Bone Awl - The Lowest Road - (7.5/10)
Published on February 14, 2018
When I first stumbled across The Lowest Road, my initial reaction was, “Hot damn! Bone Awl is finally making new music again!” Apparently, though, these tracks were recorded in 2013 and meant to be used on an upcoming album. Since that album hasn’t come yet, they’ve been released as an advanced demo to showcase what the future holds. Really, I’m not quite sure how to take that, as these tracks were already four years old at the time of their release, but it’s irrelevant if they’re actively writing and recording at the moment, because it’s still new music from Bone Awl.
The Lowest Road doesn’t deviate from that classic Bone Awl sound we’ve come to expect. Extremely lo-fi recording with an endearing sloppy, bass heavy sound and thick, overly distorted punkened black metal riffing. While the production isn’t the worst in the band’s history, it is still clearly intoned with a raw demo sound. The guitars and loud bass are in the forefront while the drums stay smooshed into the rear, which has always been one of my biggest complaints on Bone Awl’s releases. The vocals are also disturbingly muddled in the background, more often than not only sounding like garbled static that can barely be heard over the din. Certain portions do lose a bit of steam, like the rather boring, rumble, clang, and tremolo of “Middle God”, but things do stay pretty energetic throughout.
That being said, the riffing on The Lowest Road is extremely catchy, with it’s sloppy punk structuring and distorted black metal bent. These tracks offer some of my favorite Bone Awl riffs since 2007’s Meaningless Leaning Mess, but, honestly, the stretch of releases between then and now has not been exactly stellar. Anyways, it’s Bone Awl doing what Bone Awl has done since forming; playing sloppy, lo-fi, punk-tinged black metal in the vein of Ildjarn and Gandr. Nothing groundbreaking, but it’s not meant to be.