Review: Beastwars – The Death of All Things


“Obey the riff” is Beastwars‘ maxim. Who’s gonna argue?

A little background for those who aren’t already familiar with Beastwars. The Kiwi quartet have been building their sludgy epic stoner doom sound since 2007, and so far have three solid full-length albums under their scuffed-up warrior’s belt. They first caught my attention with their self-titled debut in 2011. As is the case so often, I was drawn to their album through the incredible artwork presented on its cover. Partly due to the ridiculous number of bands we sift through on a yearly basis, coupled with my infamously terrible memory, they kinda fell off my radar prior to 2013’s Blood Becomes Fire, such that I don’t really remember listening to it during that time at all. Now in 2016, I can again attribute their re-emergence in my peripheral vision to another of the striking oil paintings by fellow New Zealander Nick Keller. Good thing too, as it seems the band have progressed along nicely, further concentrating their attack with pleasing results.

The stream above has been set by the band to start on track 5. Skip back to the start if you like, doesn’t really matter, there aren’t any bad songs, but I think if you want to check out the band’s rockier side, opener “Call to the Mountain” is your best bet. Alternatively, if you’re looking to hear their doomier aspect, start at “Devil’s of Last Night” (track 2) and you’ll be greeted by some huge bass-heavy stomping similar to those of Haast’s Eagled. The guitar tone and playing style is quite reminiscent of Red Fang‘s dual attack, although Beastwars manage to achieve this with just the one guitarist. The subtle harmonies could be likened to the quiet but no less powerful wing-strokes of a large bird taking flight. Sorry, I just got lost staring at that cover again. Even at its hastiest moments, the riffing is mid-paced and utilises a lot of varying degrees of palm-muting and feedback. This opens the gate for the bass to rise to prominence on multiple occasions. And while it certainly does get its fair share of the kill, the sound gives the impression that it is constantly struggling to free itself from several layers of accumulated surface filth, as it threshes, thrashes and violently jerks around in the mix. The drums have a distinct natural thud to them, although there are a couple of parts where when isolated, the kicks have a nice reverberation not too dissimilar from Bonzo’s famous staircase sound used on the Zeppelin classic “When The Levee Breaks”.


Matt Hyde’s vocals are a little less trad-doomy this time around, as he dials back some of the Crypt Sermon-esque bellows for more of the wince-inducing hoarseness. If you’ve never heard his unique voice before, try to imagine an ungodly amalgam of Matt Caughthran’s (The Bronx) post-punk anger and the throat-scouring stoner roars of Matt Pike (Papilla perspirus), along with everything in between. I’m usually relatively indifferent to vocals, but on The Death of All Things I found myself paying extra attention to his performance, no doubt due to his strong presence throughout. When you hear the pangs of anguish calling straight from the 70’s on tracks such as the acoustic “The Devil Took Her”, or sounds like the demented newborn scream at the end of “Holy Man”, it’s hard not to take notice.


Throughout this feast of an album it seems the band are periodically rotated on a lazy susan/steven, so that there is nearly always one instrument thrust to the front and center of stage. The guitars, drums, vocals, and to a lesser extent, the bass, all share the limelight, taking turns to impress your ears with their individual contributions. Sometimes the pieces overlap for a few bars, segueing smoothly into focus under the scope. Other times the transition is immediate, as one piece all but silences the others, and proceeds to court like an alpha male attempting to demonstrate his prowess to you, the listener. For the most part, this cavorting feels almost flattering, but it’s when the band align and hit a groove in unison that you see their true power. This is something I would have liked to hear a bit more of, as I feel the consolidated impact approach should be the dominant force in a typically “flashless” genre. Overall, the album is a well-balanced trek that takes you just far enough away from the norm without going too far or too long, leaving The Death of All Things as quite possibly their strongest release to date.

3.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

The Death of All Things was released on April 22nd and can be purchased here, also if you want to support the guys head over to their friendface page and let them know it.

(Image via)

Did you dig this? Take a second to support Toilet ov Hell on Patreon!
  • The beer drinking and smoke is strong with this one.

  • Mother Shabubu
    • Cowboy Dick

      Damn that pictures busier’n an armadillo in a ZZ top video. I reckon.

    • Man, I had so many of these toys. They’re all still in my parents’ basement somewhere, haha.

    • brokensnow

      Pretty much.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Cool review man. And this is good sounding stuff. Makes me want like, a giant bong and a couple of wombats.

    • Dave Vincent’s Perm

      Doooooooooooood my favourite band are playing in Leeds in November

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse


        • Dave Vincent’s Perm

          Akercocke. Also possibly pissgrave, if a certain post on their Facebook is to be believed.

          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            Ah, nice one. At Damnation right? I’m seeing Akercocke in London in September. Should be pretty gnarly.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Yeah, Nails and Enslaved are playing at damnation as well. The lineup looked kinda stale besides those two bands until Akercocke were announced.

          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            Bet they’ll be a great fit for Damnation. I noticed that getting booked for there got them dropped from Bloodstock, which was a bit lame. Enslaved just rule generally. Guess now you just gamble on the smarter big big bookings portending similarly smart ones among the to be announced smaller fry.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            My history teacher said that Akercocke playing Damnation in 2009 was one of the best gigs he’d been to. I always find outdoor festivals disappointing anyway.

          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            I’ve had fairly mixed experiences with outdoor festivals but the good times at them have been pretty amazing, and I generally like the variety, getting to see a good amount of bands that I wouldn’t usually go for much day to day. Indoor ones are perhaps more intensely fulfilling though.

  • Joaquin Stick

    I do like the doomier song you mentioned out of the few I have heard so far. When the move in the rocky-er direction I am less excited, but it’s decent. Nice review!

  • EsusMoose

    Heard these guys yesterday thanks to spotify’s personal discover weekly playlist, seemed alright. Ended up looking into how far Kiwi-land was from kangaroo-land (seemed to be 800-1000 miles) because my expectation is that music equipment probably is fairly expensive in Wombatopia so New Zealand would be even more expensive.

    • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

      Holy shit, I just looked and Sydney to Auckland is over 1,300 miles. I had no idea.

      • EsusMoose

        Yeah I thought they were a little closer than that

      • Lacertilian

        A lot of open space down here, man.

  • Waynecro

    Speaking of New Zealand, I finally saw Deathgasm. I enjoyed it.

    • more beer

      It was very amusing.

  • this band has mastered the art of album artwork. my favorite:

    • Lacertilian

      I’ve been using a couple of Nick Keller’s works in my desktop wallpaper rotation for a few years. Can stare at them for hours! I think a couple of these are Beastwars and the other is something else.

      • Lacertilian

        Could also make an amazing atmospheric black metal cover.

        • Lacertilian

          Potential prog cover?

          • nope, tech death

          • Lacertilian

            I think you’ll find it’s spelled “NOPE!”.

          • i wait for the day when Disqus lets us use more HTML (fonts, links) in the comments.

        • nope, wintersun-core

        • InfinityOfThoughts

          I’d buy that in a heartbeat if it had some tangled metal logo that looked like a thicket of thorns on it.

          And if it turned out to be stoner/sludge, well…time to break out the PBR.

          • brokensnow

            Don’t forget the neck beard.

          • InfinityOfThoughts

            I’ve got one of those stuffed in a closet somewhere…gonna have to dig it out.

          • brokensnow

            stole mine off a homeless/hipster person.

          • InfinityOfThoughts

            With the flesh still attached? Only way to be kvlt and trve.

  • BACH!!!!!!!!

    Pretty good! Kinda reminds me of a more upbeat The Obsessed.

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    “Papilla Perspirus” hue hue hue…

    • Lacertilian

      I knew that would give a particular someone a smile at least!
      It’s your new binomial name.

      • JWEG

        I must say I hope it’s just coincidence that the Latin words for ‘a nipple’ (-shaped thing) and ‘a butterfly’ are only a few vowels different…

        (papilla vs. papillio)

        • brokensnow

          scream of the nipple…teat of butterfly.

          • JWEG

            Suddenly I find myself wondering if Kendrick Lamar is actually a Latin scholar being bawdy.

    • JWEG


  • Óðinn

    Thanks Lacertilian. I really liked their last album. I’ll check out The Death of All Things.