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More horror, more science fiction craziness, and again, more clowns. That's a synopsis of what you're in store for when you pop in 'Dark Amusement'. The crusade of the balloon blowing creepers is at an all time high, as this album is a monsterous step forward for Bone Fragments. There's a practical advancement in almost all sectors of this infant full length. Let us begin..
Bone Fragments has massively improved here. This isn't the same 'Circus Maleficus' Bone Fragments that I reviewed in 2009. This version of Bone Fragments is much more creepy and well produced. In comparison, this album is recorded much better than their debut output. Though, it's not lacking in that creepy vibe either. It's the perfect mix of both worlds; the known and the unknown. The mixing work is also very favorable. It's not every day you hear an underground black metal band with an audible bass guitar. The way everything flows into one mature sound is a massive improvement.
The musicianship is also noticeable. The song writing and ability has apparently gone up since the release of 'Circus Maleficus'. The guitar riffs are dark and dreary and contain an eerie edge to them. Songs like 'Flooded Lung' contain the carnival sound that earlier songs contained, but presented in a much more mature way. Though, you still get to enjoy some nice tremolo riff work as well as some thick, slower paced licks (see 'Clowns in the Sewer'). As I said above, the audibility of the bass guitar works wonders. It chugs along, adding atmosphere where possible (especially in the slow, ballad type moments). The vocal work is also reminiscent of 'Circus Maleficus'. The creaky screams give off a suitable vibe in comparison to what's being played. They remind me still of older Darkthrone works.
There's one last key element that makes this debut such a success. The addition of a drummer to the lineup has automatically made this release better than 'Circus Maleficus'. The music sounds so much more full and real due to his presence. I mean, a drum programmer works and lives up to its purpose, but it can never replace the sound of a real drummer. Cronovras prooves his worth by being able to write solid drum lines and delivering them in a professional way. He's also good with his tempo changing, going in and out of blasts during several songs. The recruitment of this drummer has done wonders for Bone Fragments. I hope they start looking to play live shows, I'd be interested in seeing this band.
Alright, so what are you gaining from buying this album? You're going to get a plethora of well-written black metal. Not only is it well written, it's unique. I don't see very many bands holding such a weird theme so seriously. I'm not one to love/hate clowns, but it's interesting to see so many interpretations. If you were even remotely interested in 'Circus Maleficus' (check my review of that, too) you need to own a copy of this release. It's chock full of Dark Amusement.