Below is my list of my favourite New Zealand metal releases from 2016. If you’re wondering why (whoever) isn’t here, it could be that:
(a) I thought (whoever’s) release was hot fucking garbage
(b) I saw (whoever’s) release mentioned, but I didn’t get round to hearing it
(c) (whoever) just wasn’t on my radar at all
(d) it’s definitely reason (a)
Just joshing, mate. I’m sure your debut EP is super-duper. I actually do my best to listen to a lot of the homegrown metal that’s released. But that doesn’t make me any kind of expert on New Zealand metal. I mean, I’m obviously an interested observer, but as the sharp-witted chap who emailed me earlier in the year pointed out:
“you no(sic) fcking (sic) nothing about kiwi(sic) metal anyway fuckning (sic) poser. (Name redacted) said yous (sic) don’t even go to gigs cunt”
It’s all true, though. I am a #totalposer. I only own two Iron Maiden T-shirts, and I’m too fat for either of them now. I’m balding too. And not the cool kind of balding, with a hip post-skullet skullet. Just plain ol’ dad rock bald-spot balding: the very worst kind of balding of all. Plus, I’m definitely an old man who hasn’t been to a show in what feels like aeons.
So that’s #greybearded #embarassinglybaldspotted #type2chubby #totalfuckingposer
I’m okay with that.
Essentially, I just hit play on the New Zealand metal releases I hear, and if I’m still enjoying what I’m listening to by the end, I type some words about it. That’s my entire writing modus operandi summed up in one simple sentence. I don’t know if that’s a solid or shaky template to work off. But let’s just pretend it’s the former, for now.
The only strict ethos I adhere to round here is that I don’t highlight homegrown metal, punk, or any local music just for the sake of it. I give run-of-the-mill, glaringly mainstream, and chalk-on-a-blackboard metal releases a very wide berth. And I offer zero apologies for that. But there were a couple of New Zealand metal releases in 2016 that I didn’t get to check out fully because I simply didn’t have enough coins in my pocket to purchase them when they were released.
Place of Skulls’ self-titled EP was one of those. I thought the band’s mix of old school death ‘n’ grind sounded promising when I streamed their EP on Bandcamp, and I recently saw they’ve released a re-mastered version of the EP. But that’s not on my list below because I didn’t buy it, and that’s entirely my fault and not any kind of reflection on the band’s efforts.
I also blatantly cheated on my list by sneaking in the Ancient Meat Revived – A Tribute to Cold Meat Industry compilation. I took a more Australasian approach on that one. (Again, zero apologies for that.) The compilation features a great collection of tracks, including a couple of formidable covers by New Zealand bands Sinistrous Diabolus and Vassafor, as well as tracks from Australian bands Spire and Temple Nightside. (It’s also well worth pointing out that Sinistrous Diabolus, Spire, and Temple Nightside all released intimidating albums in their own right in 2016.)
Lastly, if you’re reading this list from New Zealand’s shores, I’m going to presume you know all these bands already. But if you’re reading this post from offshore, I’d wholeheartedly encourage you to check out each and every embedded stream here. Some of the underground New Zealand bands featured deserve far more attention from overseas audiences.
As always, a huge cheers for stopping by Six Noises in 2016. My thanks to the bands and individuals who got in touch and supported Six Noises’ mission this year too. Much appreciated.
(Note: before we get to the music, New Zealand metal zine Axiom of the Elite released their third issue in 2016. There’s no question that those three issues represent the most comprehensive unearthing of underground New Zealand metal ever undertaken. If you’re interested in exploring the depths of New Zealand metal, and avoiding all the chart-baiting dross and bro metal along the way, I’d recommend contacting Axiom… direct to see if/where copies are available. I’d also point you in the direction of New Zealand-based distro and label Headless Horseman, who have an extensive collection of underground New Zealand metal releases and merch available.)
20. Bulletbelt/Bastardizer: Bring Back the Riff split
19. Sojourner: Empires of Ash
18. MetalTower: Myopic Dystopia
17. Mothra: Decision Process
16. Bloodnut: Blues from the Red Sons
15. Beastwars: The Death of All Things
14. Solar Mass: Pseudomorphosis
13. Various Artists: Ancient Meat Revived – A Tribute to Cold Meat Industry
(Cheating? Maybe. But see tracks from Sinistrous Diabolus and Vassafor)
12. Setentia: Darkness Transcend
11. Winter Deluge: Devolution – Decay
10. Verberis: Vexamen
9. Ulcerate: Shrines of Paralysis
8. Blazing Shade: “Grimoire” (4 X 2016 Bandcamp singles)
7. Veneficium: Demo
6. Prisoner Of War: Rot
5. Sinistrous Diabolus: Sinistrous Diabolus II + Monolith III/V EP
4. Trepanation: Grand Maw
3. Ritual Abuse: White Smoke Ritual
2. Meth Drinker: Meth Drinker/Dead Instrument Split
1. Stalker: Satanic Panic