Not for the faint of heart – or even every metal fan – this is extremely serious and equally good. Describing themselves as “blackened death metal”, Auckland’s Scaphist definitely combine the remorselessly, aggressive best of both genres. They have based themselves on a concept of being influenced by ancient Persian culture (hence the name), so evidently know their history. Scaphism, for those interested, is an ancient method of execution where the victim gets consumed by insects while still fully conscious. They definitely succeed at recreating this sort of torturous experience in aural form. On first impression the band overwhelmingly sound like Poland’s almighty Behemoth, and it turns out they are influenced by them and other dark northern European bands. A list of likes would include Nile, Stillborn, Hate Eternal, Decapitated, Vader, Fleshgod Apocalypse – there’s no mistaking the label on the packet. Relentless kick drum, punishing guitars and vocals, Scaphist need to get some recognition for pushing both their theme and the genre. As with many local metal bands, there has been some revolving membership, but this album has Harry Benson-Rea on bass and vocals, Adam Bloomfield on drums, Wynand Brand on rhythm guitar and Rodrigo Hadalgo on guitar. It’s is their second album following 2011’s ‘Majestic Seal Of Antiquity’. If there is any further doubt as to the contents, sample tracks Bring Forth Sacred Flames, Impaled Upon Pinnacles and Heraldic Verses. NZ’s very own Behemoth, blackening the metal edges of Auckland.