Beyond the Black festival, New Years Eve 2011, Trentham Wellington
It was a crap rainy day as I hit Upper Hutt early on New Years Eve ready to get my metal on for New Zealand’s first heavy metal and rock New Year’s festival. The beauty of this event unlike many others around the country was that most of this festival was inside. It was raining but it didn’t dampen the spirits.
The day started quite early as gigs go starting just before lunch but with sixteen bands to get through you had to kick off early. There were only a few punters in to see the first few bands which was a pity because in my view two of the bands which opened the festival were two of my highlights.
Bulletbelt opened proceedings in style with a huge set of black metal. I have seen these guys a few times now and they have a huge and solid sound. They are about to add another guitar to the line-up with is very exciting. They are traditional black metal with a slight punk flavour. The band has the image and the sound to boot and they are gonna be a force to reckon with in the not so far off future. I am a big fan and can’t wait to see the new line-up touring soon.
Draco Aerius were up next and delivered more black metal with slightly more death orientated style. They are another band that I really like and have seen a few times. They have been around for almost a decade now and are a tight unit even through a few line-up changes.
The crowd were just starting to arrive by now.
Advocates were the first of the metal core type bands with Of Blackest Oceans and Depths pulling off solid sets and get the crowd amped. I was really excited to see Depths as they are from the Manawatu, my stomping ground.
Tainted from Christchurch are always powerhouses to watch and are very energetic. Slim their front man is very active and runs around like a mad man shoving the microphone in people’s faces and having great crowd interaction.
Head Like A Hole are in my opinion New Zealand’s finest rock act. They have been a rare sight to behold in the last decade only playing a few very select shows. I have been privileged to see two of these recently and was very amped for their appearance. They came and they destroyed utter awesomeness. Booga swaggered and swayed, growled and moaned and brought smiles to all those gathered with his witty and humorous on stage banter.
Sonic Altar were awesome I only caught a few songs of their set as I was busy with interviews but made my way quickly to the stage when they played a cover of Ozzy Osborne’s Mr Crowley and man was it a blinder I found myself quickly singing along and playing air guitar to one of the great hard rock solos.
Indicator Dogs had come a long way to entertain us coming back to us from the states and they didn’t let the crowd down. This was a rock festival and they were a rock band and I think the part of the beauty of this festival was the mix between rock and metal bands. The organisers had the line up very well balanced.
Subtract are brutal. They have a very hard in your face sound that bludgeons you into submission. They have been around for a long while now and still are as strong as ever.
In Dread Response really got the crowd going. They are another very interactive band and pull of a great show. Their singer storms around the stage and commands your attention while the rest of the band thrashes out riffs and pounds out beats at a very quick rate. They are metal core but manage to keep it fresh and original.
Sinate are gaining a huge following take up the mantle from 8 Foot Sativa and stepping it up a notch. These guys are about to head off shore again to spread the kiwi metal name and what great ambassadors we have. They have a great stage presence and Matt Sinate gets the crowd pumped and the pit moving. Bass player Brent Fox has learnt a few tips from Kiss character The Demon Gene Simmons and if he had the make up on you would have swore it was him. It was great to watch this band and they are definitely gonna be a big name in band to watch out for in the future.
Midnight rolled around and we were treated to a Led Zeppelin covers band before the band that a lot of people were there to see. The last band to take the stage was the mighty Axeman's band Devilskin. What a great way it was to end the event. They put on a massive show and the crowd totally rocked out. They have only played a few shows but are already making their mark on the New Zealand Metal scene.
Beyond the Black was an awesome way to spend New Years and I will be at the next one of these events. The crowd was pleased and the bands rocked us all into the wee hours of 2012. The organisation of this event was top notch and for a first year of a festival this is a promising start. Bring on the next Beyond the Black.