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Scaphist: Death Metal from New Zealand

August 14, 2012

Think you had the best brew of Death Metal yet? Think again.


Scaphist, inspired by the majestic past of Ancient Iran/Persia and modern extreme music, brings in artistic Phrygian & Dissonant atmospheres alongside harshness, speed and aggression with lightning fast kicks, powerful vocal anthems and crushing guitar motifs to create a unique blend of black and death metal mostly unheard of in their clean green home country of New Zealand. Mostly.

Formed in 2008 by founding members Phil, Oli and Harry. They have since played a number of shows in Auckland, Hamilton & Rotorua with local metal legends Ulcerate, Just One Fix and Indread Response.

They are looking forward to playing in the Nation’s Capital for the first time at Capital Punishment III which is a 12 hour Metal Festival.

Their latest track, Heraldic Verses, calls out to all individuals to awaken from the prison they were born into and brainwashed to accept through deceptive media

Digest their tracks here.

How would you best describe your music?

Brutal Blackened Death Metal. I’ve always liked death metal just as much as I like black metal so by combining my favourite elements from each genre it allows more creative possibilities to be explored. Think about that punch in death metal that feels like hammers constantly whacking you in the head and the edge and rawness of black metal that sends shivers down your spine. I set out to capture the best of both sides of extreme metal in Scaphist’s music. Our drummer and I also tossed around the idea of having an ‘elite’ sound – not meaning being egotistic, self-centered, narrow-minded etc. but rather having a sound which is majestic, triumphant, powerful and regal – almost like a royal fanfare in conjuration of mans exultant yet savage history.

What are your songs about?

We humans have accomplished some amazing things, but also some horrifyingly savage and violent things. Each song has its own story behind it. It often depends on what idea or concept we’ve become interested in at the time of writing the song. For example in the song ‘Demise of the Sylphs’ we personified the idea that humanities impact on our environment and atmosphere into the slaughter of ‘sylphs’ mythological spirits of the air. Our newer song ‘Heraldic Verses’ directs hatred towards the cabalistic banking elite who hold human progress back and proclaim that the unforgiving forces of the emergent shifting changes of nature will ultimately be their undoing. My lyrics tend to be quite abstract and metaphoric

If you had a chance to perform any where in the world, where would that be and why?

Any massive metal festival in any part of Europe. It seems that metal is massive in Europe. We get the impression that the music and the subculture is more widely accepted and that public awareness and understanding is exponentially higher than it is in New Zealand.

Which local musicians in your country do you most admire and why?

We really admire fellow Auckland band Ulcerate whom we’ve played a couple of shows with. They’ve seeded their roots with both local and overseas fans, meticulously refined their unique sound and toured internationally with bands like Nile. They know what kind of sound they want to deliver and they do a fantastic job of it. It came to my attention however their gear got stolen while they were on tour overseas. My thoughts and sympathies go out to them. We highly recommend checking out their albums ‘Everything is Fire’ and ‘The Destroyers of All’

What is your biggest achievement to date?

Playing at a 12 hour metal festival in the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. Awesome road trip, impressive turnout for 4pm. Furthest show away from Auckland. Next stop, Australia!

If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

More collaboration. I feel New Zealand has a very fragmented underground music scene with a lot of international-grade talent that is all too often underrated by overseas listeners and promoters. I feel if promoters in New Zealand were to team up and collaborate more often the New Zealand metal scene will start to see bigger shows in greater numbers. I know lots of Kiwi bands who I think would be incredibly successful overseas but just don’t have the following or the backing to make it a reality.

What was the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you while performing?

Being shut down by the cops! We were playing our first proper show ever with our drummer Adam in West Auckland. Just as we finish our second song one of the promoters informed us we had to pack it up and shut down the event. Apparently some youth had been drinking and even rioting outside the venue. After this announcement was made the audience started chanting “F*** da police!” while another well known death metal band didn’t even get on stage.

What are your thoughts on music piracy?Would you give your music away for FREE?

Love it. Absolutely love it. We released our first album “Majestic Seal of Antiquity” for free internet download. The publicity and acquiring an international fan base has been invaluable

Connect with Scaphist


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