30 Jan 2022

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WHITE NØISE MAFIA - Single/Video Review: The Divide

29 Jun 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

Last year I was fortunate enough to see all the heats and one of the semi-finals for the Ding Dong Lounge Battle of the Bands competition and came away incredibly impressed with a band who had formed just in time to play a gig at the venue, and to be then allowed to enter the competition. When they played their heat, I was immediately impressed, as were the judges, and I came away wondering if they were like that at their second ever gig what on earth would they be doing in a few years’ time. That band was of course White Nøise Mafia and I have been lucky enough to see them play a few times since then, and each time they just keep getting better.

At the back sits Neo Lee, one of those drummers who seems to understand innately what he needs to do to add to a song and is prepared to take the lead in certain passages and sit back in the pocket in others. Locked in with him is bassist Matt Sansome, who fronts the cover to the single, someone who understands his role in providing that heavy bottom end which underpins everything the band does, providing that rich contrast. In Matt Holden they have a guitarist who lives and breathes being in a rock band, always with a smile on his face as he crunches out the riffs, and then in the middle of it all is Chris Webb.  Chris never has a hair out of place, unlike young Mr. Holden, always looking smooth and calm until he stands in front of a microphone and then he cranks into the riffs and knows just what to do to drive the audience crazy.

Needless to say, the band not only got through their heat and semi but came away at the end with the top prize, which saw them heading into the studio to record this with Dave Rhodes, after which they filmed a video with Francis Wheeler. The last time I saw them play this song was when they opened at The Tuning Fork (some six months on from forming – their target was 18), as this is what they launched into from the off and within a few bars the stage was being rushed. Chris started playing with his back to the stage and turned around to find they were being mobbed – bear in mind that at that point very few people had seen them play and there was no product available, but there was an immediate connection. Dave Rhodes has an extremely high reputation in the NZ scene, and here he has captured not only the energy of this crunching rock band but allowed the layers to shine through. After a short introduction they are into the groove, but when the verse commences everyone takes a step backwards apart from Neo, who starts pummeling around the kit, which allows the listener to focus on the vocals and lyrics. The riffs come back in for the bridge, and then we are into the commercial chorus where anyone hearing this just has to bounce. The song keeps moving and swirling, so there is a spoken word section which gradually builds and then turns into something which could have almost come out of Meshuggah.

The video for The Divide shows the guys playing the song, but there are multiple cuts all the way through with everyone having their time centre stage in the spotlight, even Neo, at which point the rest of the guys are stood playing behind him. The quick edits and camera movements combine with the dynamic lighting to really capture the energy of this exciting band. This song and video are going to launch this young band to the world, and if they are doing this at less than a year together just what are they going to achieve in the future? Alien Weaponry has shown there is a market for metal from Aotearoa on the international stage, and yet again here we have a ridiculously young band showing that the sky really is the limit.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )


WHITE NØISE MAFIA is a 4 piece heavy alternative rock band established in July 2020 and based in Auckland, New Zealand. The band strives to put on an all-out show with heavy riffs, crushing beats, booming low end and catchy vocals to hook the listener into their performance. They take inspiration from bands such as Linkin Park, Blindspott, BMTH, Slipknot etc. In the long run they seek to leave a lasting impact on the local scene and make a name for themselves.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for WHITE NØISE MAFIA


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