Like a mongrel mix of Kyuss, Neurosis, and the mighty Godflesh, Beastwars bring together pummelling intensity, beautiful brutality, and sonic paranoia to create a sound all of their own.

It's the power and poise of this debut album by the Wellington quartet that makes it so impressive - and it's not simply one of those heavy and extreme records that batter you senseless, because that's easy to do.

Beastwars is a moody, dynamic and other-worldly beast with fiery and trippy artwork by Weta Workshop conceptual designer Nick Keller.Here's a thought: maybe Beastwars could do The Hobbit soundtrack?

The album is at its best on the slovenly brooding of Daggers, like some primal and deranged song Soundgarden weren't brave enough to release, the rumbling groove of Red God, and Cthulhu's eerie, spooky heaviness.


If anything it slows down at times when you want them go at it hammer and tongs a little more. Not that that matters since they are equally effective and punishing when they are slowly slugging it out - like on the monstrous grind of Call Out the Dead and the gothic swamp lurch of Iron Wolf - as on the pounding, riff-driven tracks.

Like last year's towering, trance-inducing release from Hamilton's Arc of Ascent, this album by Beastwars renews calls for a best metal category at the Music Awards. Surely?

For metal fans and those who like their rock 'n' roll rough, tough and seething, this is essential stuff.

Stars: 5/5
Verdict: Monstrous debut from Wellington quartet