Among all the death metal variants, bands that infuse crust elements into death metal are some of those that tend to attract me the most, incorporating some form of simplicity and raw energy of crust with the heaviness and brutality of death metal. Bones is Illinois’ Bones‘ debut full length album, and from the start to the end of the album, the band promises a fun ride of a fusion of these 2 musical styles.
With March of the Dead, the playing style of the band is immediately apparent. Unlike most of their death metal counterparts, the drumming on the album stands out with the constant d-beats that are present. Furthermore, guitarist Chris often unleash riffs that would also sound fit for a punk or thrash metal record, sounding frantic and chaotic at the same time, yet managing to sound natural throughout, and this not only makes Bones an easy listen for those looking to transit into more extreme forms of metal, but also helps in making the release an extremely fun listen. The usage of a lone guitar, without a rhythm guitar at the background during the guitar solos help in bringing about a somewhat old-school vibe and charm to the music, and more chaotic guitar solos like those on Apocalyptic Warrior would instantly bring bands like Slayer to mind. Vocalist/bassist Jon utilises death growls, but along with his lead vocal lines, the rest of the band also at times join in with shouting vocals at the background.
The song structures of most of the tracks are also extremely straightforward, with the presence of many fist-pumping, sing-along and memorable moments like on March of the Dead and Bitch. The sheer energy of the band is clearly audible, on more aggressive tracks such as Bloodlust, and shows the band moving full-speed ahead, and drummer Joe unleashes all his fury on tracks like these, and at times, the riffing on this track almost wanders into a slightly black metal territory. Songs like Apocalyptic Warrior and Lonely Death border on crossover/thrash metal territory, further displaying the influences that Bones has included in their songwriting.
The album is not a complete blast-fest though as the band incorporates slower and quieter moments, like on Bitch, though this does not mean that the band has toned down, with the ominous feedback of the guitars at the background leaving a sense of unease in the listener. It is also on moments like these that the bass of Jon is finally given space to breathe, as it tends to get buried under the other instruments most of the time. As an album though, Bones has certainly managed to provide a nice balance between all the different aspects that make a good album, making this an extremely enjoyable one.