New Zealand Music Month: Dawn of Azazel and Bulletbelt
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.
Dawn of Azazel
In late April, long-running New Zealand death metal trio Dawn of Azazel released their fourth full-length album, The Tides of Damocles. It was the band’s first album in six years, and a rousing and resounding return from one of New Zealand’s legendary metal bands.
Dawn of Azazel originally formed in 1999, and the band’s blistering 2003 full-length debut, The Law of the Strong, was an instant New Zealand metal classic. Over the years, Dawn of Azazel have toured around the globe, and received high praise in the press at home and abroad.
The band returned to Mana Recording Studios in Florida to record, mix and master Tides of Damocles. The result was a dynamic, battering, and meticulously arranged piece of death mastery. Dawn of Azazel have lost none of their fury, skill, or brutality.
Changes were afoot on Bulletbelt’s second album, Rise of the Banshee, in 2014. New vocalist Jolene Tempest stamped her presence hard on the album, while Bulletbelt upped the ante by diversifying their sound. The band pushed beyond their black metal past, and brought in more thrash riffs and catchy rock hooks.
That expansion of sound was a hugely successful endeavour for Bulletbelt. The band played numerous shows in New Zealand and Australia to promote Rise of the Banshee, both headlining and supporting bands such as Goatwhore, Midnight, Napalm Death and Carcass.
Bulletbelt was recently joined by new guitarist Evan Short (who’s played in bands such as Subtract and Cobra Khan). And the band’s been busy of late filming videos for Rise of the Banshee tracks “Sniper” and “Deathgasm”. The album is set for a vinyl and tape release on Hallways of the Always Reckords later this year.