New Music

New Zealand Hardcore & Metal Highlights of 2023: Existence labal’s picks

2 mins read
Existence Productions

As the year wanes, it’s apt to delve into the undercurrents of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s hardcore scene, a milieu where the visceral and the vibrant collide. Among the standout moments of 2023 was the emergence of Soul Void’s single, “Bathed in Unwound Flesh,” a track that encapsulates the essence of putrid death metal.

Following their 2022 Split “Horrifying New Form,” Soul Void’s latest release unfurls a panorama of guttural vocals and relentless guitars, underpinned by a synth intro courtesy of Paul from Absinthius.

2023 has been a great year for heavy / hardcore music. We’ve seen an increase of shows, some great new bands (who we’re yet to get releases from), old bands coming back together and of course some sick releases.” – comments Caleb from Wellington, New Zealand based label Existence.

Check out below a bit about what Caleb has enjoyed from the various scenes in New Zealand this year.

Existence Productions

Soul Void – Bathed in Unwound Guts

FFO – Creeping Death, Spinebreak, Cannibal Corpse

Putrid Death Metal band from Tāmaki (Auckland, New Zealand) have just released a single as a follow up to their 2022 Split Horrifying New Form. This song is filled with sick guitars, ruthless vocals and a synth intro written by Paul from Absinthius.

Brainwave – Summer Promo ‘23

FFO – Power Trip, Fugitive, No Warning

Brainwave is a Hardcore / Thrash crossover band from Pōneke (Wellington, New Zealand). For those of you in the northern hemisphere Summer happens over the new year down under. Currently it’s boiling hot and this 2 track promo from Brainwave is the perfect release to listen to at the beach. Both tracks feature a high energy with powerful lyrics, immersing listeners in the raw intensity that is Brainwave.

Pressure – Never Follow

FFO – Judiciary, 50 Lions, Backtrack

Finally after a few years of slaying every show they play Pressure have come out to tease us with their single Never Follow. If this is any indication of what they’re keeping locked in a vault then I’m excited. Reminiscent of old Judiciary and Backtrack they’ll have you bouncing and yelling around.

Shuv-it – Enter

FFO – Turnstile, Higher Power, Magnitude

One of the biggest surprises of the year was shuv-it. Their EP Enter came out of nowhere. Hailing from Te Waipounamu (South Island) this band released on of the catchiest set of tracks for a long time. Their live sets are filled with energy and bring an overall great vibe.

Drop Off Point – Bridge City Crew

FFO – Bridge 9 Records, Terror, Madball

Bridge City Crew is the sophomore EP from Kirikiriroa (Hamilton, New Zealand) band Drop off point. The EP is filled with heavy riffs, gang vox, guest appearances (Madball & Wisdom in Chains) and lyrics about the Hamilton scene.

Standover – No Space Is Safe

FFO – Antagonist A.D, Cruelty, xRepresentx

Aggressive, Angry & Heavy. That’s all to be said about Standover’s demo No Space Is Safe.

Featuring members of Past NZHC Heavyweights including Saving Grace, Strangers and more.

End of an Empire – Best Laid Plans

FFO – Verse, Defeater, More Than Life

After a long awaited few years End of an Empire have come out with their 2nd LP Best Laid Plans. This album is filled with high energy melodic hardcore, heartfelt lyrics & sick solos. All 4 members have put a lot of time and soul into this record and you can really tell.

Other notable releases to check out:

Bralwer – Push Back

SAWNOFF – Conflicted Fighting Violent Impulse


Piss Baby – Rest in Piss

Dole Bludger – Demonstration Tape

STACKED – Shelter


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