Aborted, 8 Foot Sativa and more at The King's Arms Tavern (2014)

The King's Arms Tavern (Auckland, New Zealand)

Aborted, 8 Foot Sativa, Dawn Of Azazel, Setentia
2014 seems to be shaping up well for little ol' New Zealand, having already being […]
By Daniel Fox
June 26, 2014

2014 seems to be shaping up well for little ol' New Zealand, having already being graced by ICED EARTH, and soon to be expecting SEPULTURA, GORGUTS and KRISIUN. Naturally, when I heard ABORTED were returning with a thirst for blood, promoting their latest album "The Necrotic Manifesto" in our cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, I jumped at the chance, kick starting what will be a stupendously heavy second half of the year.

Funnily enough, I didn't hear of the other two acts until the night. First up was a fresh, Progressive Death Metal band from Auckland called SETENTIA. They may well all be in their late teens/early 20s, but played some of the best Progressive extreme music I have ever heard. Their set was expansive and moody, with a delicious array of proggy inflections, on top of a darkly heavy delivery. Think a cross between ANUBIS GATE and NE OBLIVISCARIS. It is bands like these that I hope populate our burgeoning scene of young metal musicians, and I most look forward to hearing studio recordings. I had only wish that people had thought (or were more able) to turn up earlier to catch their immense set; a prime example of why it is not just the main act that matters.

Next up were Kiwi metal veterans DAWN OF AZAZEL; if memory serves me correctly, I last witnessed them live in 2008, supporting CHILDREN OF BODOM. 6 years down track, and I was even more thoroughly impressed with their live set, blasting a bombastic array of Death-Thrash. Minimalist by appearances, a humble triplet, their sound was immense; gargantuan, a pummeling set of tracks spanning their career. Along with EXORDIUM MORS, one of the true shining stars of New Zealand's burgeoning Extreme Metal scene. By this point, the often-designated pit area in front of the stage had begun to congeal into a singularity, sucking in standees and new-comers and they riskily approached the front.

This night was an extra special one for myself, at the very least, for it was my first time witnessing 8 FOOT SATIVA's live act; arguably New Zealand's biggest metal band. My last experience with their music was their 2009 album, "Chelsea Smile" first getting me into their music. Tonight was aplenty with tracks from their latest release, "The Shadow Masters". That night, a lucky bunch of Kiwi's witnessed our cream of the crop playing a heavily groove-filled setlist, chugging chop after chop that divides canyons. Their stage presence was intimidating and genuine; what better way to rark up a crowd than to at least visually enjoy playing your own music; that is, the impression I got watching enigmatic bassist Brent.

Minds exquisitely prepared/blown apart by the tumultuous support acts, we were as anxious for ABORTED to begin as Sven (pictured above).

On a massive kick from the release of their latest album, "The Necrotic Manifesto", what better way to start off their setlist than with the jarring "The Extirpation Agenda"?. By now, the crowd had fully accrued into the black hole of whirling hair in the pit that was fast growing, encouraged into metallic oblivion by the ever-enthusiastic Sven. Having spoken to Sven before I show, I had learned he was down with a virus, that he had carried with him on the previous NZ shows. Not that one would be able to tell; as on form as any other vocalist I could name, maybe more. To keep up his range of growling is no small feat. The King's Arms seemed to be the perfect venue for this show, feeling almost subterranean; not claustrophobic, but enough to form crowd and band into one entity, as songs across the last decade of their career were unleashed upon us, with highlights from "Goremageddon" and "Global Flatline".

I can only thank ABORTED for showing up once again, and for our excellent musicians to take part in the night, because this band will be among the greatest Death Metal acts this country will get to experience.

*Photography by Ken Harris


Interview – Sven De Caluwe (Aborted)

<br />Aborted

Hi; I'm here with Sven of ABORTED. Firstly, I want to wish you a warm welcome to New Zealand, and for agreeing to this interview; my name is Daniel, on behalf of Metal Temple; we're a Metal web-zine. You've been to two of our cities already, Christchurch and Wellington. How have you enjoyed playing here so far?

It's been great so far. I wish I could have enjoyed it a bit more of the scenery but I got sick a few days ago, so I've been trying to rest a bit, but the shows have been great, so hopefully tonight's okay too. It's been 5 years since we've been here, so it's nice to be back.

Now, the new album, "The Necrotic Manifesto". I don't know if you saw, but I'm also a writer with Metal Temple and gave it a 10/10 when I received the promo. Amazing album.

Thank you (chuckles).

Are you with me and a lot of people on agreeing that it's probably ABORTED's best record to date?

That's what we think, you know, but obviously every time a band is biased that their newest shit is their best stuff, though we were pretty confident it was. We weren't that sure when we were writing it, because we only had like 3 months to do the whole thing, but once we started getting the mixes we were like "wow, looks like we did pretty good" (laughs). Put it that way. We're pretty happy with it.

Excellent. You've been working with Jacob Hansen as a producer for.. How many albums now?


Okay. What's he like to work with as a producer? I mean, he produces most of the work of most of my favorite bands, and I hear he tends to push bands in the studio. What's your experience with him?

Really relaxed, really nice. I've known him for fuckin' ever, so, in going there, everything seems familiar and comfortable. For us, I'm pretty sure it's a bit different when he does something for us than when he does it for a bigger band like AMARANTHE; they actually spend 2 or 3 months in the studio; we did the whole thing in less than 20 days. So we just use the two studios and usually come well-prepared. This time we actually finished the writing in the studio, but he gives us input when he thinks it's necessary and the best thing about it is he gets the best out of you by staying calm and reassuring you that everything's going to be okay. When we recorded the vocals, I didn't have much sleep 'cause I was helping the drummer with the drums for the first 5 days, I'd say, and then I'd have to start recording vocals the next day. Nothing had been written, so I had to write the lyrics at night and then perform during the day. After 2 days I lost my voice for like a day or two, and I was flipping out, like, "what the hell is going on", but he calmed me down and everything and once two days of rest, I was fine. I got back in the studio and knocked everything out in another 2 days. So he's just a great guy, really funny, and he knows when something's a turd or not.

Yeah; I've heard many good things about him. Now, what were the inspirations for the new album? What's it about? I mean, it's a Death Metal album, that's the first thing people are going to think, but what was the inspiration behind it?

Like, musically?

Musically, lyrically.

I mean, lyrically it's just a bunch of fuckin' random shit. I hate concept records and every time we do an album the press thinks it's a concept album and it never is.

I think that's a bit of a misconception people had about this one; that's what i originally thought, but I listened to it and I realized it's exactly what you just said. What about musically? Bands that you draw influences from?

By now we're almost 20 years down the fuckin' path; we pretty much try to do our own thing but, you know, there's obviously everybody having their different influences within the band so it really varies from person to person. Obviously the bass of the band would've been ENTOMBED, SUFFOCATION, CARCASS, SLAYER and stuff like that which has vastly expanded in over 20 years of experience.

One track that really stands out to me was "Cenobites"; am I saying that right? It sounded different to everything else on the album, in my opinion. What's the track about?

You don't know what Cenobites are?

No; I have no idea.

Have you seen Hellraiser?

No, have not.

It's about Hellraiser then (chuckles). It's about the Clive Barker movies based on the Books of Blood. It's a movie we used a ton of samples from during our career, so we figured, why not have a song about it?

I was wondering what all those voiceovers were; now I know. From what I have seen, people tend to have, in my experience, a strange obsession with trying to narrow down what kind of genre you guys are. What's your opinion regarding the labelling of bands in the context of say, "the spirit of Metal"?

To me there's two kinds of music: shit music and good music. Everything else is just bullshit.

Alright. That's fine words. Honestly, I actually recently just discovered you guys. You seem to have burst onto the scene and have become very famous very quickly; did you at all, in the past, predict that you guys would become very successful in the past few years?

I don't know, I mean we've been doing this for 20 years and have been touring the world for about at least half of that, so to us it's different because it's been a progressive incline. It's not like, if you would name a band like THY ART IS MURDER, they got big out of nowhere. For us, it's been a process. I'm not throwing rocks at THY ART IS MURDER at all, I'm just saying that, in comparison, they're a relatively young band who got popular pretty fast. It took us a bunch of years, we're a bit more experienced and I think we have a different look at it than people from the outside, I guess.

Yeah, it's understandable. Let's talk a little bit about live shows. Where are you guys looking forward to playing after you've finished up in New Zealand?

HAHAHAH! We've got about 2 weeks off and then we're full on touring for the rest of the year. We got 3 weeks off in September, and that's it. January off, and then February again. So… We're busy.

Wow, okay.. So festivals lined up; I know a few people going to Wacken and Summer Breeze; is that where you guys are playing later this year?

Yeah, we're doing Summer Breeze; we're doing about 16 or 17 festivals during the summer, so it should be cool. Not all of them are huge, but you know, it doesn't matter; should be good times, all of them.

You've played with 8 FOOT SATIVA for the last 2 shows. They're probably our biggest metal band. What do you think of them, having shared the stage with them so far?

They've been nice guys. It's been fun.

As a band, musically?

Not my bag of chips, but I think they're good at what they do.

Alrighty, honestly, you've pretty much already answered everything I had to say. It was an absolute pleasure doing this, bigger pleasure you coming to New Zealand, we're very thankful for that. We honestly don't get that much metal down in this corner of the world, so it's extra special when shit like this happens. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Yeah, I'd like to thank everybody that came out to the shows, it's been really, really awesome so far and hopefully tonight's cool too, even dispite my illness, (laughs) hopefully I don't sound like a bag of shit tonight.

How are you right now?

Pretty clogged up. But, other than that, it's been really fun, I'd say the crowds have been more intense than most Australian crowds.

That's always good to hear, there's sort of a friendly rivalry between us.

Yeah, I mean I guess it's also the fact that you get a little less Metal shows that the people are a bit more excited when a band comes over, whereas in Australia they get bombarded tour after tour, now. So, I'm just very happy to be here and hopefully we'll be back some time. It's just so expensive to get here, but hopefully not in another 5 years, but sooner.

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Interview – Brent Fox, Justin Niessen (8 Foot Sativa)

<br />8 Foot Sativa

Alright. It's a pleasure to be speaking to the almighty 8 FOOT SATIVA. I'm talking to Justin (vocals) and Brent (bass) on behalf of Metal Temple. Thank you so much for agreeing to this. Caught you guys at an extra special time, playing with ABORTED; you guys have already played with them in Christchurch and Wellington; how's it been so far?

Brent: Unbelievably good.

Justin: We've been having a good time, man.

Brent: You think about, okay, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday night gigs in new Zealand, it's hard enough getting a crowd on a Friday or Saturday, the last two shows have been epic, turnout-wise. It's been awesome.

Rough count? How many would you say?

Justin: Would've been about, what, 80 for Wellington, 200 last night (Christchurch)? So, hopefully we'll have an even bigger crowd tonight.

Yeah, I mean, it's Auckland, you're always going to get a bigger crowd up here, just by default.

Brent: Time will tell, brother, time will tell.

This is actually my first time seeing 8 FOOT SATIVA live, people are unfortunately not exposed to New Zealand's metal scene. What can we expect from an 8 FOOT SATIVA show?

Brent: A lot of groove, a lot of melody, a lot of aggression, punching home the point, having a lot of fun. HEAVY METAL.

That's the only way you could want it. I think the fans can agree that you're our country's biggest act, do you feel as if you're placed on some kind of, I don't know, pedestal, as our most famous Metal band?

Brent: Wow, that's awesome. We don't see it that way, we're still trash from West Auckland. We're still rats, really, hood rats, just struggling to survive, but luckily we've got each other and some cool riffs and we're blessed that people actually dig what we're doing. We're lucky, blessed individuals.

"The Shadow Masters" was released almost a year ago, fucking amazing piece of extreme metal, that. Are we able to expect some new material from the band sometime soon? If so, what could you tell us about it?

Brent: Okay! Gary has just got a bee up his arse and started to riff, I'm sure Nick's riffing with fury 'cause that's what he does. But you could hopefully expect "The Shadow Masters" with a little bit of extra, what would you say.. Magic? That's what I'm hoping for. I've got my fingers crossed. I don't write anything, so it's up to these guys how it's gonna sound. I'm pretty happy with what they did on "The Shadow Masters" though.

Were you (Brent) playing on "The Shadow Masters"?

Brent: Yeah, I've played every single 8 FOOT album.

You've been in the band since its inception, haven't you? (Justin)

Justin: Since the beginning, so, "Hate Made Me" and "Season For Assault", left for a while there. Then there was "Breed the Pain", "Poison of Ages", and now back for "The Shadow Masters" and any other album afterwards.

You guys have had quite a rickety line-up over the years, is the current one looking to be pretty concrete?

Brent: Yeah man.

Justin: Yeah, sure.

My personal favorite track probably has to be "Chelsea Smile"; what music in your discography would you say you're most proud of?

Justin: I think "The Shadow Masters".

Brent: For me, personally, I'm a guy who loves "Season for Assault" the best, and I've got a soft spot for "Hate Made Me" as well. I love that. And "The Shadow Masters", for sure.

Yeah, it's ("The Shadow Masters") probably my favorite. I've always been curious, I can't really compare you guys to any other band. I don't like doing that anyway, but what bands can you guys cite as your biggest influences for writing 8 FOOT's music?

Brent: We'll be talking on behalf for Gary: TESTAMENT is right up there, MEGADETH, THE HAUNTED of course, all that Swedish melodic metal, FACE DOWN, that was a big one. Of course we love BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, just good metal.

Justin: Yeah. PANTERA and SEPULTURA.

Yeah, okay, I can hear the grooves. I did a little research; you guys have played with some of metal's biggest acts; if you guys had a 'dream lineup', per se, who would you guys most lvoe to share a stage with? Say, at a festival?



Brent: LAMB OF GOD for me too, yeah. Just imagine us with LAMB OF GOD, TESTAMENT, IRON MAIDEN and BLACK SABBATH.

Justin: Fuck yeah.

Brent: That would be a nice little one night. And then round it out with some DANZIG at the end.

DANZIG.. Yeah, I could see that happening. I don't think DANZIG's ever been here before; that would be interesting.

Brent: Yeah, I'm not sure. I mean, we don't have to do it in New Zealand, we could take it around the world.
Have you guys toured overseas before?

Brent: Yes.

Where've you been to?

Brent: We've been to Canada, USA, England, Australia, we've recorded in Sweden, not played there yet.

Where did you record in Sweden?

Brent: We recorded at a place called Studio Underground in Västerås, which is about an hour West of Stockholm.

Cool. What are the band's plans for the remainder of the year?

Brent: We have a European and English tour coming up in October. All being well, I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but the plan is to record a new album, maybe in November while we're in England. That would be pretty good, but I'll believe it when I see it. But Gary's started riffing hard again, so maybe it's true.

So Gary's basically the driving force behind the band in terms of creative material?

Brent: Oh, fuck yeah.

Apologies, I've been sick for a week before I came here. Got any festivals lined up overseas?

Justin: Not at this stage, I mean, obviously we're looking into it but we've got a European manager over there, so it's kind of up to him what he can find and get us on board.

Honestly, you guys have basically already answered what I had to say

Brent: Actually, we should say that we're touring Europe with SOIL, AMERICAN HEADCHARGE, and HED PE, and 8 FOOT, and that is going to be 20-30 shows all around Europe. We've got a manager called James Black, from Black Radar Management, so he's in England working for us, plus we got a manager in New Zealand, Andy, who's working for us. We're in a better position now than we ever have been because the band doesn't have to worry about booking shows in New Zealand, or the things that you have to do yourself as a small, independent band. It's taken a long time but it's getting more and more fun every day. Can't complain about that.

Definitely not. Well, I'm really glad I got to speak with you guys. Actually, with regards to your shows in America, our website actually has a pretty big team of writers; they also handle the live reports side of things. We've actually got a team who organizes people's press passes for those events. We've got a team in the US, a team in Europe, I'll actually notify my editor about the shows you guys are going to and he can spread the word about that.

Brent: If you have a look on our Facebook website, all the dates are up there.

Good show. I'm real glad I got to speak with you guys, thank you very much on behalf of Metal Temple for the opportunity. Is there any last words you'd like to leave?

Brent: I wanna say thank you very much for having US and interviewing US, it's epic.

Of course, whenever the material's ready, feel free to send a promo through to us, and we'll get a review done; will probably be me writing since I'm the only New Zealand writer. We've got about 30, but I'm the only guy from downunder.

Justin: Definitely.

Brent: Where is the website based? America?

Me: Greek webmaster, but it's multinational.

Brent: You say a Greek webmaster?

Yeah. Based in Greece, but it's a multinational webzine. It's been going for about 14 years now.

Justin: Fuck, man.

Brent: Yeah, that's mean.

Well, that was it from me, good luck!

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