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Interview

Polish Black Metal Band Ur Arrives To "Hail Death" With Debut EP

A new majestic beast has arisen from the frozen Polish winter: Ur is here to "Hail Death" with a new EP freshly released via Arachnophobia Records. You can pick it up physically or digitally at Bandcamp here.

After covering the group in our first Unearthing The Underground column of 2017, we checked in with band mastermind Gregor for more details on how this new project came together and what went into the creation of Ur, from the band's drink of choice to landing a record deal and working on upcoming material.

xFiruath: I noticed over at Metal-Archives that you are listed as the sole band member, but the press releases about “Hail Death” sort of indicated Ur is a full band and not a solo output. What was the actual lineup for “Hail Death,” and are the members other than Gregor full time or just session warriors?

Gregor: Ur is not my solo project but a band with three members and each of them contributes to the final artistic vision. The rhythm section of the band is formed by Kroll - drummer with whom I play also in Bloodstained - and our longtime friend - Bony, who handles bass. Unfortunately Metal Archives does not always guarantee full information but thanks for paying attention to it - I'll have to take care of this issue and update data.

xFiruath: “Hail Death” is your first official output under the Ur moniker. What prompted the creation of this group, rather than going with any other project you're involved with, and how did the band originally come together?

Gregor: That's right. Ur was formed late last year so it’s fresh and very exciting. My companions are people whom I have known for years and with whom I make or made music before. It's a very free arrangement, the creative process arises naturally, without limitation, that builds an amazing atmosphere. The Ur does not care about genre barriers, flirting with the contrast, we check our creativity and at the same time play to make a pleasure to us and the audience. It’s really satisfying.

xFiruath: With a title like “Hail Death” it seems obvious where the lyrics go, but I'd like to ask specifically about the sort of themes going on with the EP and if there are any curveballs on the lyrical front.

Gregor: It happens that I am the author of all the lyrics on "Hail Death" and at the same time I am the person who likes the least to talk about them. The lyrics are very personal and not actually on the pleasant, mundane issues. The process of writing was for me very difficult and painful, I did not write for many years. When I finally started writing, I realized how many difficult moments in my life I've had, which I never said anything about. Writing lyrics is a great way for me to shout out all that was in my heart for many years. This is what "The Tongue of Fire" is about, the song with which I started to share my feelings again!

xFiruath: When writing and rehearsing “Hail Death,” what was Ur's drink of choice to keep those creative juices flowing?

Gregor: Because we come from Poland, our favourite and traditional drink is pure vodka of course. It affects creativity differently, in the initial phase of drinking it is not so bad, but the more empty the bottle is, the worse it gets (hehe). It will not change the fact that we will drink vodka anyway, because it is simply delicious!

xFiruath: Tell me about that cover artwork for “Hail Death.” It has a bit of a hazy charcoal feel. Who created it, what input did you have in the process, and how does it connect to the release?

Gregor: Cover artwork is really a large size painting that was made especially for us by Krzysztof Sikorski, who is our friend living permanently in Liverpool. We were playing together in Bloodstained but after his departure from Poland he had to part ways with the band and decided to devote himself to another form of art. I think it probably was good for him. The image was painted with oil paints and it is an individual interpretation of our music and lyrics. I tried not to impose anything so Krzysztof was able to present his own vision of our release. It came out great!

xFiruath: How did you get hooked up with Arachnophobia Records, and what sort of formats is the label releasing this EP on?

Gregor: Arachnophobia Records is a young, ambitious label that grows very quickly and gathers very good teams. So I will not hide, I wanted Krzysztof (Krzysztof Slyz head of Arachnophobia) to become Ur’s partner in spreading the deadly propaganda! I sent him a message and he said he liked the material and if I show a little patience it comes to cooperation. So it happened and I'm really happy! "Hail Death" is available so far only as a digipack.

xFiruath: On a similar note, how important to the band is the physical product over a digital download, and what's your preferred format for fans to get the release?

Gregor: Personally, I love CDs and collect them myself, so it is important for me that the album of the band, in which I play, was in physical form. I do not mind, however, if fans download digi versions. Any form of support is very important because it helps us to continue to operate! I'm glad that so many metal maniacs understand and appreciate our work!

xFiruath: What's been your favorite review or comment you've seen online so far of the release, and have you read any feedback that's been baffling or you really disagreed with?

Gregor: So far we hear only good and very good reviews! It is truly amazing that the material is taken so hot by journalists and fans around the world, it is our great empowerment! Among the reviews, that fell in my memory, are the words of Lukasz Brzozowski, editor of Violence Magazine: "Ur prefers above all, dignity and a broad spectrum of melodies." It's a short definition of our band and really appealed to me.

xFiruath: What's on the horizon for Ur now that “Hail Death” is out? Will there be any tour dates, maybe a music video release, or is writing underway for a full-length follow-up album?

Gregor: In our schedule we have only some single club concerts in major cities in Poland. So far everything is going as we planned and I am in constant contact with Polish promoters, it is also possible that we manage to play some shows abroad... I do not hide it, that we are in the process of creating a continuation of "Hail Death," the process runs very smoothly. We already have quite a lot of material, and even now I have the feeling that it’s going to be a very interesting full-length album.

xFiruath: Are any of your other bands still active right now, and do they have anything in the works for 2017?

Gregor: Yes! This year promises to be very busy for me! Both Bloodthirst and Bloodstained plan to record and release full-length albums. Added to this is the new album from Ur and at least another two projects with which I am going to attack. Be prepared because it will happen!

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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