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Review: 'BONE ZENO'
'Black Milk'   

-  Label: 'Impression recordings'
-  Genre: 'Punk/New Wave' -  Release Date: '29th September 2017'-  Catalogue No: 'IMPCD02'

Our Rating:
This is Bone Zeno's debut album in this new solo guise, though he's previously been in among other bands The Parkinsons and D-66 and having grown up in Germany he's now based in London or wherever the music takes him.

Opener 2 The Bone makes it clear that Bone Zeno has some real anger and bile to spit at us. It reminds me of James Leg and The Sea Hags, but it really isn't either of those things, well maybe close lyrically to Too Much T-Bone, but it's a dark, dank pounding blues blasted through an almost SST style hurricane of guitars.

U Fuck Me is almost a mutant skinhead anthem to both sex and violence with an urgency and bile that makes it both frightening and intriguing in how it encapsulates the despair of not knowing if you'll end up fucking or fighting or descending into some other well of darkness. Or perhaps the musical well of darkness in the middle break as all the nastiness leads to the howls of "You fuck me you fuck me up!" and chaos consumes him.

Ashn Skin is based on the poetry of Paul Celan: a German Romanian Jew whose parents died in the Holocaust and the song is a dark, despairing look at the constant pain they need to be rid of that. It will need a good few listens to let it get totally under your skin as he relates the tale of how the skin turns to ash. This is as moving a song about this emotive subject since Towering Inferno's Kaddish came out and it's set over a gentle pulsing guitar and suitably sparse backing.

Ride On is sort of an elegy for Bone Zeno's dad and his life as a German war survivor and in later life his multiple heart attacks. It's sung and spat at us over a darkened blues rock rumble akin to the type of thing Left Lane Cruiser play only the lyrics takes this some place far darker than they ever go and is far better for it.

Get Me Down has that blues rumble that James Leg and the North Mississippi Allstars channel so well. This is certainly equal to them and, well, you ain't gonna get Bone Zeno down.I really like the guitar bursts in the middle; the sign in general feels like you're strutting down a particularly dark street with him after yet another bad break-up...

Drink is a desperate tale of the effects of too much booze. This has a little of the Screaming Jay Hawkins meets Tom Waits thing going on as he tells us to drink it on down and the music descends into the chaos caused by the alcohol. As the tale hits the Reeperbahn at 9.30am and he's stil in need of more drink you know this is heading to the gutter. Or worse.

Black Bones feels like a shout in the dark plea for some sort of salvation that he knows can only come from within. But is he prepared to find it or will he keep on screaming into the void instead?

Dirt Road starts off like an old Junior Kimbrough tune and has a slow chug to it which requires the guitar stabs and explosions to get it to a different place right down the far old of that old Dirt road.<

Nickedgod opens like it wants to be the Birthday Party and then hammers home its insistent beat and then sort of dissolves before coming back in full force to sledgehammer the song into your head like a post hardcore Captain Beefheart.

Caroline opens by nicking generously off of Golden Earring and all the bluesmen they were nicking from themselves to make yet another great song named Caroline. I'll leave it to your ears to decide if he was happy or sad about Caroline, but either way it's a cooking if very familiar-sounding distorted blues rock song.

The album closes with Bleed - in effect The Stooges on speed at the start as it shakes and shatters the peace as he's going to bleed. This is the sound of the pain and blood gushing out forever more as that relationship has just split asunder.

This is a great dark and bruising album that you can find out more about it at: Bone Zeno online

Bone Zeno Facebook page
  author: simonovitch

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BONE ZENO - Black Milk