If you recognize that amazing artwork above by Nick Keller, it may be because just a few days ago we included it in a feature about his work. It graces the cover of an equally amazing self-titled album by New Zealand’s Beastwars. And today, we’re pleased as all hell to premiere a song from the album entitled “Call Out the Dead”.
Beastwars originally self-released this album in their home country in May 2011, where it generated a ton of buzz and earned the band a nomination (as one of only three finalists) for Best Rock Album in the 2011 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards as well as selection as one of seven finalists (out of 87 submissions) for the country’s 2011 Taite Music Prize. Now the album is finally getting a worldwide release through Destroy/EMI Records — on September 11 in North America and a day earlier elsewhere.
No one song on the album fully represents the album as a whole, which is one of the reasons why it’s such a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. Every song has its own character, yet they’re related to each other through the presence of powerful, earth-moving riffs, enormously catchy hooks, and the completely riveting vocals of Matt Hyde (which are themselves dramatically variable).
The album reminds us of the best work of Mastodon, though more primal and occult in its feel, with helpings of Sabbathian-style doom, Melvins-style sludge, Alabama Thunderpussy-style Southern groove, psychedelia, and a whole shitload of evil.
Four songs have already had official premieres (and we’ll give you the links for those later), and we got our pick among the remaining five tracks. Choosing was not easy, but ultimately “Call Out the Dead” won out. Among all the vocal styles that Matt Hyde displays on this album, the one on this song is among the most unhinged and unclean, so of course we found it very appealing. He sounds like he’s gargling with pieces of his own lungs.
And “Call Out the Dead” is also built around barbed hooks that you’ll have trouble dislodging once you’ve heard them (try not to sing along with the chorus — we dare you). And hot damn, the combo of beefy, distorted verse riffs and ringing, squalling guitar leads in the chorus is awful fuckin’ sweet. And the change in the melody and rhythm that happens at the 3:14 mark is going to get your head bobbing even harder. Listen:
We can’t help but show you again the award-winning full gatefold album art, both exterior and interior, that Nick Keller created for this record, because it’s just so fucking cool (click on the images below to see even bigger versions):
And now, here are links for three of the other four tracks that have premiered to date. The first one is available for free download if you follow the link (and I’m embedding that track, too):
“Damn the Sky”:
And the fourth track is in the form of a music video. The song is “Empire”. The video was produced by a young talented crew led by director Hamish Waterhouse who spent 6 months creating a strange new world. It’s insectile, it’s aboriginal, it’s occult, it’s one of the best metal videos of the year. To quote from The Obelisk, which featured it in July: “Things to look out for include animal sacrifice, a massive pyre, old-man-death-as-metaphor and a 10-month-old baby being pulled from the carcass of a wildebeest.”