New Zealand Music Month: Arc of Ascent

It’s New Zealand Music Month this May. New Zealand’s annual celebration of homegrown music. Generally, that involves a lot of mainstream media highlighting a lot of mainstream acts. So I’m here to try and redress the balance a bit.  I’ll be posting a link to some rowdy New Zealand music for you to check out every day over the next month. Some bands will no doubt be familiar; others I hope will be fresh to your ears.

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Arc of Ascent

In 2014, Hamilton-based psychedelic metal trio Arc of Ascent called a halt to their career. And I don’t mind saying, that one hurt a little. Arc of Ascent were, by far, one of the most mesmerising live bands in New Zealand. I only saw the band play three times, but those sets are ingrained in my mind because when those three guys locked into a groove, man, it was just mind-melting magnificence all round.

Arc of Ascent dished out low-slung, lysergic rock with plenty of celestial vibes and Eastern influences, swathed in stoner fumes. Arc of Ascent always produced music that was both heavy and heavy, but what the band brought most of was a shamanic stomp, and a mantric momentum.

You’ll find plenty of tripped-out metal and ganja-friendly rock on the band’s heavyweight (and hypnotic) albums, 2010’s Circle of the Sun, and 2012’s The Higher Key. Both of those albums are great releases, and highlight a band searching for deep meaning, and making deep connections, with their music.

Arc of Ascent were one for the ages. And they’ll be greatly missed.

Also, if the third-eye-opening aspects of Arc of Ascent’s work appeal, then keep an ear out for Arc of Ascent bassist Craig Williamson’s one-man acid rock and folk project, Lamp of the Universe. The band recently released a new album, The Inner Light of Revelation. I’ll throw a link in here, below Arc of Ascent.