Interview with Bones

Bones play a simple but very effective brand of no-nonsense Death Metal/Crust which can be heard on their recently released album Sons of Sleaze. I’ve enjoyed listening to this album and have loved their previous work in Usurper, so when the opportunity arose to ask them a few questions I dived in.

For people who are new to the band – introduce Bones!

Bones Band

Sure. Bones is a filthy metal band from Chicago. Our lineup is: Joe Warlord-Drums, Carcass Chris-Guitars/Vox and Jon Necromancer-Bass/Vox. We’re a newer band that formed in ‘09, but we’ve been around forever. All 3 of us have been in Usurper together back in the ‘90s-’00s. We play raw, unpolished metal. We’re not interested in sounding “perfect” or “clean”. We feel that Metal has lost its balls over the years. Now bands spend way too much money to make a studio perfect album that sounds stale, wimpy and terribly boring. Bones is the exact opposite of all that shit.

What are your main influences?

As a band we’re influenced by all the great metal and hard rock that mostly came out from the 70s-90s. I think it’s our individual influences that make Bones sound the way that we do. Joe is way into great drummers like Keith Moon, Dave Lombardo, Neil Peart, etc, while Chris is influenced by guitar greats like Eddie Van Halen, Uli Jon Roth, Kirk Hammett, and he’s a huge Carlos Cavazo fan. I’m way into Dee Dee Ramone, Cliff Burton, Martin Ain, and John Entwistle. Its the weird tension from combining all these influences that make us tick.

What are you listening to at the moment that you want to recommend?

Ptahil’s “Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair” has been stuck in my stereo for awhile. Super weird metal from Indiana/Michigan. The shit is brilliant and needs be heard to be believed. They’re even better live. Also, Autopsy’s “Headless Ritual” is fucking killer. Love it when a veteran band like Autopsy can make it seem so effortless to continue making such mindfucking, influential metal. Both these bands make pure music not influenced by image or marketing.

Your songs have a savage feeling that’s mixed with a sheer enjoyment of all things Metal. How did you create the songs?

We work together on everything. Usually one person comes up with a couple riffs that go together or have a rough idea of a concept. We rehearse often, so we bring our ideas up while they’re fresh and then we start working the problem; coming up with the nuts and bolts of arrangement, whatever. We usually have 3 very different ideas and we argue them out over a couple of weeks until we got it nailed down. Same with lyrics. It’s easier when 1 person does everything and writes everything, but we think this way the end result sounds better. It takes longer but its worth it.

Your album has a very raw and nasty sound – how much of this was deliberate and how much was chance?

Well, its what we sound like. When the band formed we all wanted a break from the formula of signing with a “big” underground label and spending too much time or money in the studio. The last albums we did in Usurper were like that. We were signed to Earache who were giving us $10,000 budgets to go in the studio for weeks and create something that didn’t really represent us. By the time a band is done multitracking and quantizing and autotuning everything you’re not left with anything real. With Bones we decided right away that we never wanted to be in that situation again. We recorded the drums, guitars and bass live. We only took a couple of takes for each song. Both of our albums were done like this. We didn’t do any multitracking or doubling of parts. What you hear is what we sound like at a show or at a rehearsal.

The feeling of the album is very much one of “I don’t care, I’m playing my songs my way”, (as it should be). How do you feel you fit into the wider Metal scene?

We don’t care how we “fit” in the scene. We never did before, and at this advanced age we could really give two shits. “Scene” people are usually “lame” people.

On Sons of Sleaze you covered Fear of Napalm by Terrorizer – how did you decide to cover this particular band/song?

Bones Logo

We usually mess around at practice with cover songs. Its hilarious sometimes, but there are always a couple of songs that everyone intuitively knows how to play like “Black Magic” by Slayer or something. We were messing around with different songs as a joke, but we kept coming back to “Fear of Napalm”. We played it with a nice groove and we thought our version sounded enough like Bones, but still stayed true to the original. We thought we’d record it when we were in the studio for “Sons of Sleaze” and see if it would make the cut with the rest of the songs. We liked the way it came out so we included it on the album.

What are your plans for the future?

As soon as I send this out I’m walking to the liquor store and then picking up a pizza…..


Amon – Liar in Wait (Review)

AmonAs many of you will know; Amon started out life in 1987 and eventually morphed into Deicide. Now, a mere 25+ years later, we have their début album!

If you are familiar with Deicide then you know the general style here, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Among Us is the first track and sets the scene perfectly; muscular, rhythmic Death Metal with a strong sound and some excellent riffs and leads. I wasn’t sure how good this release would be, but this song instantly set my mind to rest. The remaining tracks follow this trend.

It’s clear that the passion and intensity that Eric and Brian Hoffman have for Death Metal is alive and well. This is not diluted or pasteurised in anyway – this is the real deal. What we get is riff/song-focused Metal that is effortless in its delivery and flawless in execution.

Being a very guitar-oriented album there are solos aplenty. Anyone who has been following my reviews for a while now may have noticed that I’m partial to the odd solo, so you can imagine how much I enjoy this.

The recording and general sound of this album is first-rate, as you would expect. The guitar tone is enough to bring me out in fits of excitement alone as it’s just so damn sexy, and the blazing solos on top of it is like listening to liquid gold.

It’s not all about the guitars of course, vital as they are. The drums are blasted out with passion and technique, and the vocalist is, quite frankly, excellent.

With Deicide being such a high-profile band I can imagine Amon causing a split in opinion between those that love the consistency of a familiar sound done extremely well, and between those who were hoping for something different and are disappointed. I am firmly of the former camp and I just can’t stop listening to this.

We All Die (Laughing) – Thoughtscanning (Review)

We All Die (Laughing)This is a sublime Progressive Metal album that consists of just one 33 minute song named Thoughtscan.

Useful starting reference points for this band are Green Carnation, Katatonia, Anathema, etc. although they have enough individuality to exist on their own merits.

This release takes the listener on a journey through splendour and horror; through new life and decay; never knowing where it’s going to stop but knowing that the experience is more important than the destination. And We All Die (Laughing) do so love to provide a great experience. Whether the parts of the song are quiet and considered, or heavy and energetic, they have a firm grasp on the quintessential essence of what makes this kind of music so appealing to Progressive Metal fans – being transported to somewhere else.

There are subtleties and nuances in abundance in this release, as well as stand-out moments that instantly grab you and soul-searching melodies and harmonies aplenty.

A thoroughly ambitious debut release that largely succeeds in reaching its goals and sets itself up nicely to build on this epic effort in the future. As a collaborative effort between two artists in their own right, I can only hope they work together again on this project as there is more to be had here; more to be explored and the veil torn back to reveal more hidden wonders.

Listen intently and absorb completely.

Aborted Fetus – Private Judgement Day (Review)

Aborted FetusAborted Fetus – Russian Brutal Death Metal that’s guaranteed to give you a shock in the arm early in the morning. Who said Caffeine is better than Death Metal?

This is ultra-brutal, almost-Deathgrind music that takes no prisoners and probably doesn’t even know what the word mercy means. As a point of reference think early Severe Torture, and then think how much of a compliment that is.

The songs are largely short and sharp with plenty of blast to remove the cobwebs and get the, (bloody), juices flowing.

Vocals are unintelligible and coarse – almost pure pignoise, but just the right side of this so rather than sounding stupid they actually sound pretty damn great!

I have a soft spot for this kind of ultra-brutality. Yes it’s never going to win any awards for originality but being unique is overrated sometimes; sometimes you just want to blast and grind it out, and when you’re in this kind of mood Aborted Fetus hit the exact right spot.

You can hear a track streamed from Comatose Music here.

Down from the Wound – Violence and the Macabre (Review)

down from the woundDown from the Wound hail from the Philippines and play a rippingly brutal brand of Death Metal.

This is music to snap necks to. Wasting no time they’re straight into it with squealing barbarity in the first track Ill Fated Annihilation. The entire album is a viscous assault on the body. The sense of being crushed under a great weight pervades these songs, so dense is the guitar sometimes.

They play both fast and slow very well, but for me it’s the massive chug-squeals that they throw into the mix occasionally that really get me bouncing around in my seat, (and gathering some funny looks in the process).

The vocals are of the deep cookie-monster-style that do the job well and are vomited forth with precision and intent.

This music is full of effortless, almost casual brutality. The songs are long, on average, with most approaching or over the five minute mark, allowing the band to squeeze the maximum and optimal combination of blast and slower chug-squeals. The middle section of the title track has a particularly oppressive slow part that one imagines hordes of gorillas just leaping around and smashing things to. Which of course would be the appropriate reaction if they were ever played this album.

I have really enjoyed this. The combination of speed and groove perfected by the band and then shot through with heaviness and more squeal-y bits than you can wave a severed arm at; this is an album to return to.

Want to get your ears wrapped around some tasty, slamming Death Metal played well and executed like only true fans of the genre can? Look no further.

Favourite Track: Contesting the Sacred. Like a roller-coaster of pain.

Thy Worshiper – Czarna Dzika Czerwień (Review)

Thy WorshiperThy Worshiper are from Poland/Ireland and play Black Metal with a very tribal/folk feeling and influence.

There is a very ritualistic feeling to these songs, added to considerably by tribal drums, female vocals, driving percussion, unorthodox instruments, etc. All of these enhance the flavour of the album and contribute to a 46 minute listen that explores a very rhythmic, pounding Black Metal. A modern version of a folk tale nightmare; the feelings and images described by Czarna Dzika Czerwień are astounding.

The folk influences are poured neatly into the Black Metal mould and solidify seamlessly to create a work of art that simply demands to be heard.

For me personally a lot of “Folk Metal” just sounds weak, wishy-washy, and more-often-than-not simply heralds a band unsure of their direction or of what to do with their Folk influences. None of these criticisms can be levelled at Thy Worshiper. The combination of Folk and Black Metal they create is handled with expert ease and every track sounds alive with history and tradition.

It can be a cliché to describe something as a “hidden gem” but the term definitely fits Thy Worshiper. This is a very strong album that deserves a much wider audience than it’s probably going to get.

An absolute pleasure to listen to and one of my favourite finds.

Zealotry – The Charnel Expanse (Review)

ZealotryZealotry are from the US, and play an ambitious brand of Death Metal that attempts to offer something a little different from the run-of-the-mill USDM hordes.

It succeeds. They kick their début album off in epic style with Avatars of Contempt. A twisting, turning odyssey into the realms of horror; this is a very strong way to open an album and sets the scene perfectly.

Mere brutality is not enough for Zealotry, nor should it be as they are blatantly capable of delivering so much more. And they do; they make good use of eerie melodies as part of their sound and are clearly more interested in creating an atmosphere for the listener rather than just blasting them into submission. They also know when to utilise calmer moments of restraint amidst the Deathly goings-on.

This is a very musical album; one that you could imagine listening to if they released an instrumental version. The vocals are important though and elevate the album higher than would be possible for a purely instrumental version, but for me the emphasis of this album is squarely on the music, and specifically the guitars. These guys know how to play and use their talent to fashion some impressive atmosphere/emotion-based riffing that tells a tale without a single word. The swaying, winding riffs in Decaying Echoes – one gem amongst many.

This is one of those exceptional albums that I particularly enjoy because of the sense of being taken on a journey through the soundscapes to places unknown and sights unseen.

It’s a great feeling when you discover a band that is attempting to do something a little out of the ordinary with a genre, and it’s an even better feeling when they do it well. The Charnel Expanse is a success; now all it needs is a wider audience. Let’s see what we can do about that, eh?