Beastwars Post “Some Sell Their Souls” Video; Albums Available as Name-Your-Price Download

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

beastwars

So is this it? Is this the last we’ll hear from New Zealand crushers Beastwars? Is this their goodbye? As they and their group-therapy audience seem to get raptured at the end of this clip for “Some Sell Their Souls” — I’d have said “spoiler alert,” but we all know the joy is in the journey, not the destination — should we also consider that the actual process of the four-piece being absorbed into oblivion?

If so, they die as they lived — viciously underrated.

Beastwars released their final album, The Death of all Things (review here), last year. At the time, they called it the third in a trilogy behind 2013’s Blood Becomes Fire (review here) and their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), but the bottom line was the band was basically announcing they were done, one way or the other. Their tenure ended with their never having gotten their due internationally for the quality of their output across those three records, and though they drew well in their native New Zealand and Australia, to my knowledge they never made it to Europe for a tour, let alone North America, much to the loss of both continents.

I’ve learned the hard way — also the easy way — over time that you never say never in rock and roll. That is, because Beastwars are done today doesn’t necessarily mean that will be the case in a year, three years, five. It might be wishful thinking on my part, but though we see in the clip for “Some Sell Their Souls” the lineup of vocalist Matt Hyde, guitarist Clayton Anderson, bassist James Woods and drummer Nathan Hickey be taken from this earthly plane as the PR wire seems to confirm that, indeed, that’s a wrap for them, it just seems like this band had something special to them, and they knew it. That can’t be easy to walk away from, say it’s permanent, and have it stick.

But I’ve also learned the hard way to never assume one way or the other. What we have to go on right now, in April 2017, is that after three stellar, grueling, grinding, and at times genuinely uncomfortable albums, Beastwars have called it a day. Whether or not that lasts, it should go without saying they’ll be missed, and should they ever decide to embark on a fourth installment of their “trilogy,” its arrival will be welcome.

To mark their passing, Beastwars have made their three full-lengths available as a name-your-price download via their Bandcamp page from now until April 20. If there’s one of those records you don’t have, you might want to get on that.

Enjoy “Some Sell Their Souls” below:

Beastwars, “Some Sell Their Souls” official video

Having returned in 2016 with one of the year’s most revelatory releases in The Death Of All Things, Beastwars are back one final time with a new video directed by Alistair MacDonald for ‘Some Sell Their Souls’.

The song, sung from the perspective of a troubled singer at a small suburban church who is trapped by his demons and plagued by memories proved to be one of the most talked about songs on last year’s album. Attributed in no small part to singer Matt Hyde’s weathered and worn viewpoint on morality and redemption.

“Like ‘Witches’, the first video off our last album, it was inspired by experiences of the band,” explains drummer Nathan Hickey. “In the case of ‘Witches’ it was in response to a record label exec shrieking, ‘They’re so old!’ when he saw a video of us. So we decided to replace ourselves with a coven of female musicians. The video for ‘Some Sell Their Souls’ was inspired by a set of studio videos we did called The Sundae Sessions, where the audience was sitting around us on chairs. Some of the YouTube comments are hilarious with complaints about how sedate the crowd look, why isn’t there a mosh pit etc. With this video we took the audience response to a Beastwars experience to its extreme.”

The album, produced by the band and James Goldsmith in their hometown of Wellington, New Zealand, mixed by Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Big Business) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Windhand) brought with it the closing chapter in the band’s post-apocalyptic trilogy of albums.

As a thank you for the continued support Beastwars received in 2016, their unremitting triptych of sludge – their 2011 debut Beastwars, 2013’s Blood Becomes Fire and last year’s The Death Of All Things – are being offered on Bandcamp as ‘Name Your Price’ up until 20th April 2017 – www.beastwars.bandcamp.com.

Beastwars:
Clayton Anderson – Guitar
Nathan Hickey – Drums
Matt Hyde – Vocals
James Woods – Bass

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Lamp of the Universe to Release Hidden Knowledge in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 10th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The fact that New Zealand tantric psych outfit Lamp of the Universe has returned to activity can really only make the cosmos a better place. Peopled solely by Craig Williamson, the ever-fluid and at this point long-running project released its latest album, The Inner Light of Revelation (review here), just last year through Clostridium Records and Williamson‘s own Astral Projection imprint, and both band and label have confirmed that a follow-up, titled Hidden Knowledge, is due out in October on limited-run vinyl, black, in color or splatter with a gatefold. No doubt well earned.

What I find particularly encouraging about the prospect of this new offering from Lamp of the Universe is that it’s made up only of four songs — “Space Craft,” “Mu,” “Dawn of Nebula” and “Netherworlds.” I don’t know how long each cut might be, but Williamson‘s done long-form work with Lamp of the Universe before — not so much on The Inner Light of Revelation, but a 2013 split with Krautzone (streamed here) consisted of a single, 22-minute Lamp of the Universe track, and the results were meditative and gorgeous in kind. If a similar exploratory feel were to be brought to Hidden Knowledge, well, I don’t think we’d lose out either way, but it’s certainly enough to add a layer of interest.

No audio from the album yet, sadly. The announcement came out a bit ago, so apologies for being behind the times on this one, but I wanted to make sure the info was posted here, if only as a reminder to myself to look forward to it.

Preliminaries go like this:

lamp of the universe hidden knowledge

Lamp of the Universe – Hidden Knowledge.

Release date October 2016. Clostridium Records. Artwork by Dale Simpson.

500 numbered copies
* 200 x black / 200 x col. & 100 x Splatter *
Gatefoldcover……
more info soon…

Tracklisting:
1. Space Craft
2. Mu
3. Dawn of Nebula
4. Netherworlds

https://www.facebook.com/lampoftheuniverse/
https://lampoftheuniverse.bandcamp.com/
http://www.clostridiumrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/clostridiumrecords/

Lamp of the Universe, The Inner Light of Revelation (2016)

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Beastwars, The Death of all Things: Totality

Posted in Reviews on May 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

beastwars the death of all things

Much has been made the last several weeks about the possibility that Beastwars‘ third full-length, the recently-issued The Death of all Things, will be their last. Fair enough. The Wellington four-piece have referred to it as the final installment of a trilogy that also includes 2013’s Blood Becomes Fire (review here) and their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and if the nine tracks/40 minutes included on The Death of all Things are really the end of the band, I don’t think anyone could argue with the quality of their output during their tenure, the impact they had or the progression they demonstrated from one album to the next. If this is it, in other words, they’ve been a success. All three of their records, further united by stellar oil painting artwork by Nick Keller, have worked in a blend of grand-scale heavy, derived from sludge and ’90s-style noise rock dissonance, but indebted to neither and growing only more individual in presentation as songwriting takes root in brooding atmospheres.

The Death of all Things might be their best work yet in terms of how the material itself stands out. An opening salvo of “Call to the Mountain” and “Devils of Last Night” — also the album’s two longest tracks at 5:36 and 5:31, respectively (immediate, double points) — leads to the likewise fortified “Some Sell Their Souls,” giving a kinetic beginning to what unfolds from there as a record that owes no more of its overarching affect to impact than to mood. Underlying complexity has long been a factor for Beastwars, glossed over in part because they’re so outwardly heavy, so if The Death of all Things is to be their last outing, it’s all the more appropriate that should be the case here too.

Frontman Matt Hyde (not to be confused with the L.A.-based producer) leads the returning lineup of guitarist Clayton Anderson, bassist James Woods and drummer Nathan Hickey, and his snarling, rasping, growling, howling, grunting approach continues to be a defining factor no less than Anderson‘s rolling riffs, the heft in Woods‘ low end or Hickey‘s snare cutting through to punctuate the morass. Andrew Schneider, who mixed, makes his impact felt there, while James Goldsmith, who produced, keeps the focus rightly on the largesse in the band’s sound.

beastwars (photo by Damian McDonnell)

“Call to the Mountain” and “Devils of Last Night,” both seething with intensity, gripping in their catchiness and marked in their cloud-cover bleak vibe, set the tone for what’s to come, the latter capping with a move into an all-out payoff that seems to answer some of the tension created, but the chorus of “Some Sell Their Souls” becomes even more of a landmark for the early going of The Death of all Things, shorter but also more patient than “Devils of Last Night” and setting up a transition into the more subdued, melodic beginning of “Witches.” That initial impact — starting with “Call to the Mountain,” a condensed-epic very much in Beastwars‘ stylistic wheelhouse — is no coincidence, but neither is the shift that “Some Sell Their Souls” begins into the broader territory that “Witches” continues to cover. Even as “Witches” hits its apex, Hyde and Anderson pushing a surge of energy forward in the song’s second half, the dynamic has changed from the first several tracks, and centerpiece/side B opener “Black Days” moves further out with an upbeat rhythm, scorching guitar and a lyrical reference to pyramids in the sky, which of course graced the cover of the first album half a decade ago.

A temporary slowdown leads to a raucous finish, and “Holy Man,” rages and sways in its beginning and finds solid ground in a second-half bridge of winding noise rock riffs, moving toward a drum-thudding finish that finds Hyde pushing his voice well past the breaking point before the rest of the song deconstructs, giving way to “Disappear,” which starts out like it’s going to work in loud/quiet verse tradeoffs but actually just gets loud and stays that way, building through its first verse to a weighted groove that it doesn’t again relinquish, lead guitar adding melodic counterpoint to the vocal howls in its ending, following another solid hook, maybe not accomplishing anything “Devils of Last Night” didn’t do on side A, but regrounding The Death of all Things in the core of Beastwars‘ songwriting prior to the brief acoustic sojourn of the penultimate “The Devil Took Her,” which brings in strings, keys/flute, quiet guitar and softer vocals for a genuine departure in modus if not mood from everything else on the LP.

To the best of my knowledge, an acoustic Beastwars track is a first, but the resonant strings work well as a precursor to the rumbling beginning of the closing title-track, “The Death of all Things” finishing — how could it not? — as the album’s ultimate resolution, building in aggression through its first verse and into an echoing chorus that, once it starts, doesn’t seem to stop, just moves through different stages for the remainder of the song. “I’ll tell you something/It’s a brand new world,” Hyde intones amid repeated finishing lines, and for Beastwars, if they’re actually looking beyond the existence of the band itself, it may well feel that way. What they leave behind, however, is a three-album legacy of destructive and stylistically ambitious noise/doom/heavy rock that stood out early and became even more their own as they moved forward. One never wants to say never in rock and roll, but if Beastwars are done, then The Death of all Things is the epitaph that a group of their scope and of their sheer gravitational force deserves.

Beastwars, “Witches” official video

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Beastwars Release The Death of all Things April 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Lurching New Zealand sludge-doomers Beastwars will release their third album, The Death of all Things, on April 22 through Destroy Records. What do you say to new Beastwars other than “fuck yes?” Probably not much if you’ve heard the band, whose two outings to-date — 2013’s Blood Becomes Fire (review here) and 2011’s Beastwars (review here) — are so righteously pummeling as to make decriptors like “Crowbarian” seem insufficiently weighted. Preorders go live on March 11 for the vinyl, and to herald the album’s coming, the band has made the new track “Call to the Mountain” available for streaming.

You can hear that under the PR wire info below, and there’s a very good chance it will be the heaviest thing you put on today, so be ready before you dig in. Also looking forward to seeing the final artwork for the album by Nick Keller, who’s done their past records as well and never disappoints in scale or design. Until then, info and audio:

beastwars

BEASTWARS to release new album The Death Of All Things this April | Stream and share the new song ‘Call To The Mountain’

The Death Of All Things by Beastwars will be released worldwide through Destroy Records on 22nd April 2016

Obey The Riff… As far as aphorisms go few hit harder than Beastwars’ heavy metal mantra.

Returning in 2016 with what will undoubtedly become one of this year’s most revelatory releases, Beastwars are a band so heavy, and heavily admired by fans in the Southern Hemisphere, they practically weigh the world in place and stop it spinning wildly off its axis.

The Death Of All Things was produced by the band and James Goldsmith in their hometown of Wellington, New Zealand, mixed by Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Big Business) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Windhand). and is the third and final full-length in a post-apocalyptic trilogy. An album that signals the arrival of one of metal’s best-kept secrets out from under; primed to take on the world full tilt.

In 2011, Beastwars released their self-titled debut to critical acclaim and in doing so transformed New Zealand’s metal landscape. Reviewers celebrated the album’s, “slow- burning furnace of bass-trawling riffage,” (The Sleeping Shaman) as well as its distinctive blend of lysergic and premonitory metal that compared the band to Kyuss, Neurosis and Godflesh, while hinting at influences as distinctive as The Jesus Lizard, Black Sabbath, and in Hyde’s ‘avant-grunt’, Celtic Frost. Music that at its very core channels a colossal mood filtered to a point where, “every wail, every riff, every bass thump and every cymbal crash serves to remind you that this is enigmatic and darkened metal, straight from the murky heart of the Antipodes.” (Sixnoises)

Two years on from their internationally acclaimed debut, Beastwars returned in 2013 with Blood Becomes Fire which landed at #2 in the nations music charts. The album delivered ten songs retaining all the strength and psychedelic fire of their first while presenting a powerful evolution in vision.

The Death Of All Things is released worldwide through Destroy Records on 22nd April 2016. On 11th March a pre-order for limited edition vinyl will be available from www.obeytheriff.com but in the meantime, you can stream and share their brand new song for ‘Call To The Mountain’ here.

Live:
20th February – Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney
21st February – Coburg Hall w. THE SWORD, Melbourne
27th February – The Studio w. THE SWORD, Auckland

Beastwars:
Clayton Anderson – Guitar
Nathan Hickey – Drums
Matt Hyde – Vocals
James Woods – Bass

Artwork by Nick Keller – www.nickkellerart.com

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https://www.instagram.com/beastwarsband/
http://www.obeytheriff.com

Beastwars, “Call to the Mountain”

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Beastwars Post New Video for “Rivermen”; Vinyl Released Today

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 9th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Today is the release date for the Destroy Records/Granite House Records vinyl reissues for Beastwars‘ two albums to date, Beastwars (review here) and Blood Becomes Fire (review here), and to mark the occasion, the New Zealand riff crushers have just unveiled a new video for the song “Rivermen” from their second outing. A slow-burner that showcases some of Blood Becomes Fire‘s more brooding sensibilities, the clip was filmed earlier this year at Camp A Low Hum in Wainuomata, NZ, and if the audience response depicted here is anything to go by, “Rivermen” was greeted with due appreciation. I wouldn’t argue.

Beastwars have made both the self-titled and Blood Becomes Fire available as name-your-price downloads through Bandcamp until June 15, and you’re just going to have to take my word for it when I tell you that for the investment in effort it takes to acquire them — i.e., none — it’s about as solid a payout as you’re going to find. The four-piece have a propensity for capturing the epic in their work, their songwriting, their artwork, their videos, and this time around they do it in the scale of the releases themselves, and in the case of the video, through the sheer act of performing their material live. They remain a band I’d very, very much like to see one of these days.

Reissue info follows the video below:

Beastwars, “Rivermen” official video

BEASTWARS: Vinyl reissues of Beastwars and Blood Becomes Fire out now on Granite House Records

Download both albums for free until 15th June via http://beastwars.bandcamp.com

Having always been appreciative of the support given to them by their diehard fans, New Zealand’s loudest sons have today rereleased their 2011 debut Beastwars, and last year’s acclaimed follow up Blood Becomes Fire via Granite House Records.

With original pressings already commanding high figures among collectors of rare heavy metal vinyl, not only are these reissues welcomed news for anyone who missed out first time around, they will gives new fans a chance to discover the band’s one and only maxim: Obey The Riff.

Thanks to a new partnership with the Denver, Colorado-based label Granite House Records (United States) and Rocket (Australia) both Beastwars and Blood Becomes Fire are now available worldwide through Destroy Records/Granite House Records. More info of which can be found here – http://granitehouserecords.bigcartel.com.

Beastwars on Thee Facebooks

Granite House Records

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Beastwars to Reissue Beastwars and Blood Becomes Fire on June 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I’m glad New Zealand earth-movers Beastwars will have a worldwide release for their two albums, 2011’s self-titled debut (review here) and 2013’s follow-up, Blood Becomes Fire (review here). The truth is that the Wellington-based four-piece are heavy enough and have a sound individual enough that they’ve been ready for wider appreciation basically since the first record hit. Granite House Records in the US has stepped up to make it happen, and yeah, Beastwars‘ records have been available to stream and stuff all along, but the fact is the more people who hear these songs the better, since they’re worth hearing.

The PR wire has preorder info and more besides:

BEASTWARS >>> Beastwars + Blood Becomes Fire (Granite House Records) Released 9th June

Having always been appreciative of the support given to them by their diehard fans, New Zealand’s loudest sons have announced that this June they are teaming up with Granite House Records to reissue their 2011 debut Beastwars, and last year’s acclaimed follow up Blood Becomes Fire worldwide.

With original pressings already commanding high figures among collectors of rare heavy metal vinyl, not only are these reissues welcomed news for anyone who missed out first time around, they will gives new fans a chance to discover the band’s one and only maxim: Obey The Riff.?

In 2011, Beastwars released their self-titled debut to critical acclaim and in doing so transformed New Zealand’s music scene. Landing at #15 on the national charts, the band found themselves shortlisted for the Taite Music Prize and were twice nominated at the 2011 New Zealand Music Awards, winning Best Album Artwork via Nick Keller’s otherworldly landscapes. Reviewers celebrated the album’s, “slow-burning furnace of bass-trawling riffage” (The Sleeping Shaman) as well as its distinctive blend of lysergic and premonitory metal that compared the band to Kyuss, Neurosis and Godflesh, while hinting at influences as distinctive as The Jesus Lizard, Black Sabbath, and in Hyde’s ‘avant-grunt’, Celtic Frost.

Two years on from their internationally acclaimed debut, Beastwars returned in 2013 with Blood Becomes Fire. The album charted at #2 on the NZ charts (held off the top spot by Michel Bublé) and delivered ten songs retaining all the strength and psychedelic fire of their first while presenting a powerful evolution in vision. Where Beastwars’ first album conjured tales of the end of days, it’s successor served as witness to the ensuing carnage, viewed through the eyes of a traveller from another time, as he faced his own demise. Blood Becomes Fire is a work of epic imagination that explores eternal themes and hammers each home with concussive force.

Thanks to a new partnership with the Denver, Colorado-based label Granite House Records (United States) and Rocket (Australia) both Beastwars and Blood Becomes Fire will once again be available. A pre-order of unique/limited edition vinyl pressings are currently available from the band’s website obeytheriff.com.

Beastwars and Blood Becomes Fire will get an official worldwide rerelease on 9th June 2014 via Destroy Records/Granite House Records.

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https://www.facebook.com/beastwars666
http://beastwars.bandcamp.com/

Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire (2013)

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Beastwars Explore Alien Abduction in New Video for “Realms”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 6th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Maybe it’s the creepy purple light coming through the trees or the way the young protagonist of Beastwars‘ latest video winds up being carted off by space aliens, but something in the clip for “Realms” from the New Zealand band’s 2013 Blood Becomes Fire sophomore outing reminds me an awful lot of season one of The X-Files. Maybe I’m dating myself. So be it. For what it’s worth, Beastwars probably have a higher budget.

“Realms” was the most striking impression made by Blood Becomes Fire — you might say I used the chorus for the headline of my review — and on an album of songs as big-sounding as those of Beastwars, it’s a remarkable achievement. Likewise, the video is the latest in a series of grand visual statements from the self-releasing four-piece, whose commitment to presentation is also plain to see in the cover art of their two to-date full-lengths. Still, as aware as they are of the need to draw the eye, that takes nothing away from their propensity both to bludgeon tonally or catch listeners with infectious hooks. Most of all, “Realms” proves that, and the video draws together the best of both worlds to one righteous package.

And while you’re chuckling at the fact that I just said “righteous package” without a hint of irony, get yourself abducted by Beastwars‘ video for “Realms” below:

Beastwars, “Realms” official video

Beastwars Release New Video feat. Alien Abduction // Astral Travel // Parallel Dimensions

New Zealand sludge rockers Beastwars are proud to present the brand new clip for “Realms” from their critically acclaimed new album Blood Becomes Fire.

The Hamish Waterhouse directed video explores the idea of astral travel, alien abduction and parallel dimensions coexisting in suburbia.

Beastwars are about to begin a New Zealand tour then perform at the Big Day Out festival in Auckland alongside Pearl Jam and Ghost B.C. before returning to Australia in early 2014.

Beastwars on Thee Facebooks

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Beastwars Unveil New Video for “Dune”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 2nd, 2013 by JJ Koczan

If you’ve ever seen a video before from New Zealand h-e-a-v-y heavies Beastwars (the one for “Empire” from their first album comes to mind, with “Tower of Skulls” following soon after), you know they go all out. Earlier this year, the band released their sophomore outing, Blood Becomes Fire (review here), and the clip they’ve put together for the three-minute “Dune” from the album only highlights how epic the Wellington four-piece can make three minutes sound. Also in this case, look. If the animated style wasn’t enough, nothing pushes “epic” over the top like a giant sloth.

The gritty psychedelic visuals of “Dune” were made by Skyranch.tv with funding from NZ on Air. Beastwars head to Australia for some shows in Melboune next month, and you’ll find the dates in the release included with the video below. Enjoy:

Beastwars, “Dune” official video

Beastwars Release New Video feat. a T-Rex, Giant Sloths…

…a flying motorbike, viking longship, army tanks and a traveler lost deep in time and space. They all make an appearance in this brand new video from New Zealand’s Beastwars.

Director Simon Ward of SKYRANCH says “We approached the video as an animated comic, reminiscent of Heavy Metal magazine or something straight out of a Ralph Bakshi film. We were going for something quite otherworldly and weird with a buzzy time travel story.”

“Dune” is the opening track from the critically acclaimed album Blood Becomes Fire which was released in April. Click here for the clip: http://youtu.be/CIZQHR6-Ngg

Beastwars have just announced more Australian shows this September and an appearance at the Big Day Out festival in Auckland alongside Pearl Jam and Ghost B.C.

Tour dates:
MELBOURNE
Thursday, September 26: The Espy
Friday, September 27: The Tote
Saturday, September 28: The Bendigo Hotel
Sunday, September 29: The Barwon Club – Geelong
AUCKLAND – Big Day Out – Friday, January 17: Western Springs Stadium

Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire (2013)

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