Music

New Zealand’s thrashers Deathnir run us through their album, track by track

With track titles like Wings of Death and Dr. Pain, Deathnir never shy away from the genre that blazes through their music: ’80s thrasher metal.

Returning to the scene with their first new track since 2018, the latest single from Deathnir, Buzz Cut, is a searing slice of slasher movie brilliance. The four-piece from Hamilton, New Zealand bleed the same fiery blood as their heroes. If you’re a fan of Metallica, Megadeth, and Judas Priest, you’ll be hypnotised by their commitment to staying heavy.

Deathnir’s lead vocalist and guitarist Drew Carter took a deep dive into the band’s album Second Sin. Fleshing out the dark stories behind the mythic sounds, he takes us through the 10 chapters of raw sound in his own words.

deathnir

Helstorm

Starting off the album is a doomy thrash song about the bombing of Dresden back in World War II and the resulting firestorms that sucked people in like fiery tornadoes. Helstorm describes the destruction that occurred on that day and paints the picture with an amalgamation of finger blistering leads, guitar harmonies, distorted bass solos, and a chaotic ending doused in dissonance, seamlessly leading into the next song…

Wings of Death

…the destruction and turbulence morphs into a Megadeth-sounding gallop as Valkyries arrive to take the fallen to the afterlife. A vocal roar signals the end of the section as a new battle begins, beckoning the end of everything in a thunderous stampede of chromatic power chords and gritty vocals. Duel solos fill out the following section as the bass and drums dominate the rhythm until they descend into the sudden climax.

Metallion

This one is an anthem, a call for all metal fans to unite. Starting with a Judas Priest-turned-thrash style riff and carrying the melody in the guitar riff right through the verse, the chant of “METALLION!” usually gets the audience amped and screaming as the moshing ensues. The bridge section is simple but effective with an almost spoken vocal over the top, “nothing left to hold me down, I throw my shackles to the ground…” makes a declaration of empowerment as the guitar solo erupts, followed by another chorus and chanting of “METALLION!”

Epitome of Darkness

This one is a lot darker. I originally wrote it from the perspective of a demon in the depths of hell and then turned it into a metaphor about rising out of darkness as an individual. The bass takes precedence here, setting the riff and leading the listener into the song. Clean guitar and ambient cymbals pave the way for the dark lyric that follows, a good dose of reverb and it’s like being in an underground sacrificial chamber. The song picks up with an explosion into distorted guitars and bass and takes the song into the next section where speed increases and a near Celtic riff takes the stage, followed by chanting and guitar solos.

Bringer of Evil

Drums! Let’s start with drums that punch you in the teeth! This song is characterised by the guitar melody that you hear and want to scream, accompanied by gallops, a driving bassline and the occasional double kick. This was one of the first songs written for this album and came a long way from the raw collection of riffs it started as to the polished steel it is now. We often treat Epitome of Darkness as a prequel to this song in our live shows because they work so well together and follow similar themes.

Dark Angel

This song is a triplet-driven piece reminiscent of early W.A.S.P., which is a bit more mainstream than the rest of the album and has some nice guitar lines and harmonies. It’s a love song done in a metal way.

Dr. Pain

Oh, you want thrash? Try this! The music is very Megadeth mixed with a touch of Metallica, so you know it’s gonna spit some venom. The lyrics take you into the lair of a mad surgeon who, after kidnapping his victims, slices people up while they’re strapped to a table and still awake! Dive-bombs + chromatic scales + dyads + a guitar battle = the ferocity that is Dr. Pain. Our guitarist Brad Ion came up with the music for this song and the whole band co-wrote the lyrics.

Never Go

This is a popular one of ours, written by our bassist Adam Johnson. It originally featured on our debut album Die By The Axe but we gave it some extra details on Second Sin, which takes it up a level. To be straight up, this song kicks ass. It opens with a solid guitar riff that builds tension as the drums and bass creep in. When the beat starts the bass drum locks in with the eight note pattern of the riff to give it extra impact. The gritty vocal tells a cautious tale of trust and betrayal:

“You know my secret, now you can never go” is a haunting message that will stay with you.

Internal War

Guitar starts and off we go! This one is short and to the point, but also full of stabs and speed for that sharp thrash sound. A fat bass section in the middle, punky vocal with double-tracking, it’s a fun one to play. The lyrics focus on mental struggles, the thoughts that fill our heads when we just want to relax but we get too caught up worrying about things. It’s easy to have conflicting feelings on some issues until it feels like you’re at war with yourself and it takes strength to get through it.

Going to Hell

When we were thinking of a song to finish the album with, we thought something that was fast, energetic and left you wanting more. Going to Hell checks those boxes, the sudden start mirrors the sudden finish which almost works as a tease until it explodes back into life just as you thought the action had finished. This one has it all; raging guitar riffs, catchy vocals, big punchy bass, guitar harmonies, half time, double kick, it’s a great track we often finish our shows on too.

Enjoy the full album Second Sin on Spotify below: