Following are New Zealand Metal releases from 2012 that have left a mark on me. For one reason or another I haven’t had the opportunity to write proper reviews for during the year, so here are brief notes and reasons for you to get excited about them. I will do another 2012 roundup for international releases in the early days of 2013, but as local releases get priority around here you get this on new years eve!
BulletBelt - Down In The Cold Of The Grave
I’d describe the music of ‘BulletBelt’ as ‘Stadium Black Metal’ with the attitude of Motorhead, or as being the opposite of what Dark Throne stated black metal should and should not be in the early 90s i.e. BulletBelt are a fun live black metal band that you can jump around and have good time to.
BulletBelt have gone all out with ‘Down in the Cold of the Grave’! The production is clean, powerful and punchy. The songs all kick ass both in their writing and performance. And of course you can’t go past the incredible cover art by the highly talented Nick Keller. In other words it’s a solid kiwi metal release that you have no excuse not to own.
If I were to give some constructive criticism on what I though could strengthen the album even more, it would be to suggest that the rest of the back consider providing backing vocals to accent or reinforce choruses such as in the title track and the cover of 80s kiwi anthem ‘Mistaken Identity’ by ‘No Tag’.
‘Down in the Cold of the Grave’ really deserves a much more in depth review than what I’m giving it here, but I’ll make up for that soon with a detailed interview with the band.
‘Down in the Cold of the Grave’ can be obtained directly from BulletBelt’s own label ‘Headless Horseman’
Nullifier - Silent Destruction
Nullifier have been around the traps in Auckland for a while playing their well executed style of technical Death Thrash. ‘Silent Destruction’ is their no frills raw debut recording. It captures the band how they are and lets their music shines through. The songs ‘Species to be Regretted’ and ‘Desire And Torment’ stand out to me particularly because of their interesting melodies and unique sounding choruses. The are a direction which I hope Nullifier continues to head in. My only gripe about this recording is that the production sounds quite rough and rushed which is something I actually normally like. For a technical thrash band like Nullifier though they would benefit from a clearer production that would allow all of the flourishes to shine through. Still this is a solid debut!
‘Silent Destruction’ is available through Headless Horseman.
Blood of the Moon - MMXII demo
Black Metal intense as balls being crushed in a high speed concrete mixer. MMXII contains three tracks, an instrumental ‘Intro’, ‘Conquered and Forgotten’ and ‘Desecrate Upon Thee’. All are fused together to create the illusion of them being one piece of continuous music. The pro-production from Jason Hislop give the release rounded clear but raw sound with one of the best bass tones and powerful drums. Well worth obtaining! I think this is completely sold out, but you can try your luck by contacting the band directly HERE
Bölzer - Roman Acupuncture - demo
|Cassette version of 'Roman Acupuncture'|
Bölzer are the honourary New Zealanders here. They are the new Swiss band of ex-pat New Zealander Okoi Jones (or ‘KzR’ as he’s known here), who was the former mainman of anti-Christchurch band ‘Aphelon’(of which also spawned Diocletian and Witchrist drummer Cam Sinclair). The 3 ‘Roman Acupuncture’ has already gained the band a decent amount of international underground exposure. Listening to the demo it’s not hard to see why. Bölzer have created their own original form of Black Frost Death Metal! With only two members (KzR on Gat and Vox and HzR on drums) the Bölzer sound features some of the most unique and dark rhythms and chord tones I’ve heard in metal to date. What’s even more exciting is that since this recording has been released they have put out this incredible new advanced track from an upcoming EP:
Headless Horseman still has CD and Cassette copies of ‘Roman Acupuncture’ for sale but get in now: https://www.facebook.com/HeadlessHorsemannz
Forsaken Age - Back from Extinction
Forsaken Age are one of a growing number of bands appearing around New Zealand that play old school 80s style Heavy Metal. ‘Back from Extinction’ their debut, is nothing short of a rocking and fun listen full of anthemic homages to the gods of Heavy Metal. My preference is to see them in the live environment with a few brews under my belt as they play alongside scene mates Stormforge, Hedonic and Stone Monarch. ‘Back from Extinction’ is the ideal souvenir to take from a Forsaken Age show. But you still need to be there.
Note: There have also been 2012 releases from Open Tomb, Meth Drinker, Anno Domini Mortus and Razorwyre. I will be featuring reviews of these along with interviews with said bands in early 2013.
ALSO COMING IN 2013 - 'SUBCIDE ZINE #4'