Ur Draugr: With Hunger Undying

A progressive and paralysing Australian assault

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It probably goes without saying for a lot of the material in Subterranea, but With Hunger Undying is not a release aimed at – or likely created by – shiny, happy people.

A dense and embittered opus, it’s an undeniably bleak work that takes a fair amount of spins for the listener to really get under its skin and understand it – or vice versa. Far from catchy and rarely straightforward in its attack, the band’s first full-length is an ever-shifting musical canvas, veering from tight and malevolently hypnotic mid-paced riffing to blasting passages through to creepy guitar meanderings and strangely angular guitar work.

The vibe is one of grim revelation and even nihilistic despair, but its refusal to slip into easy-to-swallow song structures – though making it challenging at times – provides a sense of depth and feeling of journey that draws you back.

It’s not flawless – there is sometimes a slight lack of dynamics (a point emphasised by the slightly flat production) and there are some off-putting drum parts – but it’s a compelling work.