After a number of EPs, splits and demos (and one minor lineup tweak), Bonehunter finally released their debut LP (must have been highly anticipated), Evil Triumphs Again, in 2015. That album, although by no means perfect, set the stage for the Finnish trio. It portrayed a band steeped in 70s metal, simple thrash classics, Motörhead and, more than anything else, punk rock, particularly of the “garage” nature. Now, in 2017, the band has released their sophomore LP, Sexual Panic Human Machine, and, although it also suffers from a few minor setbacks, it’s overall very much a step forward for these hell-bent, bonerific, sex-punk thrash-deviants.
I’ll admit, when I first saw the cover, with a galactic bear rocking a throbbing erection, apparently stepping through a portal into a room of demons that are floored by the girth, length and erectness of this bear’s member, an alien skeleton being autopsied and enough alien fetuses in tanks to make Mulder erect, I was a bit put off. The intro did nothing to assuage those fears. Just looping a woman’s voice saying ”sexual assault” over a simple noise track was similarly off-putting. But, luckily for all of us, I stuck with it. And what followed was an album that generally rips, doesn’t step on the toes I expected to be crushed and, in the end, provided a pretty damn rockin’ experience throughout.
Sure, there can be a few drawbacks. Some of the tracks are simply too long. With Sexual Panic Human Machine roughly thirty-eight minutes, it’s apparent that Bonehunter’s wheelhouse would be somewhat shorter than that. Perhaps closer to the roughly thirty-minute run time of their debut LP. “Doom Desire” and the Intro could easily be done away with entirely. Then you hack a few minutes off the bridges on “Enter the Satan’s Dimension,” “Devil Science” and “Digital Evil” and you’ve got a near perfect crossover thrash/punk album to smash beers to.
Release date: 8/4/2017
Label: Hell’s Headbangers
Tracks like “Digital Evil” are on their more aggressive end of the spectrum. Think of it as a great song to drive around town to. You can wave at people, show off your leather jacket, shine your rims and do a few burnouts in parking lot of your local bowling alley. The track has a great punk-rock staccato feel supporting layered vocals and a distortion level generally associated with 80s punk. “Electric Nightmare” on the other hand, is a bit more surf-rock tune with the drummer laying on the ride cymbal over a single-note guitar lead. The bass intro even brings to mind early Misfits tracks. What results is a punk track reminiscent of the garage-funk movement championed by The Mummies.
“Devil Science” has the most throwback vibe hailing a doomier, 70s feel on the intro and a pure 70s style of “Motörhead meets Led Zeppelin-on-crack” throughout the body of the tune. The drums are on full display, and rightly so because they absolutely slay across this record. The guitars are slightly more distorted here – something to keep your ears on across this record. Bonehunter certainly knows how to slightly tweak a guitar sound to fit the stylistic themes of each track.
“Enter the Satan’s Dimension” features the most fuzzed out guitar sound on the record. Again, the drums are aggressive, relentless and absolutely driving across the track. Sure, the bridge is a bit long, but the guitar solos on either side of it are stimulating, simple and altogether respectable. Again, a heavy Motörhead vibe sneaks through both in the manner of descending chords and the rhythm which which the guitars change chords.
Overall, Sexual Panic Human Machine provides enough jump, aggression, and head-rocking moments to more than make up for the few minor musical drawbacks. Knock out one unnecessary track, a bit more editing on standard track-length and you’ve got one hell of a fun crossover record. If you haven’t heard the back catalog, fear not. Sexual Panic Human Machineisn’t Air Bud (II): Golden Receiver where you have to see the first film or you’re lost. Rather, this sophomore LP is a fine introduction to what is an altogether very fun, sexually charged band.