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High-brow concept from metal's most primitive band - 90%

iamntbatman, November 20th, 2009

Bone Awl's second demo and follow-up to debut EP Night is Indifferent is a concept album of sorts, with the three shorter tracks focusing on the possible events surrounding the deaths of three notorious "bog bodies," human corpses found in an unusual state of preservation in peat bogs. The importance of this recurrent theme on this release is...wait a minute. No, actually, the "concept" doesn't really matter at all on Bog Bodies, as not a single word of the lyrics can be deciphered at any point and nowhere on the release do Bone Awl let such grandiose lyrical and thematic content stand in the way of their trademark blackened punk onslaught.

The riffs are what we've come to know and love from Bone Awl: simple, fast three or four chord punk affairs bashed out with unparalleled enthusiasm. The word "primitive" gets thrown around quite a bit when describing this band and in this case, the description is completely apt. The guitar and bass blend together into a throaty growl with plenty of overdrive. Instead of the usual blend on extreme metal records where the guitar's low end is so thick that the bass gets lost in it, this mishmash is sort of the other way around; it sounds more like power chords being played on a distorted bass than anything else, though sometimes the feedback from the lead guitar shrieks out in bleeding-ear devastation (the bit on "Lindow Man" is particularly headache-inducing/awesome) to remind you that there's more than one stringed instrument on display here.

The drums and vocals are, well...they're Bone Awl, ladies and gentlemen. The drums are just as basic and punky as ever before (and since) and refrain from even the conservatively used blasting found on the first demo. He Who Gnashes Teeth has his completely indecipherable yet searing black metal shrieking on proud display.

The production is raw as always but never covers up the instrumentation or vocals with obtrusive noise. Particular things to note about this release are the inclusion of the "Lindow Man" track, rendering the re-recorded single version of that song obsolete. The final track on the demo, "Vivatulet," is, at over eleven minutes long, over half of the entire running time of this release. Unlike "Noise of Bears Killing" from the first demo, this one is actually interesting in its plodding doom. It's simple and enjoyable, but it would be even better with the inclusion of some trademark Bone Awl vocals. Bone Awl "epics" tend to be uninteresting enough to be skip-worthy but I actually quite like this song, even if it is essentially eleven minutes of variations on a single riff theme until the insane noise freakout at the end. This is a solid release from the band, for sure.