Album Review: Bonehunter - Dark Blood Reincarnation System

Updated: Jun 3

"DEVIL METAL PUNK," the band's Bandcamp header declares. Indeed, Bonehunter delivers a dark blend of hardcore punk mixed with blackened thrash and speed metal that shrieks through the speakers like the wraiths of 100 laboratory-grown cybernetic soldiers slain in battle by the marauding minions of Hell. Dark Blood Reincarnation System dispatches each of its audio entries armed with unapologetically lo-fi sonics and underground, old-school grit for one of the most deeply satisfying recordings of its kind.

Following a lone intro track that gives listeners time to securely fasten their heads to their bodies, Bonehunter proceeds to unleash nine eardrum-blistering abominations, each one exploding on the brain like an IED of raw aggression laced with brilliantly low-key melodies and deceptively tactful songwriting.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Bonehunter is the absurdism in their music. From Shagrat's colorful, almost cartoonishly over-the-top cover illustrations to song titles like "Virgin Devil Princess" and "Black Magic M16," it's clear Bonehunter is intent on offering their main dish of audio adrenaline with a side of self-aware humor. It's a welcome change from the overly serious nature of similar acts, and it certainly gives the band their own identity. (The image of the humanoid bear with a throbbing boner on the cover of Sexual Panic Human Machine is an image that will – for better or worse – linger in the memory for a lifetime.)

As for specific songs, there's plenty to dig into. One could tell you all about the raucous energy of "Devil Power Soldier" and its wonderfully turbulent opening rhythm section, the full-speed-or-no-speed verse, and the carefully minimal hook in the chorus. A person could mention the perfectly patient songwriting of "Altered Beast," how its intro is one of the most immediate and accessible moments on the album, and how the guitar solo manages to be humble, efficient, and endlessly engaging. One could even tell you how easy it is to sing along to the chorus in the car like a lunatic. A person might also describe to you the intoxicatingly frenetic pace of "Chromium Death Mechanoid" or the enrapturing guitar lead on "Virgin Devil Princess."

Most listeners could tell you about these things, doing so would be to miss the forest for the trees, or perhaps in this case, the crypt for the corpses. Dark Blood Reincarnation System is a grimly good time from start to finish, and it's best experienced by simply pushing play and letting the complete tracklist carve its way through your skull and into your heart.

Buy Dark Blood Reincarnation System on Bandcamp


Listen to Bonehunter and related artists in my epic Thrash Metal / Speed Metal From The Depths playlist on Spotify