Ursa Major are a 5 piece metalcore band from Shepperton making noise in a similar fashion to Atreyu and The Devil Wears Prada. Their debut album Old Bones is a no-nonsense, modern metal record that plays off all the idioms that come with a metalcore record; a prominent use of double bass drumming, screamed verses, sung choruses, single chord riffing and a liberal use of breakdowns.
It’s these elements alone that put Ursa Major in the difficult position of offering the listener an incredibly familiar experience. Every metalcore band under the sun sounds like this so if Ursa Major aren’t going for originality they damn well better be catchy and enjoyable in their own right.
Luckily, Ursa Major are definitely one of the better British metalcore bands to rear their head in recent times. Black Lights showcases exactly what the band is about with a huge, sung chorus and some memorable riffs that don’t rely on chugging a single chord. There are also some fantastic leads present on songs like The Two Hundred which help give the band an accomplished and layered sound that could have come from anyone of metalcore’s luminaries.
Metalcore fans are definitely going to find a lot to like with Ursa Major as they’re a big sounding band with some solid songs. The unfortunately obvious problem is that the band are going to find it very difficult attracting anyone else to this album because quite simply, we’ve all heard this done a million times before. How many more single chord riffs and breakdowns do we need before metalcore bands start incorporating more interesting ideas in their sound?
This is always going to be Ursa Major’s biggest problem; there is absolutely nothing original about them. The band cannot offer anything that a hundred other metalcore bands aren’t already doing and quite frankly I’d rather put a Killswitch Engage album on because at least I know they’re full of classic, mosh-pit anthems. If Ursa Major could find some more unique elements to include in their sound they’d be onto something special because it’s apparent from Old Bones that these guys have considerable chops and a massive sound to boot. It’s just a bit of a shame that it’s wasted on another standard metalcore record.
Ursa Major’s Old Bones is available to buy on CD direct from the band now.