Stoner rock is a surprisingly broad genre, with no two bands sounding exactly the same. Scratch that latter part – there are of course hundreds of bands that sound exactly the same, but it is the case that there is a surprising variety in the field. Germany’s Bone Man, whose latest opus III is about to hit the shelves on April 22nd, is one point in case. While there are plenty of tropes from the genre to be found, the overall style and energy is still very much one quite unique to the band.
With the heaviness of Sasquatch, the lively rock’n roll feeling of Orange Goblin and the fuzz of Sleep, there are plenty of roots in stoner history to be found here. III offers much else, though, which is what makes the album so interesting. There’s melancholic melodies peppering what could otherwise have been a rather dreary affair – the opening guitar lines and riffs of “These Days Are Gone” are nothing short of beautiful, and makes you want to drink in the woods with all friends while moping about how shit everything becomes as soon as you leave your teens. “Incognito” is simply so great you’ll have to check it out yourself.
The production is spectacular – while the fuzz laden guitars keep the slightly underground feeling alive, the supporting instruments are all very clear and well balanced, which summons a balance of rawness and professionalism which serves the music superbly well. When the guitars go all in, this is a fuzzy mess of high quality stoner, when they tone it down a notch, crisp bass and drums remind you that these guys (and their producer) know exactly what they are doing.
To describe the emotional impact of this album the only comparison this reviewer feels is adequate is The Sisters Of Mercy’s First and Last and Always. That is not in reference to the sound, even if the guitars and at times even the vocals do have a certain early Sister-vibe. Instead, it is a matter of tone and atmosphere. There’s a bitter sweet quality to III, something that places it far beyond most other stoner albums as far as artistic merit goes. Naivety and cynicism intertwine, and something amazing grows from their union. III is hereby added to this reviewer’s ever growing summer porch drinking music list.
Pre-orders of III are already available from label Pink Tank Records, and at least one format is already sold out. Make sure to grab yourself a black vinyl, or perhaps simply the CD, and check out the band’s Facebook page for news on their extensive touring.