Old Bones – Sleepwalker

They call it ”powerslop deathrock”, we call it rapaciously virulent rock ‘n’ roll but however you wish to tag the sound of Old Bones, it makes for one very satisfying and rousing time within their debut EP, Sleepwalker.

Hailing from Long Island, New York, Old Bones is a trio consisting of guitarists/vocalists Anthony Dallolio and Johnny Dadabo, and bassist/vocalist Dan Walsh. Emerging from two decades plus of friendship and finding the last incentive to finally be serious about the project after watching a Mastodon/Opeth show, the band has spent the past two and a half years “writing, rewriting, revising, scrapping, starting over and writing songs until our fingers bled and our throats were shot. These five songs represent our literal blood, sweat, and tears to tell stories ranging from extra-terrestrials to loneliness and grief, and every note is a piece of our soul screaming to be heard.” It is a suggestion that nothing was left at the table by the time the EP was borne and listening to its stomping quintet of tracks that physical intensity alone is unmistakable.

Fusing various metal and heavy rock essences with a mischievous imagination, Old Bones spring a sound which demands attention. Familiarity aligns with individuality throughout, the latter the freshest and most captivating aspect of a sound which is as contagious a trespass as you would wish for. There are at times moments which feel like they organically burst free even catching the band unawares but only add to the great unpredictability and enterprise striking ears.

Enlisting drummer Griffin McCarthy (Letter of Marque) for its recording at Vudu Studios, with Walsh a later addition to the mix, Sleepwalker immediately set about the senses with opener Elegy. Its thick melodic opener carries temptation and threat, its amble through ears as menacing as it is inviting. Raw throated vocals ride the grooved lines soon sparking a keen appetite while the following clean vocals make for an equally potent aspect, the mix of feral and warmly catchy swiftly captivating and addictive. There is plenty more going on though; virulent hooks and skilled melodic trails rising up as keenly as predacious riffs and punchy rhythms.

The impressive start continues with INVADERS which straightaway has ears in the palms of its hands as grunge and punk essences infest alternative rock bred agility. Again the untamed instincts of the band are bold and gripping, the song unapologetically infectious and just as pungently aggressive while taking favourite track honours before the EP’s title track muscularly ambles in. McCarthy’s rhythms gripped ears and appetite from its first breath, equally carnal riffs a welcome treat before melody rich imagination weaves another enterprising tapestry of temptation and surprise while extreme and progressive metal traits only add to the drama and incitement.

Colossus and Sights & Sounds / Electric Frankenstein bring even greater flavour and variety to the release; the first wild and ferocious rock ‘n’ roll at its core engaging with a host of just as voracious flavours and skilfully nurtured sonic flirtation. It too emerged a major favourite moment within Sleepwalker while close behind, the latter of the pair strolls the heaviest landscapes of rock and grooviest plateaus of metal to spring a Black Tusk meets Mastodon meets Tool like incitement.

Both provide ears, as the EP overall, with a tide of aspects to greedily dine on and as great a bundle of reasons to eagerly recommend Old Bones and their Sleepwalker.

Sleepwalker is out now; available @ https://oldbonesny.bandcamp.com/releases


Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

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Ursa Major: Old Bones

ursa major

    An up and coming melodic post-hardcore band, Ursa Major easily justifies the buzz around them with the release of their album Old Bones. Whilst a release which suggests there is still plenty of scope for the band to explore as they  fully find a distinct voice in the genre, the album is an enterprising and aggressive encounter which leaves a strong depth of satisfaction behind.

The Shepperton quintet with their imposing blend of metal and hardcore veined by skilfully sculpted melodic fire has earned strong reputation for their debut EP and live performances alongside the likes of Brotherhood Of The Lake, Golden Tanks, Our People Vs Yours, Terakai, I’ll Stay In Memphis, and Despite My Deepest Fear as well as at festivals such as Redfest. Their sound is flush with many vigorous flavours honed into an inciting and rampaging confrontation rife with compelling and incendiary rewards. Old Bones is the likely trigger to a wider awareness for the band and one suspects the first prominent step in their emergences as a force within the UK scene.

Out of the decent enough brief instrumental introduction Birth, a track which leads with craft and appetite into what is to follow, 601359_10151342907371234_1539527106_nBlack Lights instantly grabs potent attention and intrigue with crisp sinewy rhythms, a tight provocative groove, and the brawling coarse scowls of Elliott Fletcher. It is an impressive start with the rhythms of drummer Dan Mundy rigidly gripping the ear so the guitars of Richard Woods and Grant Marsh can unleash their sonic flames and ravenous riffs. It is the clean vocals of Fletcher though which elevate song and release in to something a little special from the rest of the similarly fuelled bands around, and alongside an open imagination and invention to the sound and songwriting, it makes for an impressive and thrilling introduction to the band.

The following ravage of passion The Two Hundred, is a captivation of melodic fire and carnal riffs. The bass of Phil Nicholls offers a resonance which prowls the senses within the again caustic embrace of the track and ill-tempered vocals. As the first song the clean vocals shine and the equal sharing of vocal extremes is certainly a highlight of song and album, their potency as vibrant as the earnest and intelligently crafted sounds. Lyrically songs are dark and demanding, intrusive companions to bring an intense union to the exhausting element of their sound and none more so than the excellent Dead Eyes. The track gnaws at the senses with grinding riffs and exhausting rhythms creating an instant submission before its power whilst rewarding endurance with rewards of again an exceptional mix of vocals and emotive heat. Primarily a metalcore gaited slice of sonic blistering, the song alone sets the band up as ones to watch very closely and within the release is the biggest highlight of many.

Through current single Fist Of The Fleet, Ursa Major scrape and burn the already in place wounds but then soothes them with immense vocal harmonies and elegant melodies. As evocative as it is harassingly brazen, the track is another powerful and thrilling bruise upon the passions to strengthen the already brewed respect and eagerness towards the band.

Though the album slips below its high standards with the arguably formula Anchored and Clipped Wings, two accomplished and pleasingly inventive and smartly-shaped songs which simply fail to spark the responses of previous songs or step far enough away from efforts by other bands, Old Bones ends on a high with In Death, a final brutal self-reflection dripping emotion and creative energy.

Old Bones is a rich and contagious release where vocals and musical imagination stands out. Ursa Major is on a certain rise and as one suspects they are only scratching the surface of their invention and ideas the future is exciting for them and us.



RingMaster 15/03/2013

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