Remember the other week I mentioned that I’m a judge in this years “Keep it Live and Loud” competition, run by Blackout – The Flat FM. Well, the entries have been received, and here’s the list of semi-finalists culled from over 200 entries nationwide. It’s up to YOU to vote for the top 5 bands to go through to the finals – these will be judged by the panel and one winner will receive the grand prize.
Voting closes May 30th, and the 5 bands with the most votes will be competing in a live playoff at the Coda Lounge in Auckland on June 30th.
If you click on their links you can go through and listen to some of their songs, then head over to the voting page to cast your vote. Please support NZ rock and metal by helping your favorite band to get a chance at a record deal and a bunch of other prizes.
Keep it Live and Loud Semi-Finalists
Solid groove metal from this north shore fivesome, Austere have been building a following around Auckland for a pummeling live performance.
Fall by Autumn (Auckland)
I had the pleasure of seeing Fall by Autumn’s first live show on Sat, and these guys are a band to watch. Vocalist Morturary Harvest belts out one of the best black metal rasps I’ve heard since Greece’s Cadaveria. This girl commands the stage, and the band, in horror-inspired costume, do justice to her extreme vox with a unique blend of progressive compositions and groovy riffs. You can’t easily put Fall by Autumn’s sound into a box, but when a band sounds this good, who wants to keep them in a box?
The Crimson Vendetta (Auckland)
Formed in 2008, The Crimson Vendetta are an alternative rock outfit who remind me (in a good way) of my favorite New Zealand rock bands, Savant. Their song, “Remain Silent” was recorded over a 24-hour period as part of the Red Bull Sound Vault Competition. Good alt rock requires a solid hook and powerful vocals, and The Crimson Vendetta have this in the bag.
I Spit on Your Grave (Auckland)
Named after the cult classic horror film, I Spit on Your Grave offer a classic hardcore sound with all the trappings. No holds barred visceral riffage with tin can drums and lyrics to disgust and engorge you. I reviewed their debut EP, Baby I’m Bullet Proof, earlier this year and I really see these guys becoming regulars on the thriving NZ hardcore scene.
Hessian Horseman (Hamilton)
Vegas Browne, former drummer of popular New Zealand rock band 48May, formed Hessian Horseman in Feb 2012, and is the vocalist, drummer and songwriter for the Hamilton rock outfit. Hessian Horseman is a solid, sophisticated alt rock sound who have gathered a loyal following in a short space of time. I’m looking forward to hearing more from this talented band.
New Zealand is fast earning a reputation for producing some of the bleakest and most intricate Black Metal in the world. Beltane, hailing from Nelson, add their unique sound to that tradition. Firmly rooted in traditional black metal, but with elements of classic metal and industrial, Beltane’s music offers layers of interest for the black metal aficionado. Since 2004 Beltane have recorded only on the Solstices and Equinoxes, to take advantages of the energies present at this time. Their impressive collection of releases can be viewed and purchased on their website.
The Heathen Collective (Wellington)
I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing these guys live yet (perhaps when I’m next in Wellington for Goatwhore/Impiety) but I’m told their live show is something out-of-this-world. The Heathen Collective’s sound could be describe as a fusion of Tool’s progressive composition and Black Sabbath’s doom-laden misery. Their 2009 album Illuminated has received rave reviews and they’ve carved out their own niche in our close-knit NZ scene.
Diamond Doll Band (Hawke’s Bay)
Hailing from my home turf, Diamond Doll Band are a female-fronted hard rock act with big sound and punk rock attitude. Their debut single “Consume” was released on the compilation album DOCO 2010-2011 from Hawke’s Bay label Hit Your Head Music, and they’ve been impressing fans across the country with their high energy live show – playing at the Cold Duck 2011 motorcycle festival, and opening for I Am Giant at their Hawke’s Bay show. Fans of bands like Civet and The Distillers will love Diamond Doll Band.
”][Amos/Anon] (Palmerston North)
[Amos/Anon] is the brainchild of Peter-James Dries, and is a bit of an underground prodigy in NZ, producing four albums of the darkest, most atmospheric gothic/doom/industrial metal to have ever come out of this country. The 2007 album Darkness from Light, is a perfect demonstration of the dirgelike composition and intense emotional quality of their sound.
Bleeding View (Auckland)
Bleeding View have stripped rock back to it’s roots, and their sound is harsh, dirty, and catchy as hell. Their first single, “Last Night”, might start out sounding suspiciously like a Creed song, but quickly transforms into an almost-sludge-inspired rock number. Bleeding View have built up a solid following in the rock scene and, in 2010 with the support of their fans Bleeding View won a competition to open for I Am Giant on the Auckland leg of their tour.
Blackleaf Gardens (Auckland)
A five piece experimental progressive band with solid roots in traditional heavy metal, Blackleaf Gardens have gained a reputation as one of Auckland’s most interesting new acts. Their debut EP, Seedling State, demonstrates their musical multiplicity. Riffs are deep and crushing, compositions random, and the vocals switch between alt rock crooning and death growls. It shouldn’t work, but it does.
Curse the One (Hamilton)
Originally, many of Curse the One’s tracks weren’t written to include vocals, which is always a gamble. But now, with a full lineup and support from New Zealand’s premier metal radio show – the Axe Attack – Curse the One are getting some national airplay. Their songs are an intricate web of catchy hooks and progressive elements, and they have a rich, sophisticated sound that will appeal to fans of bands like Symphony X.
Rising Force (Wellington)
Melodic shred metal. That’s it, but do you need any more? I’m pretty sure I saw these guys live once, but I can’t remember it because I was either drunk at the time or outside debating the intricacies of the latest Diocletian album with some drunk random. Pity, because these guys would be great fun live!
Fallen Order (Wellington)
Fallen Order bring a classic metal sound inspired by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Manowar and Gamma Ray to our black-soaked streets. A fresh sound in New Zealand’s extreme-metal-dominated scene, they’ve been gigging solidly for four years now, even opening for Australian’s Lord when they toured here. They know their style well and are great fun – a Fallen Order show is always a wicked night out.
Cunsumed in Flesh (Far North)
I can’t find any profiles or demos from this band, so here’s what they wrote about their music: “Our band seems to write songs of divine or universal irony’s, such as a man that knows his end is soon. He then becomes immortal by his will upon reality. The world then ends, so his valiant effort is wasted. Or ‘Apple core’ where a being is made as some form of brute solider who is made psychic and then moves its mind into a human, to gain revenge for its creation, only to wish it never killed or been created”
Crafty are a three piece hard rock act from Auckland with a reputation for being “sexy, buzzy and heavy.” This is stoner rock at it’s best – Crafty sound like a rockier, dirtier Black Sabbath. Look for their debut EPs released March this year – Senses Six and Blackest Black.
Fictional Response (Auckland)
Fictional Response blur the lines between heavy metal and electronica, and their synth-laden heavy rock has that atmospheric catchiness that reminds my of my days as an angsty teenager in the 90s. Vocals remind of Linkin Park, but the music is darker, reminding me of some of the better New Zealand electronic bands, like N.U.T.E. Their sound is definitely more radio-friendly than underground, but that’s not to be held against them – this is a group of supremely talented musicians and songwriters with a clever, high-quality sound.
Silvertube Destruction (Auckland)
I’m not sure why this band hates silver tubes so much, or even what they really sound like, since the only preview I can find only is a cover they did of “Mr Clay” by Bamboo, but from that track I get the idea they’re a slightly cacophonous alt rock band with an unhealthy obsession with tubes made of silver.
Day 3 (Hamilton)
With their self-recorded demo now in hand, Day 3 are looking to expand their hold as Hamilton’s hard rock gods to the rest of the country. With their catchy, commercial rock sound and the support of music industry professionals who describe them as “the band New Zealand has been waiting for,”, Day 3 could be big. Very big.
Five Way Slay (Bay of Plenty)
Five Hardcore musicians doing what hardcore musicians do best – creative riffs mashed together into an aggressive, punished wall of noise.
From the frozen South, Katharticus have more of a fixation with cats and coffee than describing their musical style, but if I had to try, I’d call them an ethereal brand of experimental punky progressive rock. The guitars are erratic, the drums tribal and the vocals are just plain weird. You’d think it wouldn’t work, but I cannot stop playing their debut album, Katharticus.
Signs of Life (Wellington)
A little bit of pop, a little bit of rock n roll, Signs of Life create these whimsical, slightly oddball songs that stick in your head, backed up with some killer riffs. “Beautiful” has been repeating in my head for about two weeks now. Although the band are looking for a drummer and keyboardist, they’ve got the solid basis of a unique and professional act.
So now you know a little more about each of the bands, you can cast your vote for the top five in two locations: on the Blackout website, and on the Blackout Facebook page. Voting closes May 30th, so get yours in now.