New Zealand Metal

Vassafor – To the Death Review

Vassafor – To the Death Review

“The band sport a Mitochondrion or Adversarial styled take on death/black metal with a thrashy assault-heavy relentlessness combined with eldritch melodies and passages of doomy ominousness. These New Zealanders laid it on thick with 2012’s double LP The Obsidian Codex, expertly balancing relentless blackened death with ritualistic atmosphere and dense doom to create an experience that felt far shorter than its immense hour-and-thirty-five-minute runtime suggested. Enter 2017’s Malediction, which wasn’t… that. While offering a “shorter” listen at fifty-four minutes, it never managed to truly escape the doomy drudgery and wallowed in uneventfulness for nearly an hour. Enter 2020’s To the Death.” Death be not quick.

Unruly – Unruly Review

Unruly – Unruly Review

“Look, I’m not saying I judge books records by their covers but, come on, everyone likes nice artwork, right? When I’m plumbing the murkier depths of Bandcamp, a cool cover can lure me into that one extra purchase that I swore I wasn’t going to make. It’s just as well for Te Whanganui a Tara, Aotearoa (or Wellington, New Zealand) trio Unruly then, that I didn’t see the cover of their self-titled debut before I hauled it out of the promo pit.” Ugly is as Unruly does.

Beastwars – IV Review

Beastwars – IV Review

“Aside from the fierce sporting rivalry, cross Tasman cultural banter, and endless sheep-fucking jokes, we Aussies generally hold our New Zealand pals from across the ditch in high regard. So sharing in the artistic success of our neighbors is not uncommon. In metal terms, powerhouse act Beastwars are one of the finest bands to emerge from the New Zealand metal scene in recent years.” Stronger than death.

Organectomy – Existential Disconnect Review

Organectomy – Existential Disconnect Review

“The Summer of Slamcore and Other Slammy Things™ continues for this guy right here. So far, my choices from the promo bin failed to impress or rapidly soured after the initial bout of Shiny New Thing Disorder lifted. But there must be light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as I saw New Zealand’s very own modern slam juggernauts Organectomy peeking out from under all of the mediocre black metal dreck littering the place, I knew I had found that light.” Wham, bam, thank you, slam!

Barshasketh – Barshasketh Review

Barshasketh – Barshasketh Review

“One of the saddest things in music is the “almost there” album. It’s the album that has all the traits of something that should work, and yet it doesn’t. It’s the kid on the soccer team who is bad, but not bad enough to know he’s bad. It’s the guy in the friend group who everyone tolerates, but no one would be sad if he moved away. It’s the hundreds of albums that are released every year, met with a shrug at best, and are swiftly forgotten.” That’s not ominous or anything.

Shallow Grave – Threshold between Worlds Review

Shallow Grave – Threshold between Worlds Review

“Doom is inescapable. Fear of the known is the constant background buzz of human existence, in its way as strong as fear of the unknown. The knowledge of one’s doom can be a chain too heavy to bear. It’s the curse of reading your future chiseled in granite, holding a crayon. Auckland, New Zealand’s Shallow Grave make their malevolent hay with that fear.” Fear the known.

Stälker – Shadow of the Sword Review

Stälker – Shadow of the Sword Review

“Last year in our EP edition of TYMHM, I waxed eloquent about a great little proto-thrash demo from some Wellington, NZ upstarts, Stälker. Their Satanic Panic cassette was such a nasty bit of early speed metal that it garnered the attention of Napalm Records, and this power trio was set to record their full-length debut this year. Enter Shadow of the Sword.” Only a big sword casts a shadow you can enter.

Bloodnut – St. Ranga Review

Bloodnut – St. Ranga Review

“As so many bands take themselves too seriously, it hurt a little more than usual to gingerly let B;ppdmit down and mark their score in the red. It must have put some fire in their gut, because the boys are back to bring peace and justice to Gingers, in less time than it takes Jari Mäenpää to make a sandwich.” Apes be escaping.