Saturday 8 June 2019

BEASTWARS - IV (Album Review)

Release date: June 28th 2019. Label: Destroy Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

IV – Tracklisting

1.Raise the Sword 06:27
2.Wolves and Prey
3.Storms of Mars
4.This Mortal Decay
5.Omens 05:41
6.Sound of the Grave
7.The Traveller
8.Like Dried Blood


Matthew Hyde - Vocals
Clayton Anderson - Guitar
James Woods - Bass
Nathan Hickey - Drums


Truth be told I never expected to see the return of Beastwars. Especially after their last album – The Death Of All Things and Matt (Lead Singer) announcing back then he was battling Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Thankfully, Matt has fought his way back to health and is now in remission.

The Death Of All Things was more subdued compared to their earlier albums and felt like a farewell letter from the band to their fans. The album was a very moving and deeply emotional album. Though it still felt the band had unfinished business to take care of that was left unresolved with The Death Of All Things.

Fast forward three years and Beastwars are now ready to make their return to the Sludge/Stoner Metal world they left behind with their epic new album IV. This album is based upon the experiences Matt went through battling this terrible disease and it makes for a deeply unflinching album to listen to at times. You can hear Matt facing his worst fears on this album and the unflinching lyrics cuts right to the bone on the majority of the songs.

However, the album has its fair share of uplifting moments as well. As Beastwars embrace the fact that Matt is still here and this album is a testament to Matt’s humanity and strength.

You can expect to hear a more emotional and darker style of music from the band. It’s more progressive with Beastwars embracing their more Doom based sound. If you’re a fan of Beastwars first two albums, then IV sees the band return to that heavy Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal sound they made their name with.

The album opens with the troubling and deeply emotional sounds of – Raise The Sword. Matt’s vocals return with an angry growl. Perhaps some of the angriest and sombre vocals he’s ever recorded. The lyrics are highly powerful and quite potent towards the end of the song. Matt draws upon his recent experiences with this song whilst the rest of the band create some epic progressive riffs to build the song upon.

Second song – Wolves and Prey – carries on the dark progressive themes of the opening song but starts adding a more hopeful psychedelic sound that will appear more frequently towards the end of the album. Beastwars start to sound like their old selves on this song and it’s a brilliant experience to fully listen to.

Third song – Storms Of Mars – sees Beastwars adding a familiar “sci-fi” vibe heard from their earlier albums but Matt’s vocals and lyrics keeps everything grounded and I will admit when Matt starts singing about not seeing his child growing up I broke down. This is the most powerful and emotional song contained on the album and you can feel the emotional intensity that Matt is singing about on this album. The music is first rate with Beastwars creating a truly progressive sound.

Fourth song – This Mortal Decay – is one of my favourite songs on the album as Beastwars start to play a more hopeful sound with trippy psychedelic riffs that leave you wanting more. The song is more Doom based compared to other songs but Beastwars have always been good at merging different genres and still sound vastly different to other Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal bands.

Fifth song – Omens – starts very slowly but with a more laid-back and heavier sound before settling down into a low-key rhythm. Matt’s vocals yet again take centre stage with the riffs building a soulful and hypnotic platform for the whole band to come together and build a more hopeful environment for the album to flourish.

The remainder of the album carries on the sombre, bleak and ultimately hopeful mood with the final three songs – Sound Of The Grave, The Traveller and Dried Like Blood – that perfectly captures the intense and emotional journey that Beastwars have undertaken over the last three years.

Beastwars have delivered their best album to date and one of the best albums of the year with IV. IV acts as a celebration of what everything Beastwars have accomplished in their careers so far. The album is a triumphant return for one of the best bands currently within the scene and it’s great to have Beastwars back playing their most uncompromising and unapologetic music they’ve released so far.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. IV will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Destroy Records from June 28th 2019.