Bone Fragments is a black metal band from the US. They recently released their second full-length Too Gruesome To Be Real. We had the chance to discuss the history of the band, the process of making a Bone Fragments album and much more with Tormentor (one of the two founding members). Enjoy!
Foul Feast: If you can, explain a litlle about how Bone Fragments formed.
Tormentor: Bone Fragments formed in 2006. At that time, it was just Phthisis and I. Our first demo was a four-song clown-themed black metal stint (Circus Maleficus) with two guitars, a drum machine, and an 8-track tascam in his basement. The initial idea behind the band was to fuse our two favorite things: black metal, and weird clown/circus music. Since then we've expanded and sort of ventured into other horror-esque themes.
FF: Too Gruesome To Be Real is in a sense, a concept album, where did the inspiration for this concept come from?
Tormentor: I've really gotten into the idea of concept albums because we are huge King Diamond fans. I love how he can tell a story with the lyrics and create the perfect music to match, so that's what has really inspired me to write lyrics that way. Our first full length, Dark Amusement, was a true concept album. We didn't really want to do that again, but the songs on Too Gruesome carried a similar vibe, so we wanted them to relate in some way. We knew this was going to be our "castle" album, so we decided that each song would represent some demonic being inhabiting this castle. Kind of goofy, I know, but it lends itself to a lot of creativity in the writing process, which makes it more fun.
FF: Bone Fragments has always had a unique sound, is this something that you strive to achieve with each release?
Tormentor: I don't think we set out with the intention of making an album weirder than the last, but we don't like to do the same thing over again. When the writing process starts we say, Ok, what sound do we want to achieve this time? I think we're just as surprised by the result as everyone else is. It has a lot to do with what kind of music we are listening to at the time, and what "mood" fits the time period. We've started talking about our next album, and I think it's safe to say it will be something we haven't done before. It's hard to establish any sort of fan base because our style doesn't stay the same. Like, we have some people who love Too Gruesome, but we also have a lot of people who have been following our stuff since Circus Maleficus and are disgruntled by the new album because it's not as raw. We never really plan out what we're going to do, it's always an adventure haha.
FF: The band started as a duo and has grown to a full lineup. How has this changed the writing process?
Tormentor: It really hasn't changed anything. The core of Bone Fragments is still the same - Phthisis primarily writes the music, and I do the lyrics. We kind of decide together how we want the sound to be. We both have a vision for the music, and together we make it take form. Then we share our ideas with the others who help us to round out the sound and bring it to completion. They pretty much let us do whatever crazy shit we want haha.
FF: How important is atmosphere to you when it comes to music?
Tormentor: Atmosphere is everything! When we do a CD, we are completely engulfed in that CD until it comes to completion. And when people listen to our CDs, we want to make sure that they are experiencing what we experience. Also when it comes to listening to other bands, we think the atmosphere is what either makes or breaks a CD. The music should make you feel something that you have never felt before, or take you to a mental place that you haven't been in a while. A rich atmospheric CD can be a total mind fuck.
FF: The album art on Too Gruesome To Be Real looks amazing, how did the concept of the Octobunny come up?
Tormentor: Haha, well, the song was originally just called Clawtooth, and was supposed to be about a demonic guardian beast prowling the woods outside the castle. As is typical metalhead style, one day we were having a super boring and nerdy conversation about how the plural of octopus is octopuses or octopodes, and I stupidly blurted out "Clawtooth the Octobunny". Anyway, it stuck, and we ended up corresponding with an artist in the U.K. (The Misnomer - awesome work check her out!!). We sent her some song titles to draw up some sketches, and she ended up coming up with the kickass pictures of the Octobunny and Dr. Slaughter, both of which we used in the booklet. Why a bunny? I don't know, we like them. We actually got a rabbit mid-way through making the CD and named him Goblin.
FF: Have you been pleased with the feedback you've received for the album so far?
Tormentor: Our feedback has always been very mixed, and we can appreciate that. Overall, I feel that Too Gruesome to be Real hasn't been as well received as Dark Amusement, but that doesn't bother us too much. Like I said, each album is going to be different from the last, so it isn't going to discourage us from doing the next one. It's funny because a lot of reviews from our earlier albums said the music had potential but the poor production held us back, and on Too Gruesome we really made some strides production-wise, and some people complained that we had lost our raw, unfiltered atmospheric sound. We just hope that people can see in our music what we see in it - a journey to a place more interesting than the bland existence that we live in, no matter how weird the music may be.
FF: Have you guys had the chance to do any shows since you've formed? It must be hard to find a lineup that your odd sound fits well with.
Tormentor: Yeah, live shows are pretty much impossible. We would love to do shows, definitely, but we would need some serious backup. Our recordings are very layered, with Phthisis on about three layers of guitar, plus keyboards, and I do bass and a layer of rhythm guitar. Without all the parts, the songs would't sound right, so we would need to look into getting a couple more people on guitar. I hope that in the future we can work something out to be able to do some live shows.
FF: Has any thought been put into the next Bone Fragments release yet?
Tormentor: Yeah definitely, we have been thinking about it, but we tend to have a long time between releases, so I don't expect to start any recording on it until next fall. Too Gruesome kind of burned us out, because we wanted everything to be perfect. We might try to do a old-skool style throw back EP to our earlier stuff before we do another full length. It's hard to tell - once we get involved in a CD, it will consume us until we finish it.
FF: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Tormentor: Well, I guess just that we know our stuff is kind of weird, but we want people to know that our music is very important to us. It is not a joke, it's just a way for us to escape and express ourselves, just like any other form of music. We really like feedback, love it or hate it, we like to know what people think. Thanks so much for the interview and review!