Remember way back when, you and your buddies blew past your horrified parents to troll in your bedroom or basement and crank such decibel-busting offense as MOTÖRHEAD, VENOM, HELLHAMMER, WEHRMACHT or AT WAR? More than likely you had that punk-loving buddy assimilated into your little posse and some GBH, BLACK FLAG or BROKEN BONES was pushed into your listening sessions. Of course, the time invested was void if the MENTORS didn't ooze onto the turntable at some point. Possibly your mob of outcasts was an aspirant band and you filled your parents' house with buzzing mayhem that never quite hit the mark but was more fun than having a makeout partner for "Headbangers' Ball". Of course, the probability of either coming to fruition back in the day (since metal chicks were much harder to find then) was slimmer than being able to replace the starter in your old Escort without bumming some spread.
That seems to be the kick Chicago's BONES is trying to provide with their second album, "Sons of Sleaze". Forget sharp production values. Forget scruples. Demon dicks and insane distortion are all that matter in the greasy microcosm of Jon Necromancer (bass/vocals), Joe Warlord (drums/vocals) and Carcass Chris (guitar/vocals). BONES has a certain appeal for those who are sick and tired of the slick and wired. That is to say, BONES is stripped down and filthy, rawer than a freshly-shucked clam. The guitar solos from Carcass Chris aren't going to make anybody's best-of lists, but they are rowdy enough to flick up the horns to and his partners do their damnedest to produce the most abrasive tones they can churn out.
As individual players, these guys have their act together. Joe Warlord is a really solid drummer and he's more than happy to show you he can smack the hell out of his rolls. Jon Necromancer and Carcass Chris feed their amps the most sickening chords and peals they can imagine, and you can picture them as tighter components in a different band. Together as BONES, though, these guys are committed to maintaining a slopped-down verve at all times.
"13" (what the hell is the obsession with this number in metal music lately?) is a killer collision between MOTÖRHEAD and GBH and untidy as the transitions may be, the choice to drive in one fast gear makes it one of the coolest numbers on "Sons of Sleaze". Better, "13" makes its point at 2:27, a sensible running time which BONES would've done better to adhere to in later spots of the album. "Frozen Vein" and the title track also keep within three minutes and BONES shows they have more in their arsenal with hefting riff patterns and raucous pounding. "Sons of Sleaze" might be considered an anti-AEROSMITH ditty with its thumping blues (blues in a minute sense of the word) groove. Then the 2:10 "1000 Lies" hits both ends of the velocity meter with brain-shaking grind in the beginning, then skidding things down to a section of wah-laced doom. "Suicide" then hits the punk trail once more with a skanking tempo (minus the ska element) and measured shouts.
To their credit, BONES make you believe you have them figured out, but more than halfway through the album, "Maggots" changes up the band's roughneck mosh party with varying death metal modes and tricky tempos that never rocket away, save for Joe Warlord's snazzy head rolls. "Maggots" soon slips into a buzzing jam before the following song "Cold Knife" chucks out a mid-tempo crashing mode that gives Joe Warlord yet another chance to exhibit his swift fills, while the huffing riffs around him sound like a methodic lube job up the chute.
Afterwards, "Mindfucked" goes absolutely bonkers and here, BONES' intentionally chaotic pigswills get drawn out with constant changes between battering grind and bobbing slap modes. The four minute song would've been better served pared down by two, honestly. "647 Bastards" at least picks a blazing thrash tempo and sticks to it for most of the ride, even if the song grows mucky before allotting for a woofing breakdown. The album is rounded by a cover of TERRORIZER's "Fear of Napalm", totally unnecessary, to be honest, but at least BONES does a cool, if fuzz-drowned take.
By the time of this cover, the album should've long been over in order to leave a suitable impression. In other words, the bare bones (pun intended) ethos of these guys is admirable, appreciated, even. Metal music has gotten so consumed with finesse it's nice to hear a band rip the sound down to its primary layer of skin and then prick the raw nerve beneath as BONES does. "Sons of Sleaze" sounds pissed off every minute of the way, yet there needs to be a limit to some of the later songs in order to uphold the proper impact.
Bouncing around in theories at times undoes the core principal BONES is running straight to the razor's edge with. "Poisoned Breed" is one of the exceptions. It's such a stinking mess and yet it's one of the album's scorchers even with the gradual slowing process in the final minute. Much of "Sons of Sleaze" does kick ass and once BONES learns to cut to the choice portions with some of their gruesome meat slabs, they'll become one of the deadliest acts in the metal underground.