Blood Becomes Fire, the sophomore release from New Zealand’s Beastwars, is released on Destroy Records on 19 April, and PopMatters is proud to debut the churning death-march track, “Rivermen”. Blood Becomes Fire is set to be one of heavy rock’s most powerful releases in 2013, and reflections on the dark journeys we all take through life to death govern the album’s post-apocalyptic visions. In amongst the album’s mix of sludge metal and tumbling noise-rock runs a conceptual tale. Lyricist and vocalist Matt Hyde howls bloody murder at the gods while looking at the wreckage of a planet, scoured of hope, through the eyes of a traveler from another time.
At midpoint on Blood Becomes Fire, “Rivermen” swirls like the mighty river Acheron, and looming large is the notion that we must all cross boundaries of water at life’s end. The slow trawl of James Woods’ seismic bass rumbles over devastated landscapes to water’s edge, Clayton Anderson provides the Mad Max vehicular riffs to transport you there, and drummer Nathan Hickey lays down the inexorable pace. Hyde intones, “Dirty old river, it thrashes it turns. I hear it speak. I know it’s real”, leading to the conclusion that every one of us will be awash in death’s currents come our final call. Some of us to be cleansed, and some of us to be punished.