28 Dec 2016

Bone Fragments: "Blood Spatter Bone Scatter"

The gimmick is the worst, and the music is almost as terrible. Spoilers.
Through a career spanning eight years Bone Fragments from moonshine country Virginia have produced a few albums of black metal with the theme of... Clowns and carnivals. I could scarcely believe what my eyes beheld in the promo material; A bunch of youngsters in varying degrees of clown-like get up, synth-based metal melodies washing ashore somewhere in the borderland between eerily cheery and creeping melancholy. With an initial reaction something along the lines of "you have got to be kidding me", the circus was on.

If Bone Fragtments' themes are merely a jest, the joke is lost on me. While at a glance the group seems to keep a healthy ironic distance to their material, the amount of work seemingly put into their third album - Blood Spatter Bone Scatter - tells a different story. Carefully curated synthesised ragtimes take the helm while start-stop guitar grooves drunkenly hang around in the back, a few times emerging into overtly melodic solos at random intervals.

"The production job in itself is commendable,"

Should the end goal be to just be different and push around some arbitrary boundaries, then good job, but Arcturus did it better. Bone Fragments tries way too hard and in the process comes off as comically horrendous in concept and execution. The production job in itself is commendable, which again leads me to think that the Virginian group is quite serious about their craft. This just makes their inevitable defeat all the more depressing. Their exploration of a silly gimmick seems to not stem from musical wanderlust as much as it does from a vain attempt at being different for the sake of being different.

Every track is exceedingly long, even when the basic building blocks are so redundant that the composition could have been half the length and still get the idea across. Where do you go when you have no good ideas? Maybe you could come up with a terrible one that is at the very least a bit original - This looks to be Bone Fragments' way. Perhaps they were too hopped up on moonshine to realise that maybe there was a reason no one had made a clown black metal band before, or perhaps they just genuinely thought it would be good or at least funny. You didn't have to make it an hour long. Blood Spatter Bone Scatter is an underground piece best left completely unattended, and perhaps erased from existence. I don't think I take music too seriously, I just think that gimmicks most often just serve as placeholders for actual talent. No thanks.


Released in 2013 independently


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