State of the Art: Pennsylvania – BLACK URN

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State* 

This month’s State is Pennsylvania!

 For those that have missed it for one reason or another, Monday marks the day that the staff here at Metal Nexus aims to shine a light on a previously unknown/undiscovered band from a certain state. Currently on Pennsylvania, I, your beloved Mstr, have got one hell of a find for YOU, our precious readers.  Hold on to your horses, my friends, because the boys in Black Urn are raring to have you drawn and quartered in the public square.  Hailing from the City of Brotherly Love, Black Urn are artists painting on a complementary canvas to counter that idealistic nickname (even though the nickname is just the literal Greek translation, and not a reference to the abundance of eros in Philly).  There’s a number of (insert sub genre category) metal to have emerged from the Keystone State, although sadly, in my eyes, the best of what it has to offer is often getting overlooked. 

Cover Art for 2017’s split album with Moros

Along with Black Crown Initiate and the as-of-the-first-of-this-month disbanded Brontide (if you’re reading this, I beg y’all to reconsider), Black Urn are mastering manipulating the depths of darkness into songs that feel as heavy on the listener as a death shroud made of concrete, albeit in different ways. Black Urn dives through the swampy thick throes of sludge and doom, and rather than having a flat, straight genre approach, they pepper in influences from a variety of metal styles that manages to lift them above your run of the mill, just doing it for the bills feel of those that stay safely within the confines of the genre. Founded rather recently in 2014, this quintet sounds like they’ve known and played together for years.  There’s a nicely creative yet cohesive touch to their songs, often spotlighting thrash, grind, and black metal in a way that is owed to the band’s je ne sais quoi.

Vox: John Jones Photo Credit: SoundShooter


Black Urn’s Alex Ouderdonk slappin’ da bass at the Doomed and Stoned Festival. Photo Credit: SoundShooter

When vocalist John Jones gets busy ripping his vocal cords to tatters, one can FEEL it, much like the ever present and nicely fuzzed out bass provided by Alex Ouderdon k. With the backbeat fleshed out by drummer Tim Lewis and sometimes dueling guitar work by Jordan Pierce and Ryan Manley (who also provides some backing vocal duty), I am genuinely surprised that these guys remain independent and unsigned. Since forming, they’ve released recorded material every year, and after getting a chance to listen to their entire discography, I absolutely must formulate a plan to go see these guys live, and SO SHOULD YOU.  Their next show is June 11th at the Barbary in Philadelphia.  If you’re even a casual fan of sludgeoned doom, I’m willing to wager a buck or five that it’s worth the trip.  They have a split with Portland’s Shrine of the Serpent that is scheduled for release this summer (cd, cassette, and vinyl) to sate you thirsty bastards until the release of their 2nd full length sometime later this year.

Photo Credit: SoundShooter

Photo by SoundShooter

Curious yet? Still haven’t checked out their Bandcamp?  Here.  Because I love you, I’ll make this easy.  Just click here to experience the track that I’m obsessing over, or maybe even here for “Empty Handed Lord”, another personal favorite, one that demonstrates their skill in burying thrash in amongst sorrowful layers of sludgeoned doom, with a passage that would get even the most stubborn circle pit going.  Even better? Grab your headphones (not your earbuds or that crappy set of desktop speakers, either) and listen to every.thing.they.have. (check out the media player below) and in the process,  getcherself a new, favorite sludge band to follow obsessively.  We’ll be keeping up with Black Urn as their career develops, and we’ll keep you up to date as well as we receive the news!  Give ’em a follow on the book of Face here and on Instagram as well to help spread the word!

BLACK URN – “Spindle of Spines” (Live from Doomed and Stoned Fest)

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About Mstr

Greetings, fellow metal fam! I go by Mstr, a weirdo anomaly born and raised in the hills of eastern Kentucky. A walking contradiction, I am everything you’d expect and nothing you'd imagine. Music is LIFE, and I've always had a soft spot for metal and it's various sub-genres. I'm always listening, sometimes writing, about all the things that make life worth living as well as what makes it a dumpster fire. Horns up!

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