Ursus are a progressive metal band from Swindon who are on the cusp of releasing their new EP, The Migration, on August 1st.
Featuring a stage-crowding six members, Ursus was formed in 2013 and cite Periphery, Protest the Hero, BTBAM and Chon amongst their influences. From what I can gather, The Migration is their first release and a couple of singles from it are already available via their Bandcamp page.
Drummer Aaron was kind enough to provide us with a copy of the full EP, though. Actually, I’d class it as an album. With seven tracks totally a little under half an hour, it’s only sixty seconds shorter than Reign in Blood!
Ursus are definitely on the heavier end of the scale, featuring predominantly harsh vocals. Rhythm changes aren’t too frequent or jolting so those who prefer more generic metal may well find them to be easy to get into compared with some of the more technical prog bands.
There are some really dark, heavy, pounding numbers on The Migration, such as “Demesne” which combines great bass with some nice widdly lead guitar. It’s like two songs at once and helps the music bear up to multiple listens – it’s interesting.
“Transcendence” was one of the songs picked as singles from the album and it’s easy to see why once it kicks in. Immediately catchy, it burst forth into a glorious death metal sound. I’d say it’s one of the most accomplished tracks on the album despite probably being overall one of the simplest.
The title track is probably the most “traditionally” progressive in sound, being very atmospheric in tone. Along with shorter instrumental tracks “The Revelation” and “The Beginning”, it really justifies the “prog” in “prog metal”.
Production overall is superb. As ever, it amazes me how up-and-coming bands can release material of this quality these days.
If you’re a fan of this style of music, or bands of the ilk listed above, then Ursus are ones to watch out for.