Bones are a power trio (and I mean POWAH!) out of Chicago, all current or ex-members of Usurper. Upon checking out the artwork and the first song title Blood, Diarrhea, and Tears, I was dreading some dire homage to Cannibal Corpse or at best, some Obituary clones but I’m forced straightaway to re-evaluate. First listen and there’s enough going on in this album to draw me back for repeated listens. They tout themselves as Death Metal/Crust and I dig where they’re coming from as they sound like an updated alternative take on a scene I grew up on and loved… The UK Hardcore Crossover of the late Eighties.
This was the point where some of the UK82 Punk bands were catching up in terms of proficiency and influence of the US Thrash scene. Bands like English Dogs and Broken Bones had moved on from their original basic template to incorporating more metal influences. It was seen by some as a cop-out, but it seemed like a natural progression for me. I’d grown up loving Iron Maiden and Discharge and the Crossover scene took elements of both.
Bones occupy this area like a killing machine, grinding up the corpses in No-Man’s Land. They stink of bullet belts, crust pants, bandanas and cheap whiskey… all the good things in life. They sound like they come from an alternative universe where the UK Crossover scene came about after Grindcore.
Despite the title putting me off at the start, Blood, Diarrhea, and Tears kicks the album off in fine style, Joe Warlord‘s drums rattle from finger waggling blastbeats to a martial grind and back. The vocals are suitably filthy and end in a classic crusty “UUUURRRGGHH!”.
Mass Graves and Carrion Crows continue in the same vein veering between Sludgey Grind and hectic Death Metal riffs. Mass Graves has a particularly nasty Sludgey coda, all downtuned grinding basslines lumbering along like a behemoth dragging through mud.
The whole album takes a variety of extreme elements and knits them into a coherent force making Diseased a manky, thrashing good time of an album…
The eponymous Diseased grinds up through the gears, via a seriously catchy old skool metal riff and some surprisingly hooky solos. This seems to be where much of Bones appeal lies for me… they take several different strands of the evolution of extreme heavy music, but never lose sight of a good tune. Further into the album, the party carries on. No One Matters kicks off with one of the most brutal basslines outside of Neurosis, then speeds off into an out and out Punk Thrasher, veering just the right side of sloppy.
Down momentarily changes the pace, fooling me into almost accusing the band of subtlety, until the vocals kick in like a blizzard of incoherent rage and gloom. Boozer and Broken Wheel sees Bones flexing their metal muscles, verging on NWOBHM and Eighties style Thrash. The album finishes on a couple of proper of ragers, all frantic riffing but keeping it well catchy at the same time.
The whole album takes a variety of extreme elements and knits them into a coherent force making Diseased a manky, thrashing good time of an album and a must listen for fans of Toxic Holocaust, Dishammer and the likes. Maybe not one for the purists among you, but none of the styles Bones reference seem tokenistic, they sound like genuine fans of Crust Punk , Sludge, Grindcore and Death Metal and have managed to use these influences to create their own sound, and they’re in that zone where they sound like a band hitting their stride. Definitely in my top ten of the year!
Scribed by: Gordon Cameron