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Beastwars - Beastwars @ Kings Arms, Auckland 22/11/13

24 Nov 2013 // A review by JesseBlackleaf

For me personally, the name Beastwars was not one that held a lot of influence in my life. Over the years my friends, band mates and colleagues had told tales to me of the epicness that Beastwars put into their shows and the power one of their live performances holds. I had not gotten along to any of their tours before so when the opportunity arose for me to review the gig I was most honoured to accept.

I arrived into my favourite venue, The Kings Arms, just in time to catch the first act, Bloodbags. The first thing I noticed was the insanely loud sound mix. I was punched in the face with the bass and the guitar tone was ripping my ear holes asunder. A few seconds later the ear plugs went in so I had a true feel for the band’s sound. Bloodbags are a three piece band that has a classic punk rock feel to their playing. Thick bass and drums were bouncing off each other which created the groove feel that Bloodbags were looking to pull off. The front man of the band was getting into the music a lot and shredding his guitar like a mad man. I was getting into these guys alright and finding them enjoyable, before the set progressed and the songs were quite one dimensional, all sounding similar to the one they just played. There was a fair amount of people watching and they seemed to enjoy it but it was apparent that everyone was patiently awaiting the main act, Beastwars.

At this stage in the night quite a lot of punters had arrived to witness the greatness of Beastwars and the venue was feeling quite on the full side. After casual chats with friends and band mates, most people headed inside to see second opening act, Lord of Tigers. Another three piece band that ripped the faces off of any and all that were in their presence with amazing tone and heavy riffs. The guitars and bass were drop tuned creating a feel reminiscent of musical gods Mastodon. For the first half of the set I was a little unimpressed with the quality of vocals in comparison to the other instruments, but as things progressed and moved forward a more diverse element of vocal talent came through. The bassist played an intense looking Rickenbacker bass which he combined with extremely thick distortion and pick techniques creating an unbelievably fat sound suited to the genre. Purists like myself were a little put off by such thick use of bass distortion which destroyed tone but inside the rock/doom/metal genre it worked perfectly. Lord of Tigers did an awesome job at creating a massive doom metal/rock sound with creative songs and huge tone at the cost of a little stage presence; however for a three piece band this can be forgiven. Great band all around.

Third band of the night was metal blues rockers, Arc of Ascent. Even before the band played the crowd was buzzing with conversation of Arc of Ascent. “This band is great!” “Have you heard these guys before?” “I remember them from last time, Arc of Ascent are amazing!” Were a few of the comments I picked up on whilst hovering around the pit area as I enjoy doing at the Arms. Straight off the bat Arc of Ascent impressed me with clean vocals and a classic rock/metal groove that had the crowd moving and me banging my head in appreciation of the good music. Shockingly to me Arc of Ascent was another three piece band that had the bassist on lead vocals playing a Rickenbacker bass, another guitarist playing a Les Paul and a simple drummer locking down a sweet beat. As the set went on you could tell that these rockers were experienced, they had their chops down no problem but were lacking the high energy presence of younger musicians in the scene today. Arc of Ascent, like the previous two bands, played songs that were very reliant on the feel and bounce that they created rather than having epic diverse songs. This comes with the territory of blues/rock/metal however, but to me who is a fan of all genres with a high standard, they were a tad repetitive and uninteresting after the first couple of tracks. As I was walking around the venue looking for conversation the sounds of Arc of Ascent were carrying well in the airwaves and the atmosphere was great. People were, happy, chatty and having a swell time. I found myself lost in conversation with several people while the band was on when after a while it was all over. The pieces were set, the players were ready, Beastwars were about to begin.

I situated myself square in the middle of the pit in order to get the best sound experience and quickly came to realise that half of the attendees had the same idea. The room was packed and the energy was excited and expectant. Luckily for me my feet were armed with 14UP Doc Martens and they were about to get their first mosh pit break in. The second Beastwars initiated their opening track, the mosh broke into a fierce melee of new comers and mosh veterans alike. I endured the fray whilst attempting to take notes simultaneously which didn’t work as well as I had hoped. Beastwars’ front man was the first thing that struck me as amazing. He had such power in his voice it was incredible. The guitar and bass tones were both so huge and the tracks that were being played in front of me were timeless, catchy and full of sweet groove. As a first time listener of Beastwars I found them very easy to get into and even easier to dance to. Not a single person in the venue was standing still. Inside the pit the energy was electric; people everywhere were losing their minds and dancing, crashing, bashing, and pushing into everyone and anyone in reach. Beastwars are pure professionals and have the fan base to prove it. Very few words were spoken while interacting with the crowd but it was like it was unneeded. The band demanded respect through pure charisma, showmanship and skill of song writing. Even as the set pushed on Beastwars did not lose any energy or momentum. The crowd was begging for more and I was begging for more of the lead singer’s addictive and thunderous voice. The lights show for Beastwars had been setup very well giving off a really cool and fun effect. Lots of flicking between blue and red in the early songs but then switched up again for the later songs in the set. The atmosphere was fantastic and I am now a Beastwars fan for life.

Beastwars have doom rock down to a fine art combining chucky riffs with fat bass, tight drums and amazing vocals that will tear you apart. They are a band that has done the hard yards; they’ve earned the respect of their fans over the years and now me with a fabulous show and fantastic energy. I WILL be back for more.

Jesse Reeves

 

About Beastwars

New Zealand sludge metal four-piece Beastwars abide by one steadfast maxim: Obey the Riff. Described as "a mongrel mix of Kyuss, Neurosis, and the mighty Godflesh..." (NZ Herald) and playing "heavy tunes for heavy times" (ALARM), the Wellington-based sonic soothsayers utilize the chaos that engulfs our world as ammunition for their defiant howls into the abyss.

Two years on from their internationally acclaimed, self-titled debut, Beastwars return on 20 April 2013 with Blood Becomes Fire. The new album serves witness to the end of days, told through the eyes of a dying traveler from another time. It is a work inspired by eternal themes. "It's a reflection on mortality, death and disease. Sooner or later they come for all of us and we've all screamed to the gods for answers, not that they've ever come."

On Blood Becomes Fire Beastwars hammer the story home with concussive force. "It’s a heavy album, both sonically and lyrically, but what solidifies it are the really triumphant 'fuck yeah' riffs. To us, this music is like getting psyched up to go into battle. You could be at war with someone else or yourself.”

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Beastwars

Releases

IV
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
The Death Of All Things
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Blood Becomes Fire
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Beastwars
Year: 2011
Type: Album

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