Funeral Doom Friday: Iran's URNSCENT Makes A Sensational Debut With "The Earthen Knot"
Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
Seemingly every year, this column finds new places all over the world that harbor funeral doom. With each installation comes something new or exciting—maybe both. This week is no different. In fact, it provides a new discovery by way of Iran's Urnscent. The freshly-minted trio of musicians formed just this year and have subsequently released their first piece of music. To be honest, I was not aware there were any funeral doom bands residing in the Middle East. A quick search actually told me there were a few. You learn something new every day.
Nevertheless, Urnscent's debut, "The Earthen Knot," is a bold and ambitious introduction. The 16-and-a-half minute track siphons influence from Iranian mathematician, poet, and astronomer Omar Khayyam. They particularly used Chapter 31 of Khayyam's The Rubaiyat:
Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate;
And many a Knot unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Master-knot of Human Fate.
It is a wonderfully evocative track from this Iranian outfit. Piano key harmonies punctuate particularly strong passages ruled by towering riffs. The deep growl of Earthen Shade (vocals) resembles Esoteric's Greg Chandler gutturals at times. The music itself, while nothing incredibly innovative, is quite poised—especially for such a new band. The metered pace and precision of guitar chords and crash cymbals by Black One and Harpag Karnik shows an underlying grasp of the intricacies of great doom. All things considered, "The Earthen Knot" is an excellent introduction for Urnscent.
Stream "The Earthen Knot" now. Follow Urnscent on Facebook also. The band notes that this isn't the first release that will be centered around Khayyam. Be sure to stay tuned for what's to come.