A few nights ago, I discovered a pretty sweet place in Wellington, New Zealand: Valhalla Tavern/Bar Medusa.
Between the Buried and Me was playing that night. I hadn’t seen them in the better part of a decade, so I had to jump on it.
Pumped as I was to see the headliner, though, I was actually more excited to see what sort of talent Kiwiland had in store for me. Like many foreigners, there are very few Kiwi metal bands that I could name (aside from Ulcerate).
I had always been under the impression that the extreme metal scene in New Zealand was relatively strong, but I had yet to be exposed to any Kiwi prog.
First up was this band from Wellington. These guys were absolutely fucking great. Progressive/ambient posty sludge kinda shit. Totally dug it. They put on a damned good show with very few digital bells and whistles. Just four guys a-rockin’ with some relatively low tech effects. The vocals were fantastic, and just about everything going on sounded fat at tight. Thinking East of the Wall or Intronaut.
Give ’em a listen. Unfortunately, the one track I could find on their Bandcanp does not do the performance I saw any justice:
So I have no idea what city these dudes are from (it doesn’t say on their Facebook), and the EP I was given (that I can’t find online) wasn’t quite the same as the live show, but that being said,
Coming out of Auckland (big drive to Wellington) was Helgorithms. They were great. Really, truly progressive three-piece that didn’t abuse their eight string. Not much thall going on here. Much more atmosphere, much more post-metal flare with plenty of wank, and the death metal-rather-than-metalcore style vocals were a nice change of pace compared to what a lot of “prog” bands are doing these days. Definitely a band to keep my eye on.
Production for the song is a bit raw. Honestly think it sounded a lot more professional live, but *shrug*, it’s not my demo.
Heavy Metal Ninjas
Here comes the THAAAALLLLLLL. Plenty djenty instrumental prog that reminded me a lot of Angel Vivaldi with some Animals As Leaders in there.
These guys were fantastic showmen, the instrumentals were excellent, the sound tight and the djenty bits were bone-crunchingly heavy. Definitely a performance on par with any of today’s better-known American and European progressive headliners.
So yeah. I’d say my first exposure to New Zealand’s metal scene went quite well. Looking forward to seeing what Christchurch (my current city of residence) has to offer, going forward.
Until next time, baby!