posted on 8/2011 By:
These Bones are pulled from the rotten corpse of Chicago’s Usurper. Their debut, this self-titled disc is yet another old-school-leaning effort in the current wave of such, but unlike almost all the other recent retro-minded releases, Bones avoids both Incantation-worship and borrowed Swedish sounds in favor of reviving the punked-up death/thrash of the band's hometown heroes, with a hearty dash of crustiness just to dirty up the place. And while it’s not wildly original in scope, Bones is executed with such tangible passion and professional skill, with such a straightforward and honest and downright vicious attack, that its violence is irresistible.
Clearly indebted to the likes of Windy City giants Master / Death Strike, Bones’ brand of death leans heavily on punk and feral thrash – the riffs straddle the line between sloppy and tight, and at times, these tunes tread close to Motorhead’s loud-fast rock’n’roll. (Witness the rollicking and crusty opening statement, “March Of The Dead.”) Recorded and mixed in a matter of days, Bones’ production is accordingly raw, but that certainly isn’t detrimental to the disc – in fact, it’s a large part of the band’s snaggletooth charm, one of the best qualities of the whole affair, an appropriately ragged and punkish sheen upon a ragged and punkish set of tunes. The guitars and bass are hard-panned – the bass is only audible in the left stereo channel, and the guitars in the right – and the gnarly crust-punk tone of each is perfect, particularly the filthy bite of Jon Necromancer’s bass, another Motorhead-esque quality. There are no guitar solos – nothing to detract or distract from the slicing riffage and Necromancer’s half-intelligible growls and screams.
Each of these songs is a killer, although a few stand taller than the rest: “March Of The Dead,” the gnarly grooves of “Good Die Young” and “666”, the driving “Slowburn” (which is anything but), and the cover of “Apocalyptic Warrior,” originally by unsung Chicago legends Devastation. The fellows in Bones inject enough deviation into the structure of their songs to keep each tune interesting – well-timed slower sections, groovier segments, some kind of subtle shift to keep each blast of thrashing death from becoming a one-trick track.
The guys in Bones aren’t reinventing the wheel, but they are beating the living hell out of it, and doing it brilliantly. Bones is easily one of my favorite death/thrash releases in quite a long time, a disc so palpably filthy and angrily metal that it’s impossible to ignore its grimy greatness. Not the best disc I’ve heard all year, I admit, but not far behind, fun and ferocious middle-finger-raised metal of high caliber, and I dig the hell out of it and (cough, cough) I make no bones about it…
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