Beastwars Profile

Gareth Shute
2 Jul 2018

It caught many by surprise when Beastwars hit No.15 on the charts with their self-titled debut. Their sludgy stoner rock was too heavy for the commercial rock stations in New Zealand, but they proved they could survive without their support, racking up two further top five albums. This trilogy of albums was a definitive catalogue of the band’s themes of mortality, apocalypse, and the elemental structures of the world.

The story of Beastwars reaches back to 1986, when singer Matt Hyde started his first band, Microwave Babies, while still at Saint Bernard's College in Lower Hutt (the band imploded in early 1988). Following this, Hyde moved to Australia and was hit by the first stirrings of grunge, especially Soundgarden.

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Beastwars' debut album tour poster, 2011.
Photo credit: Promotional image
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Beastwars - Dune (from Blood Becomes Fire, 2013)
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Beastwars interview on The Void with Christina, 2016
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Poster for a gig at the legendary Esplanade Hotel at St Kilda, Melbourne - 2013. 
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Beastwars band painting by Nik Keller, a Wellington artist who now works for Weta Digital. It was created when Auckland beer company Hallertau approached the band wanting to create a limited edition brew using their name.
Photo credit: Nik Keller
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Poster for Beastwars and Windhand gig, 2014. 
Photo credit: Promotional image
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Beastwars - San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, 2012
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James Woods, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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Beastwars - Matt Hyde, James Woods, Nathan Hickey, Clayton Anderson.
Photo credit: Promotional image
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Matt Hyde from Beastwars rehearsing for a performance at the APRA SIlver Scroll awards.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Beastwars.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Beastwars, L to R: Clayton Anderson, James Woods, Matt Hyde, Nathan 'Nato' Hickey.
Photo credit: Jay Hynes, Melbourne
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Beastwars - Some Sell Their Souls (The Death Of All Things, 2016)
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Matt Hyde, Beastwars. Cherry Festival, Australia, 2015.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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Beastwars - Tower Of Skulls (from Blood Becomes Fire, 2013)
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Beastwars at Cherry Festival, Australia, 2015
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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Beastwars and Red Fang show, Cherry Rock, Melbourne, 2015
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Clayton Anderson obeying the riff in Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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Matt Hyde performing in Beastwars at York Street Recording Studios, Auckland, for 95bFM Sundae Sessions.
Photo credit: Hugh Sundae
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Matt Hyde of Beastwars, at Real Groovy Records on Record Store Day, 20 April 2013
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
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James Woods, Beastwars.
Photo credit: Jay Hynes, Melbourne
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Nathan 'Nato' Hickey, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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Clayton Anderson, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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Beastwars, Homegrown, 2016. L to R: Clayton Anderson, Matt Hyde, James Woods, Nathan Hickey.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Beastwars, on stage at the San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington, 2016. 
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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James Woods of Beastwars, rehearsing in a room at the Auckland Town Hall for their appearance at the Apra Silver Scroll (playing a song by The Eastern). Mayor Len Brown came down to complain that the noise was annoying.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Matt Hyde, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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Nik Keller's cover art for Beastwars' self-titled 2011 debut album.
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Matt Hyde of Beastwars, at the Rolling Thunder Festival; Collingwood Town Hall, Melbourne, February 2016
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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Beastwars, The Death of All Things tour - San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, 2016.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Beastwars - Dunedin gig poster, 2012
Photo credit: Promotional image
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Matt Hyde, Beastwars.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Beastwars - Witches (The Death Of All Things, 2016)
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Matt Hyde fronting Beastwars in Australia.
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A graphic by prominent Australian artist, Ben Brown, used for a tour poster and t-shirt, 2015. Brown also designed posters for tours of Australia by the Pixies and Nirvana. 
Photo credit: Ben Brown
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A Beastwars set list.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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James Woods, Beastwars.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Beastwars - Christchurch, 2015.
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Beastwars on the cover of NZ Musician magazine, April/May 2016.
Photo credit: NZ Musician
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Matt Hyde of Beastwars, on stage at Chicks Hotel, Port Chalmers, 2014. They were double-billed with US band Windhand.
Photo credit: Dani Michelucci
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Beastwars in Australia, c. 2014. From left: James Woods, Matt Hyde, Nathan Hickey, Clayton Anderson. 
Photo credit: Anthony Pinder
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Beastwars in rehearsal for the APRA Silver Scroll Awards.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Matt Hyde recording vocals for their 2011 debut album outside on the deck, Dale Cotton's studio, Dunedin.
Photo credit: Clayton Anderson and Nathan Hickey
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Matt Hyde of Beastwars addresses the front row at the Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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James Woods, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
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Nathan 'Nato' Hickey, Beastwars - San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, 2016. 
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Beastwars - Empire (from the self-titled debut, 2011)
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Matt Hyde of Beastwars, during The Death of All Things tour - San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, 2016.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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Members:

Matt Hyde - vocals

Clayton Anderson - guitar

James Woods - bass

Nathan ‘Nato’ Hickey - drums

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Trivia:

While living in the UK, Hickey joined the metal group, Elephant Tree.

Beastwars often cited their credo as being "obey the riff" – partly reflected in the fact that they pass over guitar solos and showy elements in favour of creating atmosphere and focusing on the overall sonics of the song.

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