Monday 9 October 2023

BEASTWARS - Tyranny Of Distance (Album Review)

Release Date: October 13th 2023. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Tyranny Of Distance - Tracklisting

1.Identity (originally performed by The Gordons) 

2.Waves (originally performed by Superette) 

3.Emmanuelle (originally performed by Snapper) 

4.Dark Child (originally performed by Marlon Williams)

5.Looking for the Sun (originally performed by Children's Hour)

6.High and Lonely (originally performed by Nadia Reid) 

7.We Light Fire (originally performed by Julia Deans) 

8.Spooky (originally performed by 3Ds)


Matt Hyde - Vocals

Nathan HIckey - Drums

Clayton Anderson - Guitars

James Woods - Bass


Legendary New Zealand Sludge/Stoner Metallers BEASTWARS return with their new album Tyranny Of Distance which you maybe surprised to discover is actually a covers album but with a difference. BEASTWARS have picked their favourite songs from the New Zealand music scene over the last forty years or so that all mean something to the band. However, the band have reinvented every track on the album and given this the full BEASTWARS makeover that will perhaps still be considered an album of new tracks to the majority of the band’s global fanbase. 

I’ve heard about half of the original tracks before writing this review and almost every cover is wildly different to the original whilst still paying huge respect to the artists original vision. BEASTWARS actively sought out the artists permission before recording this album and everyone is fully on board with what the band are doing with this album. BEASTWARS actually listened to long-lost recordings of certain songs to decipher the lyrics for some of the songs. 

BEASTWARS pull out all the stops playing their trademark Sludge/Stoner sound they’ve perfected so brilliantly well over the last sixteen years or so. The down-tuned and aggressive raw sounding guitars have a more dominant GRUNGE atmosphere with eerie moments of Psychedelic based aggression which reminded me of their 2013 landmark release Blood Becomes Fire. 

Matt Hyde’s instantly recognizable vocals show a more world-weary and self assured style where he shrieks and growls with complete dominance. There’s a more emotional vulnerability to Matt’s vocals throughout on tracks such as Identity, Waves, Emmanuelle and Dark Child which all make up the first four tracks of the album. The other members James (Bass), Clayton (Guitars) and Nathan (Drums) all excel with their own part in providing a sludgy and groove based makeover to these classic tracks of the New Zealand music scene.

Tyranny Of Distance will no doubt be considered as a covers album but it still retains the powerful and emotional core of BEASTWARS previous albums. BEASTWARS continue impressing with their aggressive SONIC style on the second half of the album where the band focus playing a more metallic based Sludge/Stoner Metal sound that’s played a supersonic pace on tracks such as: Looking For The Sun, HIgh And Lonely and Spooky impressing the most.

BEASTWARS have continued their excellent working relationship with James Goldsmith who performs recording and mixing duties for the album though he also co-produces the album with Nathan from the band. The whole sound and feel of the record pays homage to BEASTWARS past endeavours whilst also allowing them to sound quite different at the same time. As this album has a more “primal” and “in-your-face” sound compared to previous albums.

BEASTWARS have released another top-level album that allows listeners the chance not only to hear one of their favourite bands playing new music to them but also the opportunity to go out and discover the amazing artists who originally released these classic tracks. 

Tyranny Of Distance proves once again why BEASTWARS are considered legends within the New Zealand scene and why they’re also one of the essential bands the Sludge/Stoner Metal underground scene needs right now.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Sheltered Life PR for the promo.

Tyranny Of Distance will be released on DD/Vinyl from Friday 13th October 2023.


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