There are times when one come across just one song from a band and it immediately means an investigation to discover more about them. That was the case when Lisa from MNNZ sent me a video link and asked if I had heard anything about this Wellington-based outfit? That song was “Punished” and I was soon on a mission, making contact with them to discover they feature some well-known musicians in drummer Nathan Hickey of the mighty Beastwars and Ghidoragh guitarists Greg Broadmore and Christian Pearce while at the front is singer EJ Thorpe. Beastwars are a sludge/stoner outfit who are incredibly well-known in New Zealand (check out their 2011 debut for a solid slab of classic metal) while Ghidoragh are from more a punk area, but here the trio have combined to create an almighty noise. The drums sound like they are being played with tree trunks, the bassline is distorted, filthy and raw, so heavy one can sit on the notes and be bounced along, while the riffs are solid slabs of metal, chords designed to hurt with their slow ponderous pace and sheer heaviness. Then there is EJ.

EJ sings as if she was born to front a band like this, in total control always. The production is interesting in that often she is not on top of the band as much as one might expect but rather her vocals have been laid within the guitars, providing that high frequency sound needed to break the metallic. On songs such as “Nail and Tooth” they do pick up the speed somewhat, moving out of sludge right through doom into areas which are much quicker, but never losing that very heavy mentality. They also know how to deliver incredible atmosphere, with “The Crawl” being a shining example on how to create something monstrous without resorting to tricks, just keeping it ponderously slow and heavy while letting EJ do her stuff. Undoubtedly this is one of the most important metal debuts to come out of Aotearoa in 2022, and surely it cannot be long until the rest of the world discovers this. For fans of metal who love their music very heavy indeed, as this has real weight and presence behind it.

Rating: 9/10