Bone Awl - ...So, I Must Take From the Earth (Hospital Productions 2x7")

"...And Make it My Own" is how the title concludes on the backside of the cardboard fold-over housing these two 7"s. This is apparently a reissue of a cassette released by Hospital Productions some time last year that must've flew under everybody's radar since the only mention I can find of it concerns its release on the choice double 7" format. And I thought I was pretty good at picking up on new Bone Awl stuff - still so much to learn for a young grasshopper. If you don't know Bone Awl by now then you haven't been doing your reading - heavily lauded by the pages of any zine/distro/rag that's ever heard em (yours truly especially), they're a two-man black metal/punk/noise outfit with the two dudes running the show operating under the names He Who Gnashes Teeth and He Who Crushes Teeth. Aww shit. Their take-no-prisoners No Fun '06 performance converted a great deal into believers but they've still kept it on the down-low, sticking to tapes and extremely limited vinyl runs as their format of choice. I'm not sure just how limited this one is, but my recommendation is to act fast. As usual.
Bone Awl's M.O. is laid out as soon as your needle hits the groove on side A, containing the two tracks "It Must Be" and "On Black Mountain". We're talking a veritable blast of horribly-recorded, down-tuned, basement/garage-birthed blackened sludge. You know that old black metal joke about bands recording on equipment as lo-fi as sonically plausible? No shit...these tracks sound like they were recorded on an answering machine. It's perfect! It makes the group's signature buzzsaw riffs all the more lethal and the vocals come through like transmissions stabbed into your synapses. Even the drums sound like a muffled, distant rumble. It's a black metal mulligan stew and it's delicious. The riffs are Bone Awl's signature low-slung mangled ineptitude/brilliance at play. The flip is a side-long (that means 3 or 4 minutes max) scourge dubbed "Black Kali Bride", rife with more endlessly repeating rffs and near-inaudible, anthemtic growls/barks. And it's catchy, above all else. No shit.
Side C (or side one on vinyl number two) is my favorite, though I'm not sure it's for the right reasons. It's one song ("Offering to Me") and it's a totally disorienting act because the repeato-riffs spin in and out of tune lazily, slower and faster seemingly at random, as if the vinyl itself is warped. Maybe it is? I tried checking it out but nope, I don't think so. There's this mind-blistering part where the guitar swirls out completely and Bone Awl lurch into a slow, punk rock reaching breakdown before they bring it all back for the epic, fist-chucking finale. I've had that recent Wire (name-checked three times for one issue? Say whaaat?) primer about Texan hip hop on the brain lately, and "Offering to Me" is an el primo purple drank/DXM qualifier. Intentional or not. Side D concluder brings "Veins", a play-as-fast-as-possible finger-bleeding blur/wraith featuring perhaps the most indistinguishable vocals yet, you have to turn the volume up to almost unbearable levels before you can even start picking at what's what. The ever-present spiked guitar tone and all-systems-go drumming rapidly blends together into sheer noisician furor...only five songs at about 2-3 minutes apiece and I'm still spent.
If you're a fan of anything bearing the Bone Awl logo like me, this is indispensible. But if you're only curious, I'd recommend starting with the "Bog Bodies/Magnetism of War" LP reissue on Goatowarex, if you can still find it. Sonically, "...So, I Must Take From the Earth" rings closer to their "Up to Something" cassette which is one of my absolute faves anyway. The packaging on this one is pretty great too in its own filthy way, including all over (inside + out) drawings of various stabbings/mutations, not to mention a Xeroxed 8.5"x11" insert with lyrics (!). Hey, it's more than we usually get...and now you can throw that Bone Awl karaoke party I've always dreamed of.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Second favourite black metal band I have heard this year (which I found out about through this blog!) after Wolves in the Throne Room. And I would just like to make the obvious qualifying statement that each is a case of using the production values to enhance the experience: Bone Awl's poor production is the natural way to accentuate the "grimy" aesthetic which the bands crafts whereas Wolfs are evidently a different style and eschew the trappings of the conventional black metal productions standards, which is ideal as the band don't create the atmosphere to which poor production is suited.

12/12/2006 1:26 AM  
Blogger Outer Space Gamelan said...

Indeed, both bands are great...I hear Wolves' sophomore LP is due in early '07, can't wait for that although they'll be hardpressed to top "Diadem".

12/13/2006 1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

myspace sez

Winter Comes...A New Record from Wolves in the Throne Room

Fall is here, the land prepares to lay fallow while men gather 'round the fire to sing songs to ward off the chill.

Wolves in the Throne Room are currently writing material for a new album to be recorded on the eve of Yule. The new album will most likely be released by Southern Lord, Spring 2007 with a tour to follow.

12/14/2006 10:47 PM  
Blogger Outer Space Gamelan said...

Thanks for that, I thought I heard something to the effect of SL releasing their new album...aren't they doing a 2LP reissue of "Diadem" too? Man, that album was MADE for the 2LP format...

12/15/2006 12:45 AM  

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