28 Jan 2023

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Ovus - Gig Review: Ovus @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 14/01/2023

15 Jan 2023 // A review by Kev Rowland

Having spent an incredible two weeks at home on South Island, it was now back up to Auckland and it was soon back into the live scene with my first gig at Dead Witch for 2023. Tonight was going to be interesting as I recently reviewed Ovus’s EP, Lucid, and it would be the first time I had seen Afterlight since they changed their name from Antebellum. First up though was Mudshark, a band I last saw towards the end of 2020.

The guys have a somewhat unusual line-up as there is no traditional bassist, and comprises Rory (vocals), Mort (guitar, vocals), Parsa (drums, vocals) and Nate (keyboards). I was chatting with Nate beforehand and said I was surprised I had not seen them play in such a long time, but like many bands they were messed up by Covid and lockdowns, and hopefully we will be seeing more of them this year. They kicked off with Emperor Fenguin, with Rory showing right from the off why he is so highly regarded as a frontman as he puts so much into what he is doing, while the rest of the guys mix complex music and intertwined melodies into something which brings in influences from Tool and others, mixing it all up into a sound which is immediately identifiable as Mudshark. There are not many quartets utilising keyboards like this in the local scene, providing some nice blanket chords which contrasts well with the sharp strike of the drums, and the hard-hitting guitar of Mort who also has a nice line in growled vocals. 

The band are renowned for having an interesting line in song titles, and after Nebgatables we were into Panda which is a nice bouncy up and down number with some great drum patterns. Some running repairs to the drumkit saw us then into Bwen Stefani, one of their most commercial numbers, and I was constantly being reminded of why these guys are such a good time, and that is because they are all having a good time on stage so it comes down to us in the crowd. They are out to have fun, and are really good at what they do, mixing together different types of rock and metal to make something which is solidly Mudshark. Rory has a great singing voice, but he can also scream and growl, and shows this all off in Eight, one of their more recent numbers. From this we went into their circus number, Neb Flat, although while the vibe was definitely there (love the keyboards), no-one took Rory up on the opportunity of doing acrobatics in the audience (shame). They ended the set with Lamb of God’s Laid To Rest, and a cry of asking where was Nik? This again shows the band in another light with the keyboards playing a major role in their heaviest number yet. Nik made it up in time for the second verse and he and Rory then put in a great twin performance which had everyone moving. What a way to end the set! 

Now it was time for the recently renamed Afterlight, which still has the same line-up of Daniel Beeler on guitar, Ash Rolston on drums and Isaac Martin on bass. I was asking Ash before the gig what the difference was going to be in the sound as he told me that they were going in a new direction, but  I would have to wait and find out. It didn’t take long, as they have removed the laptop which used to be in front of Daniel, and although they did kick off with an intro track before moving into Origin, there was a real difference to how the guys looked onstage, and the sound seemed far more powerful. Daniel is on a 7-string and Isaac on a 5-string, and they tend to keep to their places on stage left and stage right, partially as this gives the crowd the opportunity to see what Ash is doing as he is one of the most animated drummers one will ever see with a wide range of facial expressions, and tonight a rather fetching hat. 

The change in the use of samples (which are nowhere near as apparent as they used to be) has cleaned up the overall sound and allowed the band to really express themselves while looking as if they are not trapped by a computer. In a trio there is no room for mistakes, and everyone needs to be fully locked together, and that is what we were getting here with all three joined together in technical progressive metal of massive complexity, and while Ash may appear to be playing the fool, his footwork is amazing, adding drive to the constantly changing tempos and rhythms with superb use of the kick drum. Isaac provides the link through to Daniel who is constantly moving up and down the neck, using many different techniques to keep driving the melody. Songs like Ambition are incredibly heavy, loads of crunch and mathcore, while Daniel also uses the opportunity to show that as well as power chords he can really shred, with Isaac and Ash keeping it tight behind him. Their songs are all quite short given the genre they are playing, yet they never have an issue with finishing and constantly display the confidence which only comes from playing many shows together. This is the third or fourth time I have seen these guys and there is no doubt that tonight was the one I enjoyed most as everything just seemed right, with the complexity never getting in the way of musicality and melody, all coming together in a very powerful way indeed. They ended with the banger which is Crusade and their style of prog metal is certainly endearing and hopefully I will see them again in the near future. 

Now we had Ovus, an instrumental technical prog metal quartet from Wellington. I was already impressed as not only was Joe Murphy (guitar) wearing a Pencarrow shirt when he arrived (apparently the bands are great mates and often gig together) but they had merch for sale, and they have brought it with them! That it included a pink sweatshirt is neither here nor there. The rest of the band are Adam Sive (guitar), Joshua Murray (big guitar – which is actually a 6-string bass. I asked what happened if he broke a string and was told it was okay, he had another 6-string on stage tuned and ready to go) and drummer Jignesh Jasmat. Over the last few years, they have been concentrating on writing and rehearsing and not so much playing live but hopefully that is going to change this year. They kicked off with Mesosphere, the opener from the EP, with Joe gently bending some chords and then they were off. The complexity of this music is quite staggering, yet they are a full-blown rock band, and everyone is into the music and moving as much as they can on stage. Joe is the more dynamic of the two guitarists, taking centre stage with his sailor’s cap (what is it with hats tonight?)  but Joshua looks as if he is auditioning for a death metal band as while his fingers never stop moving (and we even get some tapping) his head is always in motion as he is so into the music while Jignesh is fully invested, attacking the kit like a man possessed. Just two songs in, with the second being 2CB (also from the EP) and the crowd were already reacting in a very positive manner indeed. 

They build soundscapes, and the listener never knows where they are going as with these musicians there are endless possibilities, and on Noodles both Adam and Joe are tapping away, in perfect harmony. For Kato they slowed it down somewhat, giving both themselves and the audience something of a breather, and it even gave time for Joshua to have a short but perfectly formed bass lead. This starts much more into the world of fusion, showing a quite different side to the band, although the guitars do pick up and become far more driven in the second half. One would expect a lot of tuning and retuning to take place during the set but the guys have this done to a fine art, with set times for Joe to talk so it can take place, and prior to Lucid Dreams he continued with some feedback while Joshua and Adam quickly got sorted, with Jignesh continuing, and they picked up a melody while he changed guitar, and then we were off. It was seamless and very clever as it meant there was no hanging around and loss of momentum. 

The note density on this one is immense, and those at the front were being matched by the drummer at the back with some insane kick drums and plenty of fills. Somehow, they then lifted it even more with Vulgaris which was simply brutal – it is always nice when a prog metal band really goes for the second half of that equation while also keeping it complex and complicated and that is certainly what we were getting here. Ninjas started in a slightly more commercial manner, but soon changed into something far more robust with elements of mathcore and djent showing these guys really know what they are doing in plenty of different tech styles. Joe was even down on his knees at one point as he used the controls on his pedalboard to create a backwash of sound for the rest of the guys to lean into. From here on in it was keep pushing to the end, with all four musicians adding so much to the overall music we were taken on a very wild ride indeed.

They are one heck of a band, and this was a great way to start my gigs for 2023. I am sure we are going to be hearing much more from all these guys this year.


Photo Credit: Kev Rowland


About Ovus

Prog instrumentalists Ovus present their highly anticipated debut EP, Lucid. Experience powerful, mind bending soundscapes drenched in playful melodies. Lucid is layered with meticulous details upon tight rhythmic foundations that will keep you reaching for the repeat button and discovering new flourishes on every listen.

Ovus came together for the joy of creating music without boundaries. The last few years have seen Ovus share the stage with notable local and international bands including Canadian prog kings and inspirational heroes, Intervals.

Highly regarded for their lively and energetic shows, Ovus are looking to take things on the road in early 2023, coming to Auckland, Hamilton, Napier and Christchurch.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ovus


Year: 2022
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Gig Review: Midnight Green & Kazia @ The Thirsty Dog, Auckland - 21/01/2022
21 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
After being blasted the previous night at Dead Witch, tonight I was at The Thirsty for what promised to be a very different affair indeed, with two soul/jazz/pop bands. Beforehand I was talking to the bar manager who told me that soon they will be closing for renovations, after which they will open up with the stage in a different place, and it promises to be much improved, so I am really looking forward to seeing the end results.
Gig Review: The Rising Tide @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 20/01/2023
20 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Back to Dead Witch tonight for my first time seeing The Rising Tide who were up from Palmerston North in support of their excellent new EP, The Hope We Die For. They had also invited a few other bands who I have seen before, namely Brawler NZHC who I saw supporting Xile, plus favourites Unwanted Subject and Pale Flag who were both at the Downfall of Humanity release show.
Gig Review: Music In Parks - Helensville @ Helensville River Reserve, Auckland - 15/01/2023
15 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Each Summer, the Auckland Council put on a series of free outdoor concerts in different places around the city, and today was the second this year, and definitely had a country flavour with Keith Pereira, Louis Jarlov and Sam Bartells. Not only are the shows free, but they all take place in the afternoon, so this gig was set to take place between 1 and 4!
Adam McGrath - Album Review: Dear Companions
08 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Due to many reasons, I have been somewhat late to the underground NZ scene but over the last few years have been fortunate enough to meet some incredible people, see some amazing performances, and hear some wonderful music. All of these come together in one man, Adam McGrath, leader of The Eastern.
Holy Crime - Single Review: Play Toy
08 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Holy Crime are a relatively new band from Auckland, comprising Benny Richards (guitar, vocals), Tom Anderson (bass, vocals), Jacob Stutton (guitar) and Mat Hinton (drums), with Play Toy being their debut single. Sometimes, just sometimes, one hears a song and immediately a smile comes across the face and it stays there right until the end and that is the case with this one with its unabashed influences of The Darkness and Eighties glam rock.
The Rising Tide - EP Review: The Hope We Die For
05 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Palmerston North deathcore band The Rising Tide had a great 2022, touring for the first time in six years and here we are now with their latest EP which is being released in time for a quick nationwide tour which sees them playing Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, and Christchurch. They may call themselves deathcore, but to be honest they probably have more in common with “straight” death based on these three songs, although there is a lot going on.
EP Review: Chasing Titans
28 Dec 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut EP by Auckland-based metalcore trio Chasing Titans who were formed in 2018 and comprise Adrian Govender (guitar, vocals), Sylvester Porizakova (bass, vocals), and Torrance Kam (drums). The name is inspired by the original Greek Titans and reflects the philosophy of never giving up on one’s biggest dreams and striving for greatness.
Miinds - Single Review: Loveless
20 Dec 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Miinds came together in 2020, which was probably not the best time for a band to be forming, but they all knew each other from different projects and were soon writing music together, albeit remotely. Loveless is the first song they came up with, and is also their first ever release, ahead of an EP which will be coming out in February.
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Miley Cyrus
    RAYE feat. 070 Shake
    Sam Smith And Kim Petras
    David Guetta And Bebe Rexha
    Metro Boomin, The Weeknd And 21 Savage
    Taylor Swift
    venbee And goddard.
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem