Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bonehunter - Turn Up the Evil EP (2012)

Bonehunter: now there's a name which should inspire some dread, whether or not you're a Steven Erikson fan or you just haven't got the desire to wind up a trophy for some cannibals after they steam your flesh off your skeleton and devour you. True to the title of this EP, and their chosen moniker, these Finns play a brand of blackened, snarling thrash sauteed in heaps of lewdness, occult innuendos and sexual carnage. The brash, primitive nature of the writing brought me back to the first time I heard groups like Impaled Nazarene or Abigail, with a clear punk inspiration in the riffing progressions, but a production scheme and caustic, rasping vocals that clearly belong to a black metal influence.

Turn Up the Evil is short and to the point, opening up with a pair of nymphomaniac witches chanting some laughable erotic ritual rhyme before the repulsive propulsion of the guitars kicks in. Drums are kept pretty simple with a punked up pummeling redolent of Venom, and the chords flow along like dirty bodily fluids dripping off a goat carcass roasting on a spit in Hell. Love the reverb to the vocals, and how they sneer menacingly and atmospherically above the more street-level, straightforward music. Bass is kept in line with the guitar patterns, to be expected in this niche, but like Japan's Abigail, the joy is in the Finns' raw and primitive approach to songwriting. It invites no nuance. It gives no shits about technicality or flair. The lyrics are hilariously smutty and direct, bordering on misogyny but much less lasciviously refined as an album like Latex Cult. Lines like 'I want to lick your cunt so bloody!' and 'ram through their hymen with supremacy' are pretty common here, so if you've not got the stomach for a ballistic, evil orgy then I doubt this will hold much attraction. Then again, the title track is more or less just a tribute to the band's influences...

The group basically moves at two tempos, a steady mid-paced rocking hybrid of punk and thrash/crossover, and then a more uptempo hardcore velocity, and they tend to drift between the two. They don't use a lot of muting in the riffs, and where they do it's usually some breakdown intended to make the listener go nuts and start shit kicking people with his spiked boots. Surprisingly, the most metallic ingredient on the EP are the evil sounding harmonic leads strewn out over various bridge rhythms, which I was surprised by. Not because they are necessarily the greatest solos, but because often bands of this ilk are all too rhythm oriented and eschew the practice altogether. It gives me the sense that Bonehunter would be capable of a more distinctly 'musical' aim if they so chose, but it just doesn't fit their modus operandi. Turn Up the Evil isn't so refined and riff based as a Bewitched or Witchery, but if you love pussy, ass, grime, blood, splatter and cheesy Satanic lyrics, and you enjoy a marathon of old Onslaught, Bathory, Venom, Possessed and so forth, then there's a very base charm to this music which I simply cannot deny, even if it's been done many times.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10] (spare no man, spare no child, spare no woman)

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