It's with a reasonable amount of enthusiasm that I post about the latest vinyl offering from Olympia's Bone Sickness. Regular readers of this blog will know just how overly, and perhaps obsessively (Strange Obsession?) fond I am of the band and their brand of scrappy, deranged, trend dodging American Death Metal. I hold no doubts that those sharp on the trail have likely read in many places in the last few weeks various websites likening the band to a decent take on Michigan's Repulsion, and I'd certainly have to agree with those comparisons. They certainly don't utilise the discipline of the blast beat as much as that crucial American grind band, but they definitely bear many similarities in general aural approach and depth. With this new 12" EP of theirs, "Alone In The Grave", pressed by 20 Buck Spin, they have managed to ever so slightly pull away from the stark Autopsy parallels that I have recognised in the past also, though I suspect that the recording qualities put down here, thanks solely to one of the bands guitarists, Rusty, have a lot more to do with that than anything intentional during the writing process. The main culprit I suspect is the mix used with Mitch's vocals. They're way in the back, drowned heavily by the guitars and recording hiss, and as a result they're severely impacted. On the demo, his pipes were still developing, but by the time the bands debut 7" from 2011 reared it's festering head, they had hit a pretty amazing peak, bearing many similarities in scope and range to those of Chris Reifert. I've struggled to really hear anything on this record that's comparable in terms of bone shaking power that his work on the 7" induced. His kick drum also suffers the same fate, which is completely bearable, but note worthy none the less. In contrast, to my knowledge, Sam's vocals get their first proper recording here on the title track, and they're unbeatable. His deep, guttural gurgle dominates the entire song; a total droning, low tempo doom fest. It rarely climbs beyond a crawl and it's probably the highlight of the album. The band have gone on record to state that they will never write a song this slow again. Another slight disappointment (for me anyway) is the fact that of the seven songs presented here, two of them have already seen the light of day once in the form of the bands fantastic demo tape from 2010.
I love this band, I've made that quite clear, and regardless of the faults I've pointed out previously, I love this record. They have a new 7" due on Iron Lung Records due before the end of the year, and obviously I'm really looking forward to it.