If you think about it, Death Metal is a pretty broad term covering hundreds of loosely connected bands. Growled or gurgled or screamed vocals over the top of blast beats and shredding guitars. That about sums it up right? Only to the untrained ear. But even to the untrained ear every now and then there comes along a band that stands out enough to differentiate themselves from all the competition. Enter Washington’s Bone Sickness.
If you had no previous knowledge of this band upon first listen, you may guess two things incorrectly: 1) That this album was recorded in the early 90’s, and 2) that it was recorded somewhere in the depths of Sweden. Both of those false assumptions are really compliments of the highest order. Bone Sickness are able to turn back the clock on their brand of death metal hearkening back to the heydays of bands like Carnage, Dismember and American acts such as Autopsy and Repulsion without sounding like a band simply trying to rip off their heroes. These guys have captured the soul and essence of death metal from whence it came. That’s a tall order for any band, but mission accomplished here. Saying that they sound more like their Swedish brothers in metal arms should not be taken as a slight to any other geographic brand of death metal, but instead a tip of the hat to what those Swedish pioneers were latching on to. Although Bone Sickness doesn’t mimic that “buzzsaw” sound so prevalent in the early days of the Swedish scene, they are able to solidify the intensity of a lot of their songs with sick punk-infused riffs in that a lot of the Swedish bands perfected.
It’s somewhat hard to believe that this album, Alone In The Grave, is a debut. This band sounds more like an outfit that’s been churning out the brutality for a long, long time. Regardless, Bone Sickness have been able to take a genre that has a penchant for growing somewhat stale rather quickly, if not done properly, and really giving a fresh breath. (Or is that supposed to be a putrid breath?) There isn’t a weak track on this album and even nominal fans of death metal should find themselves ready to rage when it’s all said and done.
Coming out of the ashes of seminal Boston hardcore/crust outfit, Disrupt, was a doom band way ahead of their time (at least here in the States) – Grief. It’s almost criminal that this band is not talked about in the same circles as their doom contemporaries. I highly suggest you revisit their classic album Torso and see for yourself.