It’s another album in a sea of death metal. The renaissance of underground death metal in the last few years has been exhilarating to witness as it furrows its way out of the ghastly depths, with allegiances firmly aligned with Necrovore, Order From Chaos or early Incantation.
The flip side of this resurgence though is that now there are so many bands popping up with debut LPs that are “bestial” or what have you, it’s difficult to pluck out the really good ones from others that are essentially hopping on the bandwagon, right? So where do Olympia, Washington’s Bone Sickness fall in this situation?
Bone Sickness are a band that know their strengths and while for some that may seem a little one dimensional, this band of caustic death have simply chosen less messing about and more primitive DM. It’s evidenced straight away by the LP’s running time of less than 20 minutes. Bone Sickness have a certain grindcore influence in their sound, thanks to the many punk and hardcore bands they’ve played alongside in Olympia and throughout Washington. The influence is vague though and buried under the surface, this is still a pure bred DM record, rather the concision and brevity of grindcore has influenced Bone Sickness’ decision to reel in the running time and shoehorn in as much savagery as humanly possible.
After a demo in 2010 and a self-titled EP in 2011, Bone Sickness have really honed in on their brand of death metal, distilling all its strengths and vital components into this album of sonic horror. The concise and judicial song writing on display is quite impressive too. The band knows how to strike the balance between noisy, muddled miasmas and actual songs with riffs. Where some of their contemporaries can drench their barrage in too much reverb at the expense of riffs, and others can pore over a riff, forgetting atmosphere. Bone Sickness have found the nice (sorry, horrific) middle ground.
Despite these measured assaults, the band don’t sound forced in their craft either, which is crucial. It can be easy for a band to focus so much on maintaining a modus operandi that they had in mind, only for the record to lose that natural and spontaneous flair.
It’s an album that still has the bit between its teeth, all made so clear by the wailing introduction of ‘Submit To Decay’ and its swift descend into deathly savagery of searing guitars a la Repulsion and ferocious drumming, or the stab wounds left behind by the knife-edged riffs of, the admittedly clichéd titled, ‘Death and Dismemberment’. Meanwhile vocally, the harrowing, grim barks come only from the abyss and cut through the guitars ruthlessly.
Alone in the Grave is definitely another triumph of death and, most importantly, stands out from the pack above all else.
Alone in the Grave is released April 30th through 20 Buck Spin