"Death Looks Good on You” by Bone Knife Pays Homage to Metal Gods Without Sacrificing Originality
Updated: Mar 5
Bone Knife is the most underrated metal act in Ohio currently, if not the country, and their newest album is a testament to that fact. “Death Looks Good on You” distills the enormously vast genre of metal down to its purest most concentrated essence while filtering out any impurities and imbuing it with something more.
From start to finish, “Death Looks Good on You” is a love song dedicated to metal that celebrates so many of the giants of the genre. As I listened to the album it was easy to detect the wide array of musical influences that inspired the band. Depending on how well-tuned your ear is, you will likely hear numerous yet tastefully nuanced homages to legendary bands. From classic 20th century metal bands like Iron Maiden and Megadeth to more modern acts like Tool, Perfect Circle, Ghost and The Sword, “Death Looks Good on You” incorporates the many flavors of popular metal into a rich and complexly layered masterpiece that has mass appeal.
Above all else, “Death Looks Good on You” is consistent, which is something I wish I could say more often, especially when reviewing records. However, when a band performs at such a high caliber, maintaining that level of excellence with any consistency is challenging. This album showcases how much the band has grown in the approximately two years since their last release, “The Road Death Traveled” EP, without feeling far removed or rendering their previous work obsolete.
From a production standpoint, the album is incredibly well-balanced. The mixing was done flawlessly, and nothing sounds muddy. I can clearly hear all the elements within the rhythm section, the melodies on guitar, and the vocals, and can distinguish each musician’s individual contributions. I don’t have anything negative to say about the album, especially if you are purchasing the album for someone who has yet to see Bone Knife live. It is a masterful demonstration of the band’s immense talent both as composers and performers.
If I were to offer any critique of “Death Looks Good on You”, I would say that it is slightly (and I mean ever so slightly) over-produced, especially if you are a huge fan of Bone Knife live like myself and my husband. I feel conflicted even giving such critique because the album is perfection in so many ways. However, Bone Knife is one of the few bands that does grungy well when playing live because its members are all masterful musicians who have played the dingiest of dives for years. I feel “Death Looks Good on You” loses some of the "dirty" stoner rock character that made the band so popular within the local scene because the final product feels so clean. With that said, I think that aspect would likely make the album more appealing to new listeners.
In closing, you should buy this album. You should gift a copy to any friend or relative that is into metal but is currently not active within our live local music scene, so they can understand what they are missing. It is truly a gem. Still, some like their gemstones polished to perfection, while others like the character provided by their minor imperfections. I think “Death Looks Good on You” would appeal to most metalheads regardless of their preferred sub-genre.
That being said, I truly hope that Bone Knife records a live album (perhaps even a live version of “Death Looks Good on You), because there are some elements of this band that can’t be replicated in a studio setting. Bone Knife’s moody stoner metal grooves are intoxicating live and leave audiences spellbound, which only enriches their sound with raw, unrefined, and absolutely mystifying energies.