The collective Ur returns with The Day of the Lord, a series of four droning tracks that feature plays on the words “sword,” “word,” “lord,” “law,” and “world.” If you’ve heard Ur’s releases before, you’ll know what to expect on this forty minute album: sinister guitar drones, violin shrieks and bursts, and often dark reverb rumbles that swell and explode unexpectedly.
What I like most about Ur, especially on The Day of the Lord, is their ability to craft lengthy drones that change very slowly, often utilizing repetitive features to their advantage as the tracks coalesce and climax. It’s a feature that the collective has locked down; you’ll notice it on most of the tracks here, in varying degrees, but it’s always just a little bit different on each track. “The Word of the Lord is a Sword to the World” starts with deep bass and a whirring glow underneath, building with sustained chords and a swelling sense of darkness that meshes with the idea that the Lord is a sword. The fifteen minutes that it takes Ur to reach its climax might at first seem extraneous, but the tiny details within produce such a chaotic miasma that it’s well worth the wait.
There’s a continuation of theme throughout The Day of the Lord, with swirling drones thanks to guitar and bass and sometimes electronics that feel both improvised and strategically laid out at the same time. It’s the sort of thing that can often go from hypnotic to jarring, from extremely loud to quiet, and you’ll find yourself enjoying the ride the entire time. The sharp feedback squeals, the industrial sounds of clangs and junk metals that scrape across the tracks, are intense and often a bit grating – it’s great for an album that really needs to utilize these small features to guide the long tracks.
The standout track here is “The Sword of the Lord is the Law of the World,” the finale track that builds with an OM-like guitar line and very squeaky, almost out-of-tune violin. It’s fairly ritualized for the entire ten minutes, but the feeling of ominous dread is apparent at all times.
And that really sums up the nature of The Day of the Lord, tracks composed as wavering tension, ready to burst forth but never quite doing so, leaving the listener with a pent-up energy that can’t be dispelled.