Matt Butler


Motörhead changed my life. Then the Ramones did. And Guitar Wolf. Public Image Ltd probably did as well. Then there was NoFX… and Henry Rollins. And Kyuss. Maybe even Monolord.

Come to think of it, Elvis and the Beach Boys probably changed my life as well, as I listened to them as a child (thanks mum and dad) and still harbour a desire for the former artist’s leathers and the latters’ garish Aloha shirts.

All right, I will admit it: every new thing I hear gives me something – even if it is just nausea. And it is this that keeps me looking. One day I might even find something as life-changing as Ace of Spades was all those moons ago.

Even  if I don’t, the exploring is still fun.

Oh, almost forgot. I am a Kiwi, I like long walks (well, runs), socialising (whisky), good food (chocolate and pork scratchings) and cosy nights in (doom metal by candlelight). And I am a Pisces. In my day job I write about people in shorts.

Articles by Matt Butler

Domkraft – Flood

An album of riffs which are massive and majestic, at once conjuring mental images of barren space-scapes and a big-sky desert wilderness.

Various – The Wall [Redux]

In these times of deep division between the entitled and the rest of us, of walls growing between races, genders, neighbourhoods and nations, this fantastic version of Pink Floyd’s classic encapsulates people’s fears and anger.

All Them Witches – ATW

It is worrying when a band say they want to confound expectations. But after All Them Witches’ sprawling previous album, this is probably a natural reaction for the band – to dial things back a little.

Krisiun – Scourge of the Enthroned

Krisiun are back to their blisteringly fast signature sound and it is a good thing.

Morne – To The Night Unknown

The gargantuan riffs, the cavernous drums, the ominous tone of the guitar and bass – not to mention the dry rasp of the vocals – send this album way past brooding, miles on from sullen, beyond malevolent and to the border of bloody terrifying.

Forming The Void – Rift

Like riffs? Melody? Albums with a mammoth on the cover? You’re in luck. This strikes a perfect balance between heavy and crowd-pleasingly melodic.

Birds In Row – We Already Lost the World

This is great. From the visceral thump that introduces the opening track to the barrage of the final number, it is a heartfelt, if occasionally bleak, listen.

Nopes – Stapler

The ideal soundtrack to toasting life’s little triumphs… like getting out of the house, making a decent coffee and refraining from calling the boss an arrogant dickhead.

Low Hums – Night Magic Wine

Drenched in shimmering riffs from the 1960s and full of enthusiasm, this is a record for listening to while driving on the coast in the sun.

Lik – Carnage

An album of relentless brutality, gory lyrics, a hefty dose of humour and – this is most important – mammoth hooks and breakdowns. When only death metal will do, this will do nicely.

Garganjua – Through the Void

This band promised more far-reaching concepts, more progression and more experimentation. This album delivers. And it is testament to the adage that if you make music that is worth hearing, listeners will do their best to make it heard.

Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed III

By the end of the final song, the band play like they know it is the end of a trilogy born of sadness and are putting every sinew into making it as fast, loud and intense as possible.

Selva – Doma

On first impressions this consists of two squalls of blackened screamy intensity. But then you notice variations and major-chord progressions that your reptilian brain responds to by giving you goose-bumps.

The Messthetics – The Messthetics

This album will get attention because two-thirds of the band were in Fugazi. But don’t buy it because of that, buy it because it is a great debut.

Jason van Gulick – Concrete

It’s a narrow tightrope that an avant-garde musician must balance upon. But Jason van Gulick does so with aplomb.

Ghastly Sound – The Bottom

If they are this good on only their second EP – nine songs into their career, to put it another way – imagine what they could do if they were given time and money to spend on an entire album. Outstanding.

The Erkonauts – I Shall Forgive

If you need an album to match an excess of caffeine but one that doesn’t lumber you with irritability or melancholy, you are in luck.

Year of the Cobra – Burn Your Dead

This album has a sneer, a swagger. But as well as that, it has a whole heap of melody.

The King is Blind – We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer

The King is Blind straddle genres. They’re a bit deathy, a touch thrashy, a little groovy… even a tad folky, for a few brief seconds. But throughout, they are all metal. And metal rules.

Monolord – Rust

Every drum is beaten like a Dickensian bastard. Every growling bass note is played with no thought for human hearing. Every guitar riff is strummed with scant regard for bleeding fingers. This is doom perfection.

Low Flying Hawks – Genkaku

This is doom, but as for what it really sounds like… well, that is a tough one: it is big but delicate, heavy but airy, morose but uplifting. And it hangs together like all good albums should.

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