s Dalton

          Yeah, I’m pretty proud of myself.

          • Drew Music

            The whole physical product experience is woefully underrated these days, you should totally be proud of yourself.

  • Westpaceagle

    Great review Diabolous! Had these guys on the radar. DM never dies.

    2017 – mediocre year for metal, outstanding year for AMG reviews (and atticles)

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      The last mediocre year for Metal was 1967.

    • rumour_control

      I dunno like atticles too much. They too tight on my head.

  • Hulksteraus

    I thought you’d “taken a sabbatical” after your Alestorm fanboyism, as Monsieur Druhm put it. So, guessing you have not yet shared the fate of “he who shall not be named”. Also shocked that you haven’t been given a “core” or “nu” album to review as punishment.

    Am glad of this though, because your reviews are always (mostly) entertaining and objective.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    oooooohhhh…..those are the WORST kinds of urn……

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    You get 100 Metal Cred points for name dropping Pungent Stench, Diabolus.

    • Diego Molero

      Is that a lot or what?

      • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

        Well, with the conversion to Australian, it’s the same as 133 Australian metal cred points!

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        That’s a lot! If you name drop Autopsy or Pestilence you only get 10 Metal Cred points.

  • Dead1

    What I get is “blah blah ancient Greeks blah blah…album is good but not great Incantation style DM…blah blah vague reference to Christian saint blah blah.”
    AMG upholds the concept of “less is more.” That should apply to reviews too!

    • Iain Gleasure

      Well the saint is better known as a philosopher so he fits in Diabolus’ wheelhouse.

    • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

      Less Is More:

      I thought the review was too long.

      It applies to you too, Dead1!

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Can I borrow this for the meta description?

    • herrschobel

      you seem to be the ONE troll in this sphere of the interwebs. the Data i have gathered so far leads to this conclusion.

    • You wot m8?

      Only on the internet will you ever find someone complaining about free entertainment being too well written.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      AMG upholds the concept of less is more? “How can less be more? That’s impossible?” is quoted right there under the Angry Metal Guy website header!

  • Iain Gleasure

    Here’s a question for you philosophers out there. Does anyone really dislike Aquinas? Not everyone agrees with him, but he seems to be a man who gets a certain amount of universal respect that others do not.

    • rumour_control

      Aquinas is persona non grata for me because of his need for Catholicism as a filter for his POV. But, hey, that may be the metal in me.

      • madhare

        I agree. Similarly, I think lot of Kierkegaard is just Christian bullshit. If you strip away the Christianity, lot of his ideas are just totally empty and/or rather disturbing.

        That’s what I think of, for example, his supposedly fancy idea of “Knight of Faith”. If you leave God out of his equation (which you kind of have to if you’re a reasonable modern person), it’s basically just a justification to committing immoral acts and atrocities. I think Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now is a perfect example for this. (Not so much Kurtz in Conrad’s book.)

        • rumour_control

          Kurtz: “It’s judgement that defeats us.”

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Plenty of people do, most notably Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, and Hitchens. They’re legitimately incapable (or unwilling) to look at Aquinas’s arguments beyond the “Five Ways” which is a very brief summary of intricate, detailed, and most importantly clear arguments made earlier. That’s like reviewing a record based on thirty second Amazon clips but worse.

      • rumour_control

        Indeed. However, there are those who have condemned others for far less.

      • madhare

        Humm… I know you mean just “people in general”. But I still wouldn’t clump so easily Dennett together with some of the others. Yes, they form a group of humanist advocates. But Dennett is actually an interesting philosopher, while Dawkins is pretty much a total asshole outside his own field (evolutionary biology).

        I mean, I don’t like religion either and I can agree with some of the intellectual points Dawkins make (say, religion as a form of sanctified delusion). But the way he goes on about things is just crass. And the older he gets the worse it gets. Whereas Dennett seems to just improve as he ages.

        To go properly off on a tangent… This raises an interesting question about “academic pack behaviour”. People tend to classify themselves and others into groups and then follow what is stereotypical behaviour in these. Like how lot of analytic
        philosophers treat continental philosophy with contempt without even bothering to
        read them. (e.g. Searle). And then they miss out on lot of good stuff. (Like that Husserl is actually naturalist and sits closer to
        analytic philosophy than the idiots that came after him like Heidegger,
        Sartre and all the bloody postmodernists.)

        • rumour_control

          I prefer the existential route, whereby one not only finds answers during their own particular journey, but one negates a lot of theoritical AND long-standing beliefs in just about everything. To me, faith is death. One must question daily, lest one slowly dies. But, hey, what do I know?

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          They clump together well as the main thinkers of “New Atheism”, I think. Personally I’ve found them all to be basically strawmanning and calling religious people idiots while using William Paley’s ideas as justification to dismiss Christianity wholesale. There is literally nothing in Aquinas that seeks to deny any findings of modern science, and it always strikes me as funny that Dawkins dismisses him so readily while mentioned “goal directed behaviour” in every species. Plus, metaphysical arguments aren’t arguments of physical science, and facts of physical science aren’t the only truths (see Husserl’s “Crisis” in the psychology section), so it’s different argumentation too.

          You’re spot on with Sartre though…his “totalizing totality” rants were unreadably bad.

  • Brent Johnson

    Might be the most philosophering i’ve seen in a Death Metal review. And the song is good too.

  • herrschobel

    and this is how i enjoy my Death Metal…aye sir…! enjoyable review as well. proceed.

  • I guess standing in front of your high school is death metal?

    • rumour_control

      GLORIOUS. Well played, sir.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Clearly you never attended Peoria Catholic Central Death Metal High School.

  • Drew Music

    Pretty spot on review, as usual. I really, REALLY wanted to order this this morning, but I’ve been eyeing III: Trauma sitting at 1 vinyl left on Bandcamp for a minute and when it somehow randomly bumped up to 3 in stock they pretty much had my money. If nothing else, it’s comforting to know that my next check is already spoken for. God forbid I manage to not go broke in the name of metal just once…

    • You wot m8?

      We can’t have that!

      Lovers of metal don’t deserve to own money! Give in and commit your currency!

      • Drew Music

        It certainly seems that way. It’s not even like I’m going broke just cuz of sweet new releases every week, I’ve got years of catching up to do, a process which in and of itself will likely take years and all of my monies to come anywhere near achieving. I curse my youthful ignorance, every CD I ever sold back in the name of more CDs (or cigarette money) might as well have left a scar. I could have one truly glorious library by now if money just wasn’t a thing…

  • This rips. I dig the drums that go rattattattattaTTTTTTTrattatta, on the first song.

  • Gage

    I’d be interested to see you guys review Necrot – Blood Offerings

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I’d like to (I did their last one) but I’m not sure if we got the promo or not.

  • Jeremy Freeman

    This sounds nothing like Bolt Thrower or even Morgoth. pffft