ALBUM REVIEW: Beastwars – IV


Destroy Records

Sometimes it takes monumental life events to galvanise a band, or any creative endeavour for that matter. In the case of New Zealand band Beastwars it was the diagnosis singer Matt Hyde received, confirming Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In the weeks following his chemotherapy treatment the band hit the studio and recorded their fourth album – a blistering, pummelling, cathartic battle cry of a record.

“You can never get away from your mortal decay,” Hyde howls on ‘Mortal Decay’. This is an album that addresses mortality and the brutal reality of our time on this earth and the fragility of life. Out of that there is a sense of immense strength and resolution from both singer and band. There are winding, ruminative passages in some songs that add a reflective quality to the heavier, more visceral sound that dominates the album, but don’t start thinking this is a metal band going soft, their essence of heavy swinging and paint-peeling riffage is still firmly intact, made even more powerful with the quality of the songwriting and ideas on IV. 

As musicians, the band sound freer and more inventive than they ever have before. There is colour and shade on a song such as ‘Omens’ which combines the moodiness of Tool with lumbering doom metal density, while on ‘Mortal Decay’ the song straightens into pure metal chug and gallop at the three quarter mark to brilliant effect. On ‘The Traveller’, Hyde stands exposed, delivering an affecting primal scream  before the band join him and carry the song forward on a comforting melodic bed of heavy bass and avant garde guitar squalls. ‘Wolves And Prey’ tumbles and churns like a spinning vortex and ‘Like Dried Blood’ combines a piano and Hyde’s ghoulish vocal to great effect as the thunder grows and the riffs thicken and fill the air like heavy smoke.

“Out of adversity comes opportunity” said Benjamin Franklin and Beastwars have taken that mantra and bled a visceral, life-affirming album into existence. You’d be hard pressed to find many better metal albums than this in 2019. 

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC Möss Fölk – Misery Mothers


Blistering thrash metal with a super-solid bottom end of distorted bass on this track from Worcester, Massachusetts band Möss Fölk. The riffs are relentless while the vocal totally hits the spot for us – raw, punk-metal and visceral without getting too cookie monster. The killer blow comes at 1:09 where everything drops away to reveal the grungy bass before everything collapses back in on top of it with glorious chugging heaviosity.

The track comes from their four track demo which is available to download for free on their Bandcamp page.


NEW MUSIC: Refused – Dawkins Christ

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 11.08.52 amRefused are back with a new album, their first since The Shape Of Punk To Come back in 1998. There they harnessed the punk of Fugazi, the metal of Slayer and the incendiary funk of Rage Against The Machine. Thankfully they’ve retained the clinical brutality in their music without watering it down for the masses in the year 2015. Here’s a perfect example of that in the new single ‘Dawkins Christ’.

The new album Freedom is out June 29th via Epitaph. Pre-order HERE

Questions & Answers: Beastwars

Beastwars have their debut album out polluting young minds and are touring New Zealand to rabid audiences at the moment. The record stands as one of the great metal albums to come out of the shaky isles in quite a long time and we managed to catch frontman Matt Hyde for a few minutes between gigs for the inaugural interview in our new section Questions & Answers where we’ll try to cut to the chase and find out the latest views and happenings, mumblings and rants from a bunch of musicians…

How has your music evolved since the band first formed?

We are now about to start demoing the new album and we’re already 6 songs in. So far I believe it is sounding even larger  and the year’s adventures have given us the confidence to write something bigger than the debut. About 4 of the new songs have already been played live so these are exciting times. We start our last tour for the year next week and will have a time in Whanganui on the day of  the show to work on some more tracks. We hope to continue this pattern using different spaces on the tour to record.

 Is there a story behind the origin of the name Beastwars?

Up until couple of years ago our drummer who came up with the name thought he had made it up. He believed it summed up the sound of music he want to create.

It feels like you have tapped into something that has been missing from the heavier end of the NZ music scene. Can you put your finger on what that is?

The country suffering through a recession, the end of the good times. We may of kind of brought a sound that people want to hear right now, I dont now its a hard one to answer but our record stuck out  from a lot of other releases this year.

For a genre too often built on cliche you’ve invested some interesting angles in your music like post punk, noise and more textural elements. Was there a concerted effort to avoid any cliches?

We all have such a wide range of influences in the group we all brought it together to make the record and we were just trying to make a good record.

Dale Cotton (producer) has done a stellar job harnessing the sound of Beastwars, how was the recording experience for you?

What made it great was the deadline we set ourselves and also removing ourselves to Dunedin where we would wake early and make music late into the night. It was very focused but a hell a lot of fun at the same time.

Are you surprised by the attention the band has received over the last year?

It has been an amazing reaction, we have been very lucky. It’s been great to see the album embraced the way it has.

Many band’s fire their best shots on their first album, do you feel like Beastwars have hit their peak yet or are new songs still evolving the sound of the band?

It’s hard to say you will have to be the judge of that when we release the second album but I will say the new songs are feeling louder.

Does the band have long term ambitions, if so what are they? Any plans to get to Australia?

We wanted to come to Oz this year but have ended up having a great year here. The new album will be our priority in the new year and then hopefully after that we’ll make it over there.

North Island NZ Tour

Palmerston North – Friday Oct 28th
The Royal w/ Wall of Silents and Bloodspray for Politics

Whanganui – Saturday Oct 29th
Space Monster w/ Caves and Robin

Hamilton – Friday Nov 4th
Biddy Mulligan’s w/ Mountaineater and Arc of Ascent

Auckland – Saturday Nov 5th
4:20 w/ Mountaineater and Arc of Ascent

Wellington – Sat Nov 12th
Bodega with Arc of Ascent and Detrÿtus

WATCH: Beastwars | Lake of Fire

New Zealand’s monolithic metal creatures Beastwars have had a massive year with a ton of packed out shows and the release of their debut album which is up there with the best heavy/metal records of 2011. Here is their first official video for the song Lake of Fire directed by Hamish Waterhouse. You can catch the band touring NZ through October and November, dates on their FB page. Also check out their stuff over at Bandcamp where you can pick up the abum digitally for a steal at 10 USD.