By Dr. Abner Mality

Usurper used to be one of the kings of Chicago metal, if not THE King. This mighty band unleashed a torrent of molten death/thrash over the course of 5 albums before expiring in 2007. Their demise left a huge gap to be filled in the Chicago metal scene. A gap that is now filled with a mountain of BONES!

Bones is a diabolical trio composed of three ex-Usurpers, bassist/vocalist Jon Necromancer, guitarist Carcass Chris and drummer Joe Warlord. Not only do they do the legacy of Usurper proud, they come pretty close to surpassing it with this absolutely crushing debut. Chalk up another winner for Planet Metal Records...this label has yet to make a misstep. With Bones, we have a band that is raw, angry and oldschool to the core, a band that worships daily at the Church of Venom and bends knee at the altar of Celtic Frost. If anything, they're even more stripped down and visceral than Usurper, with no fat to be trimmed and no bullshit. Let me state right now that Jon Necromancer's bass guitar tone is UNHOLY! Not since the early days of Napalm Death have I heard such an overwhelmingly thick and massive sounds like it comes right out of a concrete mixer. It's all that Carcass Chris can do not to be totally washed away by this subsonic beast...but he handles the job manfully with a pretty vicious tone himself. Not to mention cutting loose with some surprisingly rock and roll, Motorhead-ish guitar solos. Necromancer's vocals are also perfectly suited to the in your face nature of Bones' music and Warlord's drumming is a booming analog cannon blast.

This gruesome sucker blasts off with "March of the Dead", which will leave you dizzy with aggression. It's a great introduction to Bones, but second cut "Bloodlust" is where they really pull out the stops...riffs, riffs and more fuckin' riffs to annihilate the brain. That's top track, but "Bitch" shows no mercy and then the band covers "Apocalyptic Warlord" by cult Chi-town thrashers Devastation. A very nice tip of the war helmet to the forefathers! From there, the band kind of slows down, but the power does not slack, mostly due once more to the ungodly power of Necromancer's bass. "Good Die Young" and "Slowburn" are mid-paced stompers before "Lonely Death" kicks things up a notch again with a Venom "Black Metal kind of attack. The album ends with the peculiar "666", which almost shows progressive tendencies in its second half, and "Delirium Tremens". I have to say the first four songs were the best but Bones stays remarkably heavy and brutal over the course of the album.

This is a breath of foul, fetid air from the graveyard! Outstanding debut! Usurper is dead! Long live BONES!