Sep 222023

Any year that sees the release of a new album by New Zealand’s Bulletbelt is a very good year, no matter how much shit is raining down around the rest of the calendar. At least that’s the conclusion you’d draw from all the many expressions of enthusiasm we’ve showered on the band at this site going back to 2014, when their second album Rise of the Banshee came out.

Now they’ve got another full-length, Burn It Up, which is officially being released today via Impaler Records. In many ways it’s surprising, as compared to what we’ve come to expect, due in part to the advent of a new Bulletbelt vocalist, whose talents have led to band to expand the influences of classic heavy metal, power metal, and rock in their songwriting.

On the other hand, the new album also includes songs that are more in line with the kind of verbiage we’ve used in the past (which included frequent comparative references to the band Midnight), words and phrases like “viscerally appealing”, “stunningly contagious”, “absolutely electrifying”, “hard-hitting”, and “anthemic”.

All of which is to say that Burn It Up is quite a varied album — and even more varied than the preceding paragraphs might lead you to expect. Vivid proof of that comes in the form of the frightening video we’re premiering today for the new album’s devastating fourth track, “No Afterlife“. Continue reading »

Jan 082021


For this fifth installment of the list I’ve decided to include four songs instead of two or three. The impulse to include all of these together was irresistible, for reasons I think you’ll understand after you’ve heard all of them.


From humble beginnings this solo project of James McBain has moved from self-releasing its 2015 debut EP (The Manifestation of Evil) and its 2017 debut album (Coagulating Darkness) to landing on the roster of Peaceville Records, which released Hellripper’s second album The Affair of the Poisons last October. For those of us who’ve been adherents of the music since early days, this was a happy development but not a shocking one. Continue reading »

Jun 162020


First time I heard Bulletbelt was back in September 2014. It was a song off their then-forthcoming album Rise of the Banshee (their second full-length), which had premiered at NZ writer Craig HayesSix Noises blog. I hammered out my immediate reaction on the keyboard: “Punk stomp and black metal acid and heavy metal swagger, gun-shot drumming and gut-shot riffing, risk of serious neck strain, catchy as chlamydia.” Not long after that we premiered the whole album, with Craig Hayes writing an enthusiastic introduction.

Four years later Bulletbelt returned with their next album, Nine Centuries, which was the final album with vocalist Jolene Tempest, but also featured guest appearances by Midnight’s Vanik, Massacre’s Kam Lee, and a string quartet from The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. We were lucky to have Craig Hayes review it (here). He noted that the record was, in comparison to the preceding one, “a much grimmer release, lyrically”, and that the band had “matched that narrative darkness with a rawer and more visceral sound –– reflecting, perhaps, the violence of the album’s lyrics” — and was all the better for it.

And now Bulletbelt are returning again with another full-length, after an intervening EP (Faster Than Death) and a split with Sabbat. The new album is named Warlords and it’s set for release on July 1st. And today we’re fuckin’ pumped to premiere the first single off the album: “Blade On the Fire“. Continue reading »

Feb 012018


(We welcome back New Zealand writer Craig Hayes (Six Noises), who brings us this review of the new album by NZ’s Bulletbelt, which was released through Bandcamp just a few days ago.)


Nine Centuries is the latest hard-hitting release from New Zealand black/thrash metallers Bulletbelt. Much like their high-octane pals Midnight, Bulletbelt mine metal’s core aesthetics, and Nine Centuries duly features plenty of battle-vested and spiked-gauntleted oomph. Interestingly, though, the rip-roaring album is also somewhat bittersweet. Because Nine Centuries marks Bulletbelt’s final album with vocalist Jolene Tempest.

Tempest exited Bulletbelt late last year, along with guitarist Seth Jackson, and while singers come and go from bands all the time, Tempest’s leaving is certainly notable because her performance on Nine Centuries is so confident and impassioned. Tempest originally joined Bulletbelt not long before they recorded their second album, 2014’s Rise of the Banshee, and that release showcased the band’s burning ambitions like never before. Continue reading »

Sep 252014


(We thank New Zealand-based metal writer and broadcaster Craig Hayes for the following introduction to our premiere of a full stream of the new album by New Zealand’s awesome Bulletbelt.)


Bands like Diocletian, Vassafor, Ulcerate, and Beastwars have done a lot to spread various strains of New Zealand metal around the globe in recent years, and there’s no doubt that the nation’s heaviest music is infecting more fans than ever. Of course, those bands are just the tip of the iceberg, because the New Zealand metal scene is packed to the gunnels with a diverse range of virulent bands, all showing a diehard strength of will.

Case in point: Bulletbelt.

The Wellington-based five-piece features long-serving members from New Zealand’s metal community, and draws a riotous crossover crowd at home. Bulletbelt’s fiery full-length debut, 2012’s Down in the Cold of the Grave, was certainly framed by black metal, but thrash, traditional metal, and punk rock’s vicious bite were all given free reign, too. Continue reading »

Sep 122014

My ears have feasted upon a big smorgasbord of new and newish metal over the last 24 hours, a big spread of many different styles of delectables. However, in deciding what to assemble for this round-up I was influenced by the Obscure Burials EP I reviewed for today’s first post. Which is to say I was in the mood for more jet-fueled mayhem. Sometimes you just want to have your head torn off, you know what I mean?

Because there’s so much stuff in this post, including two new videos, I’m going to dispense with complete sentences and keep my blather short and sweet. Presenting this alpha music in alphabetical order:


Location: The Netherlands
Song: “Carved To Pieces”
Album: Rites Ov Perversion
Release date: Sept 12 (Europe) and Sept 16 (NorthAm)
Label: Metal Blade

Ravenous, ripping, spine-smashing, skull-cleaving, roof-collapsing, gruesome, atmospheric, sing-along music. Continue reading »