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Ursa - Mother Bear, Father Toad Award winner

Mother Bear, Father Toad
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 30 April 2020, 2:04 PM

Californian Doom Metal trio URSA return once more to level the Doom world to ashes.  I reviewed their previous album, “Abyss Between The Stars,” and gave it high praise.  I’m happy to report that the more things change, the more they stay the same because “Mother Bear, Father Toad,” is one hell of an album.  Across the album’s five tracks we are presented with thirty minutes of epic doom metal that is crushing and includes fantasy elements and some stoner vibes. I don’t think it soars to quite the highs of their previous album but that’s due to just length.  Four tracks clock in at twenty-four minutes with the last one being a badass cover of the TOM PETTY song.  Still, it is quality not quantity that matters and in that, this album certainty delivers.

The first song is the title track “Mother Bear, Father Toad.”  The first few minutes are ambient textures brought to life by sweet guitar leads and spoken word.  Doom is about the long game and the build-up is worth it as the song explodes with Matt proclaiming, “nothing will be the same!” and the song just crushes from here outward.  It is crazy how heavy this band for a non-extreme Doom group.  Their tone, their style, the riffs…it rivals the heaviest Doom you can think of.  The bass is especially crushing, big blasts of heavy fuzz that compliments the riffs that are equally as devastating and thick. The next track is “Hunters of the Wet Demon,” and it immediately begins with groove for days and bass that could kill a full grown rhino.  The riffs increase their intensity as the band chants and yells their way through this onslaught of stampeding Doom.  Other than the random vocal yells/chants, this is an instrumental that really does sound like someone trying to hunt down some great monster.

Scourge of Uraeus,” lets the hammer drop with the bass and clean guitar, backed by a smattering of cymbals.  When the song kicks into high gear, it is nigh unstoppable.  The hazy, clean vocals are a stark contrast to such heavy handed music but they make it work.  The song slows down towards the end to let the riffs air out into denser passages before speeding up again.  This song is just pure energy and showcases how exciting and exuberant Doom can be—it isn’t always about sorrow and depression.

Frost Giantess,” is a banger of a track with guitar/ass made for non-stop head banging.  If that doesn’t work, the frantic drumming will pulverize you for sure.  This song actually reminds me of early MASTODON except just better in every way I can think of. The last track is the TOM PETTY cover, “Running’ Down A Dream.”  I’m not the biggest TOM PETTY fan but goddamn his music sounds amazing as doom Metal.  Hearing this cover actually makes me wish URSA would do an album of TOM PETTY covers.   I can’t believe I ever wanted to hear more TOM PETTY but by god URSA changed my mind.  If someone had never heard this song, I could see someone thinking it is an original because the band really makes it their own and fits perfectly in with their style.

A short but sweet album but one of immense quality and entertainment, URSA’s “Mother Bear, Father Toad,” is one hell of a doom metal album.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Mother Bear, Father Toad
2. Hunter of the Wet Demon
3. Scourge of Uraeus
4. Frost Giantess
5. Runnin’ Down A Dream
Matt Solis – Vocals, Bass, Organ
Brennan Kunkel – Drums, Percussion
Nick Cohon – Guitars
Record Label: Independent


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