2023 promises to be an incredible year for New Zealand metal and rock, and one album everyone is looking forward to is the forthcoming Rejecting Obliteration from Christchurch’s very own BALTTW. The first time I saw these guys play was supporting Death Angel and Sepultura and certainly holding their own, and the last time was up here in Auckland at Dead Witch, where they took the place to the cleaners with their brutal brand of death metal. Methlehem is the first song to be released from the album, which is out in May, and anyone who wondered if the guys were going to throttle it back at all need not worry as instead they have thrown themselves even further into the maelstrom.

This is heavy stuff, with lyrics to match, as they discuss religious fanaticism, showing the similarities which can be drawn between drug addicts and those who devote their lives to their deity. As Stacy says, “The church is a cartel, and billions are hooked on their premium product.” The rising intertwined guitars riff and swell, with a rhythm section underneath them which never settles into straightforward signatures but instead keeps mixing it up, so the sound is brutal yet unsettling with a strangely commercial overall sound. It may still be the sound we have all come to know and love over the years, but it has been refined and distilled so it hits on every level. The video is bound to upset a few people, with imagery which leaves nothing to the imagination, just in case anyone was missing out on the message.

Rating: 10/10