Review Summary: Bone Awls R Us
Black metal and punk are two sides of the same rusted coin; almost nobody wants to touch it, but the worth is still there. Though stylistically and idealistically different, at their very core both are institutions of music counterculture. This similarity strengthens how cohesively these two can be paired, not only through musical nuances but also through their sharing of a "f**k you!" attitude.
About as mysterious as it gets, there are three things we know about Black Beasts: they are American, they are a duo, and they absolutely worship Bone Awl. Performing with even more vitriol than the scene leaders, II
violently stumbles through five rituals of grim and hateful raw punk. It takes minimalism to its extremes, where tracks like "I" embody all that blackened punk is about
: filthy three-chord anthems played through blown out speaker. The melodies may wear corpsepaint, but the swagger is all punk. Overall, the sense of compromise between the two is well balanced given the rigid confines of their compositions. "III" opens with a hulking riff reminiscent of early Darkthrone yet also accentuates the inherent punkiness of mid-tempo black metal dirges.
If there is any flaw on II
, it's that some tracks are more blatantly inspired than others. "IV" vocally upholds the singer's great acidic black metal rasp, but musically its uninspired romp falls short. Black Beasts can be summed up as a solid blackened punk band: they play honestly, aggressively, and certainly have their moments, but they are not the best out there. Casual fans of punk and black metal may enjoy this, but II
is really a release for the niche crowd who already enjoy this music.