The evolution of a band is something truly magical and often confusing to witness at the best of times, so you can understand my excitement when Victoria/New South Wales border metal band Netherealm released their first EP As We Reign. A formidable force in the music scene of Albury-Wodonga, this brutal death metal act is comprised of vocalist Ben Quin, bass player Gerard Biesboer, guitarists Peter Cox and Heath Smith and drummer Jared Roberts. Their style is reminiscent of the heavier works of Pantera, Slayer and some of the earlier Metallica albums, but also comprises brief incursions of newer metal such as Behemoth, Meshuggah and The Faceless with a slight tone-down on the heaviness.
As We Reign is an adventure into brutality and mayhem for anyone who chooses to listen. The opening track “The Creators” showcases each member’s talents with alarming force, a highlight of the track being a roaring guitar solo reminiscent of early Kirk Hammet and Dimebag. Quin’s lyrics throughout the album are profound and ominous (as any death metal band’s lyrics should be), presenting a more twisted view on the world and its inner workings with hints of a fantasy element peeking out from beneath the darkness. I would go as far as comparing his lyrical work to that of Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan and Peter Dolving of The Haunted, especially with the second track, “Exact Vengeance”, which reads more like a warped short story than a death metal song.
Overall, the EP is a tight, well-rounded first effort for the boys of Netherealm. Heavily laden with war-like drums and paint-stripping guitar solos and dripping with darkness and all things metal, this EP is a testament to the prowess and talent of a sorely underrated border act.
© Darcie Reid, Music Vice
Internet links: Netherealm