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Awaiting Rebirth EP

Blood Harvest (2014)
Rating: 8/10

It’s not often I’ve come across a death metal band hailing from Belgium, but this mysterious quartet caught my attention back in 2013 with their four-track demo. Now the band has returned to the fray with a three-track opus.

Bones boasts the line-up of Stef Aertsen (vocals / guitar), Jeroen De Pauw (vocals / lead guitar), Lukas Huybrechts (bass) and Viktor Walschaerts (drums) who all add their own individual touches to this morbid creation.

With its fusty, mould-covered guitar sound and a drum clatter which sounds as if Viktor Viktor Walschaerts is using human skulls to batter his skins, it was only inevitable that this EP would be a gloomy winner.

The opening title track is a classic slab of infectious and infected old school death metal which successfully melts together the sneering brilliance of Possessed with the carnal delights of early Death, Morgoth and not forgetting the wretched mulch of Autopsy. Where one-minute solos flail wildly to escape the pits of that trampling damp production, next the band slows into a foetid air of suffocating melancholy and dank perseverance which eventually engulfs the listener like some scabby algae. It doesn’t have to be original when it’s of this quality. That opening track just embeds itself into the cranium like a swollen tumour built upon that opening riff of doom and then poisoned by a pace of rattling bass and decrepit vocal burps.

Next up we have another doom-drenched chunk of decaying meat in the form of ‘Blight Upon Sodom’ which begins with a distorted hum and eerie bass trundle before the percussion awkwardly fumbles in like some murderous ogre juggling with severed heads. Again, we’re treated to that stuffy odour of lumbering riffs and drums before the takeover presents a quagmire of clunking drums, throaty vocal yelps and those ever encroaching riffs of doom.

This is a perfect example of how newer bands are, at times, successfully visiting an era in which they may not have originally experienced but clearly they have methodically conjured up the atmospherics and production techniques of that time and injected them with their own clanks of worship. Whether it’s that merging of gore-soaked doom and faster segments of the vile or that guttural vocal belch, it’s just a case of paying homage in truly organic fashion with the result being an entertaining and above all catchy EP that should appeal to many.

With ‘Adulation Of The Spheres’ Bones brings this decomposition to a close, introducing us to a horrid and eerie thunderous plod before the tirade of deathly growls and elephantine riffs come marching through the rivers of mud and blood. Hell, if this had been released between 1989 and 1991 then Bones would most probably now be regarded as one of death metal’s best bands, but as it is now Awaiting Rebirth exists as some sort of pastiche but one which does a fine job of revisiting the rotten days of when death metal ruled our minds. Let’s hope the eventual full-length release is this decayed and stays away from contemporary design.

Neil Arnold

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