Some of the best new bands are the ones that go largely quietly unnoticed. That’s the feeling I get with Beastwars, who were previously unknown to this country prior to being picked up by Witch Hunter Records, who are handling distribution of this album in the UK. That said, they received much critical acclaim back in their homeland for their debut album, and it was only a matter of time before the wider world got word of Beastwars.
Despite the obvious name connotations with the Transformers, there’s not more to these four guys from Wellington, New Zealand than meets the eye. Instead, what you hear is what you get, and that’s some stunning sludge-infused heavy metal, covering a wide range of ground, from thunderous songs such as ‘Damn The Sky’ and ‘Mihi’, groovers such as ‘Red God’ and the fantastic ‘Cthulhu’, every bit as ominious sounding as the beast it is named after. Over the course of its nine tracks, its hard to pick out anything about ‘Beastwars‘ that disappoints. The bass is staggeringly low in the mix – not Sunn 0))) low or anything on a drone scale, but it rumbles deep beneath the guitars, giving Beastwars an almost leviathanic effect. Bass isn’t everything in a metal band, but it sure does help when it creates such a sound. Their vocalist Matt Hyde has a cracking voice, able to drift from spoken drawl into a full blown war cry in a moment.
In future it might well serve them to vary the pace a little more – everything on ‘Beastwars‘ is more or less the same tempo, bar some of the later, slower tracks. That said, it’s refreshing to not hear a band attempting to melt your face with sheer speed, while retaining the ability to crush your senses every time. While they draw obvious comparisons with established sludgy/heavy metal acts like High on Fire, Baroness, Bison B.C., and even acts such as Soundgarden, it’s not really a bad group to be affiliated with, and especially when you can deliver the goods like Beastwars can.
Stream it below: