Beastwars Profile

Gareth Shute
Published: 2 Jul 2018
Updated: 1 May 2020

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, The Death of All Things tour - San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, 2016.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
Beastwars.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
James Woods, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
Matt Hyde of Beastwars, during The Death of All Things tour - San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, 2016.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
Beastwars - San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, 2012
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
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
Poster for Beastwars and Windhand gig, 2014. 
Photo credit: Promotional image
Matt Hyde of Beastwars, at Real Groovy Records on Record Store Day, 20 April 2013
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
Beastwars' debut album tour poster, 2011.
Photo credit: Promotional image
Beastwars, L to R: Clayton Anderson, James Woods, Matt Hyde, Nathan 'Nato' Hickey.
Photo credit: Jay Hynes, Melbourne
Clayton Anderson obeying the riff in Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
Beastwars and Red Fang show, Cherry Rock, Melbourne, 2015
Beastwars in rehearsal for the APRA Silver Scroll Awards.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
Matt Hyde fronting Beastwars in Australia.
James Woods, Beastwars.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
Matt Hyde of Beastwars addresses the front row at the Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
Matt Hyde, Beastwars.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
A Beastwars set list.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
Poster for a gig at the legendary Esplanade Hotel at St Kilda, Melbourne - 2013. 
Beastwars - Matt Hyde, James Woods, Nathan Hickey, Clayton Anderson.
Photo credit: Promotional image
Nathan 'Nato' Hickey, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
James Woods, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
Beastwars - Dunedin gig poster, 2012
Photo credit: Promotional image
Clayton Anderson, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
Matt Hyde, Beastwars, Melbourne, 2016.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
James Woods, Beastwars.
Photo credit: Jay Hynes, Melbourne
Beastwars, Homegrown, 2016. L to R: Clayton Anderson, Matt Hyde, James Woods, Nathan Hickey.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
Matt Hyde from Beastwars rehearsing for a performance at the APRA SIlver Scroll awards.
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
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
Beastwars - Some Sell Their Souls (The Death Of All Things, 2016)
Beastwars - Tower Of Skulls (from Blood Becomes Fire, 2013)
Beastwars - Empire (from the self-titled debut, 2011)
Beastwars interview on The Void with Christina, 2016
Matt Hyde performing in Beastwars at York Street Recording Studios, Auckland, for 95bFM Sundae Sessions.
Photo credit: Hugh Sundae
Matt Hyde, Beastwars. Cherry Festival, Australia, 2015.
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
Nathan 'Nato' Hickey, Beastwars - San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, 2016. 
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
Beastwars on the cover of NZ Musician magazine, April/May 2016.
Photo credit: NZ Musician
Matt Hyde of Beastwars, on stage at Chicks Hotel, Port Chalmers, 2014. They were double-billed with US band Windhand.
Photo credit: Dani Michelucci
Beastwars, on stage at the San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington, 2016. 
Photo credit: Alexander Hallag
Beastwars - Christchurch, 2015.
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
Beastwars - Witches (The Death Of All Things, 2016)
Beastwars in Australia, c. 2014. From left: James Woods, Matt Hyde, Nathan Hickey, Clayton Anderson. 
Photo credit: Anthony Pinder
Nik Keller's cover art for Beastwars' self-titled 2011 debut album.
Beastwars at Cherry Festival, Australia, 2015
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
Beastwars - Dune (from Blood Becomes Fire, 2013)
Matt Hyde of Beastwars, at the Rolling Thunder Festival; Collingwood Town Hall, Melbourne, February 2016
Photo credit: Stephen Boxhill
Labels:

Universal

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.

Members:

Matt Hyde - vocals

Clayton Anderson - guitar

James Woods - bass

Nathan ‘Nato’ Hickey - drums