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Gnaw the bones! - 85%

dismember_marcin, December 5th, 2013

I wanted to get Bone Gnawer’s “Carved” EP for quite a while now, but somehow couldn’t find it in any of the distros, where I do my metal shopping. Finally I got a nice gift from Rogga Johansson himself, who kindly sent me a copy of “Carved”… and damn, I am happy like a kid, who just got his another toy hehe. But don’t blame me for feeling this way – Bone Gnawer is yet another awesome, awesome band, which this Swedish death metal master of gore is involved in and more so, here he’s been joined by a guy, who’s name must me known to every death metal freak – Mr. Kam Lee! Obviously these two have also one more band, called The Grotesquery and if I can be honest – I just cannot pick up which of these two would be my favourite. From one hand I just love the Lovecraftian, gruesome horror stories of The Grotesquery and “Tales of the Coffin Born” belongs to my favourite death metal records of the decade. But here we have Bone Gnawer, whose “Feast of Flesh” as well as the split CD with Bonesaw are also just truly, truly fantastic… So, if I would have to choose my favourite from these two, then it would be damn impossible choice.

Some moaners may actually say that both bands are very similar and they may even question the point of existence of them both. But I cannot agree with it. Sure, there are many similarities between both Bone Gnawer and The Grotesquery, but already the conceptual lyrical work of Kam Lee makes the difference, as in both bands the lyrics have enormous influence on the sound and the atmosphere of the music. More so, I feel like Bone Gnawer is even more old school than The Grotesquery, going with the music way back to the early 90’s and even late 80’s… and I not only mean death metal, but also a small dose of gore grind. Bone Gnawer perfectly resuscitates the classic death metal sound and playing. For me it could easily have been recorded 20 years ago and I am sure that if it was, then nowadays people would consider it as an eternal classic. Stylistically there are riffs, which remind me Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Pungent Stench, Obituary, Necrophagia, Master, Napalm Death, Grave… Most of that stuff is mid paced, speaking of the tempos, Bone Gnawer rather avoids fast, grinding speed, but for me if the music is slower like this then it is also catchier, more straight forward and totally into the headbanging.

“Carved” is quite special release, as it contains songs from two different recording sessions; first we have two brand new songs, which the band recorded recently and then we can listen to three songs, which were also released as an EP titled “Scissored” (released as a bonus to LP version of “Feast of Flesh”, limited to 99 copies only, so it is really awesome that the band re-released it on CD!). And I guess the only thing, which bothers me a little is a sound difference between both recordings. I mean these new songs don’t sound quite as good and strong as “Scissored” material, they’re kind of more quietly recorded, with more muffled sound, while “Scissored” has really awesome, powerful production similar to the one from “Feast of Flesh” LP. But that’s the only thing, which I don’t like about “Carved”, as musically I cannot say anything bad about any of these songs. They are killer death metal tunes, with some extremely awesome riffs, brilliant vocals of Kam Lee and with the creepy horror gore atmosphere. Sure, probably “Scissored” and “Leave Her to the Cleaver” are my favourite songs, but also “Back to the Butchery” is just fuckin awesome, so… absolutely recommended stuff here! Don’t miss it!
Standout tracks: “Scissored”, “Leave Her to the Cleaver”, “Back to the Butchery”
Final rate: 85/100

Something deadly for everyone - 90%

Pratl1971, January 24th, 2013

When the simplicity of a musical piece is its finest element, you know you have something tangible and memorable. Bone Gnawer has never skimped on the ugly side of death metal, but the latest EP, Carved, is about as sick as anything going, not to mention rife with some potent riffs and truly disgusting vocals and lyrics.

Kam Lee once again provides a tempestuous sprint through the valley of volatility as he belches his way through yet another Bone Gnawer slab of sickness. Proving once again why he's one of the legendary figures in the movement, Lee offers a disturbing narration of hacking, chopping and eviscerating that is sure to leave you somewhat disturbed, and if it doesn't then death metal isn't for you. What I have always liked about Lee is his lyrical approach that doesn't pine away for long diatribes with a nearby thesaurus; his 'short-and-sweet' approach is what makes the EP a piece of deadly brutality. “Leave Her to the Cleaver” is one of Lee's crowning achievements in a long and impressive career, proving that he is very much still viable and busy within the movement.

The battery is provided by Rogga Johansson on guitars and Eazy E on drums, and, as usual, the “Raging Swede” Rogga provides some of the sickest and thickest riffs in any death metal release. Also noted as one of the busiest men in the business, Johansson seems to have the Hell-blessed knack for creating some of the ugliest visuals within his chord structures. The great thing about this EP is the overall malevolence that seems to dwell in the underlying sounds of the music. You can't listen to “Carved” and not visualize some half-clothed female running down a darkened hallway as seen through the eyes of her pursuer, tripping over various debris and obstacles as she vainly attempts to escape her rabid would-be murderer. Part of the mental damage is when you hope she's caught, and you know damn well that she is....

The music Johansson and “E” provide is simply the perfect catalyst for Lee's insatiable thirst for bloody suffering; this is exactly what death metal is supposed to be. The .22 slug analogy applies: Enter quickly, rattle around and do infinite damage, then just drop and be done. When Lee screams, “Back to the butchery--/back for the kill--/back for the slaughter--/I'm back for the thrill--” in “Back to the Butchery” you can't help but believe him. The sickness in each of us, that wanton disregard for normalcy and convention, is a reasonable emotion when engaging something as potent as this in under 15-minutes of infestation.

This is one of the better piles of rotting stench-covered violence I've heard in a while, and I certainly hope for more. Carved is not easily digestible for the fringe kids on the outer skirts; this is true gore and alpha male horror put to music by three fine musicians whose only cares are that you are as innately disturbed after hearing it as they were creating it.

(Originally written for www.metalpsalter.com)