I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. When it comes to metal, I tend to lean more toward thrash especially if it has a Southern flavor to it. This week's band is not what you would call traditional thrash and it certainly doesn't have a Southern flavor. Boneyard is the band, "Fear Of A Zombie Planet" is the title of the album and grindcore is the name of the game.
To assist me with a proper definition of grindcore, I turned to the world's source for everything, Wikipedia. According to them, "Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding over-driven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks". If wiki is to be believed, Boneyard is most definitely grindcore.
Actually, the cover of "Fear Of A Zombie Planet" calls it "zombie slashing, cannibalized, horror loving, gore drenched, grindeath 'n' roll". I have to say that about sums it up.
If you read my reviews regularly then you know I am not a fan of death metal style vocals. Sure, they have their place and I get what they're trying to accomplish by growling incoherently, but I'm generally not a fan. In this case, however, I may have been converted.
What differentiates Boneyard from other, similar bands are the hardcore style beats. Sure, they have their fair share of blast beats and the like but every once in a while Boneyard nails a hardcore breakdown. In fact, Boneyard may be the truest grindcore band I've ever heard.
I'm not saying "Fear Of A Zombie Planet" is going to be for everybody. It's not. But within the genre, it's a pretty damn good record.
By the way, the cover of this album is pretty cool. Go ahead, scroll back up and take a look at it. I'll wait. It's like a cross between Death's "Leprosy" cover and Queen's "News of the World".
And along with an impressive album cover are some humorous song titles; "All My Friends Are Dead", "Let The Good Times Rot" and "Grind, Death Metal And Beers" just to name a few. I wish I could understand any of the lyrics because I'm sure they're pretty humorous as well. One of the few words I did catch was in the song "Cannibals". I'm sure I heard them say "cannibals". At least I think I did.
As far as the music, it's heavy,it's fast, the songs are short but surprisingly rhythmic. It's everything you would expect from a band called Boneyard and just a bit more.
One of my only criticisms is with the guitar sound, or maybe it's just the sound of the album in general. There's an awful lot of midrange in the guitar sound which would be fine except the bass is also in the midrange and over-driven so the distinction between the two gets muddled quite often. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure Boneyard wasn't looking for a lot of dynamic equalization in their sound.
Sadly, there wasn't a lot of biographical information about the band included in their press kit except to say Boneyard comes "from the sick mind of Noel Kemper" who's previous bands include Gruesome Stuff Relish and Galerna. So, if you're a fan of those bands, you'll certainly want to check out Boneyard.
Because it's a little outside of my wheelhouse I didn't expect to like this album but surprise, surprise, I did. Again, "Fear Of A Zombie Planet" is not going to appeal to everyone but if you're a fan of grindcore then this is a fine example of it. Give it a listen and, whatever you do, watch out for zombies.