In the three years that have passed since Beastwars’ third album The Death Of All Things, vocalist Matt Hyde has battled and subsequently gone into remission from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a malicious cancer that spreads throughout the body via the blood vessels and glands. Speaking about his experience in the press release for this album he says “the fear of death is enough to make you want to live.” Indeed, if there is one thing to take away from this album, it’s that this is the sound of a band very much enjoying being alive, with Hyde in particular sounding practically immortal.

‘Raise The Sword’ sets the tone, blustering in on a fat doom drenched riff as Hyde screams his lungs out with a clear newfound passion. Influences such as Neurosis and latter day Soundgarden can be heard in both the music and Hyde’s phenomenal vocal delivery as evident in ‘Omens’, the album’s lead single which also features quieter, psychedelic parts bolstered by subtle, melodic guitar licks. As these guitar lines cruise along accompanied by a deep, rattling bass, Hyde’s voice continues to remain a pure force of nature throughout. Similarly on the earth shattering ‘Storms of Mars’, the first song the band recorded for the album following Hyde’s recovery, the front man’s vocals are nothing short of phenomenal. The urgency and energy he brings to the song is incredibly moving as he bellows ‘I want to be alive/to see my child grow’, delivering one of the most emotional vocal performances you’ll hear all year. Elsewhere, ‘Sound Of The Grave’ is a murky affair, as thunderous palm muting bolsters Hyde’s reverb coated vocals whilst ‘The Traveller’ is a mid paced number that features some gorgeous psychedelic guitar leads that ride along on a commanding bass line. Closer ‘Like Dried Blood’ opens disarmingly with some gorgeously haunting piano before blossoming into an epic ballad that manages to encapsulate the scale and passion of the entire album.

It’s difficult to imagine that had Hyde’s health taken a turn for the worse, this album would simply not exist. As it stands IV plays as the album Beastwars were destined to make. With a clear newfound sense of urgency and loaded with some of the most emotive songs of their career, IV finds Beastwars at the peak of their almighty powers.

IV is released on 28th June via Destroy Records and can be purchased here.

Words: Adam Pegg

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