Do you like it raw? If you don’t, you should. As noted last week, extreme metal is constantly (and inadvertently) aspiring to castrate itself. The best metal wares are rooted in rebellion and danger, and the more we compress and homogenize the art form, those elements become diluted. The human element is erodes.
Bones are a band comprised of humans. Dirty humans. Angry humans. And they sound like it.
These guys are basically a gnarlier, disgusting-er incarnation of Usurper, the hardscrabble death/thrash unit possibly best known for penning the way-awesome “Kill For Metal” almost ten years ago. But Bones doesn’t deal in strict genre machinations; the music on Sons of Sleaze (their sophomore album and direct sequel to their raw-as-dogballs 2011 debut) rips and tears at convention. Is it death metal? Maybe. Is it crusty as hell? Yep. Does it alternate between Mikkey Dee stomp and brutal bluster with freakish, visceral fluidity? Most definitely. Is the lovably-predictable cover of “Fear of Napalm” worth the price of admission alone? Possibly.
There’s a problem with tacking a classic cover onto the end of a record, though: It can shine an indirect light on the lack of songwriting prowess found on the rest of the album. These three guys are great at wrenching gnarled, hideous sounds out of themselves and filtering it into balls-out rock n’ roll songs, but those songs have a troubling way of running out of stream before their conclusion. Bones are at their best when in full-on rage mode. Examples: The relentless forward charge and rusted-edge breakdowns of “Poisoned Breed” and “Mindfucked”; the thick-skulled crust punk of “647 Bastards”; the old-school swagger of “Suicide.” But mid-paced bop of “Bad Signs” grows laborious before its idiot-savant guitar solo salvation, and even the initially infectious “Suicide” overstays its welcome…and it’s only two-and-a-half minutes long.
Bones is a band that your inner filth mongrel wants to swaddle in bloody rags and keep in the tattered shoebox closest to your heart, but their recklessness ultimately becomes their undoing. The “fuck it” ethos is admirable—and sorely needed in today’s scene—but when it’s compelling you to stretch a ninety-second song into four-minute territory, indulgence crosses the border into gluttony.
As it stands, Sons of Sleaze is merely a background banger; but if Bones return on record number three armed with short, sharp shocks (instead of these stretched-out beer guts), look the fuck out.