Following on from a rather exciting week in Tronland, I’ve got a new assignment; doing a scene report on New Zealand and Australia, meaning that I’ve spent the entire day making endless cups of tea while wading through an extreme underground I didn’t even know New Zealand had, and I haven’t even started on everything-kills-you Australia yet.
With my knowledge of Kiwi music thus far limited to Crowded House, OMC, Alien Weaponry and Beastwars, I was amazed to discover two things. One, there’s plenty of brutality here, and two, the bands really do seem to support each other a great deal. This is ace of course, but if I was being totally selfish, I would say that I’m more chuffed about all the new bands I’ve come across in the last 8 hours, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you.
A right old racket forged in a crucible of blood and iron, Diocletian are named after a Roman emperor born into nothing. Clawing his way through the ranks to become quite the chap, his story and name are deeply fitting for such a grand-sounding, blackened blast-fest. Introduced to them through 2014’s Gesundrian, they remind me a bit of Blood Of Kingu, which is musically not a bad thing. With a production not miles away from Mayhem’s Ordo Ad Chao – except clearer and less frightening – I’ll be delving into their earlier Annihilation Rituals and others in due course. Damn right this is quality.
Terrible name, awesome band. I came across this through the Stoner Doom NZ page, where I found stoner beasts Bloodnut, and on their page I found a suggestion for Hobo Magic. Expecting nothing from their shite name, I sat down comfortably to eat my own hat as their The World Today bonged forward some of the best stoner doom I’ve heard in a long time. Thick, meaty and confident, everything from The Holy Riff onwards made me feel like a jackass for dismissing their silly name, a lesson I should have learned with Denmarks’ Piss Vortex. Excellent.
Arc Of Ascent
Large of amp and big of riff, the superbly judged Arc Of Ascent had me from the moment I watched their live video for Elemental Kingdom. A classic three-piece, their clean-vocaled bigness was deeply welcome, as I listen to good doom bands spoiled by poor-quality screaming far too often. I truly believe that the majority of doom is better when sung, and certainly the old masters held to such a belief, so perhaps with the likes of unintentional scene-agitators Pallbearer doing the rounds with their high-register clean singing, a renaissance of sung doom is just around the corner. Brilliant stuff, even managing that enviable Al Cisneros trick of playing similar-sounding riffs that are all different resulting in their Realms Of The Metaphysical feeling like a glorious single piece, rather than a collection of songs.
This is a snippet of a much larger report to come in due course so please keep your eyes peeled for endless goodness from the far-off bits of earth.