Beastwars w/ Operation Rolling Thunder and Kahu

Chicks Hotel Saturday May 21

With wild, possessed eyes and a gruff white beard, Beastwars frontman Matt Hyde is the living embodiment of his music. Possessing a guttural roar, akin to that of a demonic warlock, his dominating presence is impossible to ignore. Controlling the attention of the crowd with ease, behind his shamanic figure Beastwars matches his growl with sheer unbridled power. Producing a wall of primal, hypnotic and just plain fucking brutal metal, Beastwars’ brand of sonic sludge heralds the coming of the apocalypse on the Saturday it was all supposed to end.
Filling the small Chicks Hotel to near capacity, the sense of expectation was suffocating. Although beginning life nearly five years ago, 2011 has proved the year of opportunity for this Wellington powerhouse. Following a typically leveling set during February’s Campus A Low Hum, Beastwars has honed and distilled their sound into their debut album and subsequent tour. Released on gatefold vinyl and CD, Beastwars (the album) is a local metal classic. Filled with turmoil, low-tuned guitars and a lyrical palate of fury and fire, Beastwars’ fusion of killer riffs and pounding grooves is thankfully no different in the live setting.
Opening number “Damn The Sky”, with its searing guitar intro and the half-time to end all half time’s, instantly captivates, its intensity to be feared and respected. With a receptive crowd already moshing in unison, and an ear bleeding decibel level (courtesy in part of Dunedin’s own sonic wizard Ian Sweetman), the impossibly tight Beastwars seem deservedly self-assured as they deliver their potent and precise set of furious moods and doom-laden dynamics. Experts in their field, Beastwars know their sound and its audience well, with their material never becoming repetitive given the commanding nature of its sound and delivery. When Hyde let loose in “Lake of Fire”, his voice tearing itself in half during the tracks chorus, Beastwars sounded untouchable. Full of venom, snarl and swagger, and with far more to offer than the exclusive and often alienating “metal” genre tag implies, Beastwars are a devastating fusion of sight and sound.
An encore later, and the purely and utterly badass Beastwars have given one of the best performances in Dunedin’s recent memory. Beastwars kindly suggest we “obey the riff”, and if their set is any indication, I’d wholeheartedly agree.
Posted 1:34am Friday 1st July 2011 by Sam Valentine.