If you've seen the super gory, super metal New Zealand horror movie Deathgasm (and you should have by now) then you can probably guess that director Jason Lei Howden knows and loves his heavy music. For his follow-up, Guns Akimbo (yes, the movie in which Harry Potter gets guns nailed to his hands) Howden even enlisted Revolver favorites 3TEETH to bring their signature industrial-metal attack to the soundtrack.
Today (February 4th, or February 5th in his homeland), Howden has teamed with Revolver to unleash his latest cinematic creation, the wicked music video for Kiwi headbangers Bulletbelt, a.k.a. the band behind the ripping Deathgasm theme song. The clip is for "Flames of Hell," a standout cut off the group's 2020 album, Warlords, and it was inspired by Howden's passion for "cult heavy-metal zines, particularly those of the Eighties and Nineties," he enthuses. "These homemade fanzines were known for being heavily photocopied and featuring crudely drawn illustrations and border art, misaligned text and having fresh insight into many underground metal acts."
Metal zines were hugely important to Bulletbelt, as well, serving as their "way into the metal underground way before the internet existed." "The days of tape trading and finding out about all the killer bands from around the world," the group says in a joint statement, adding that the video fits "Flames of Hell" perfectly as the song has "a very classic Eighties metal vibe with a big open chorus and shredding guitar solo."
Howden offers more background and insight into the video. "I met Bulletbelt drummer Steve Francis when I was begging for metal tracks to use for my low budget horror Deathgasm," he tells us. "Steve and the band went above and beyond, and knocked out a wicked Deathgasm theme song. I love their sound, it's a really refreshing mix of genres that combines that old-school heavy-metal catchiness with a blackened thrash edge. I've been chatting with them about doing a video clip for a while, but I was always too busy. Eventually I had some free time, so I was planning a live action video when New Zealand got locked down again by COVID-19. Unable to predict if there were going to be more lockdowns, I quickly changed the plan so we could shoot with a small crew in a green-screen studio. In addition to the band performing, we recruited a couple of badass dancers, Hannah Tasker-Poland and Tian Gan. They bought a fierce edge to the clip with intense freestyle dancing, which often devolved into insane moshing.
"The concept of the video is that we are flicking through the pages of a metal zine from hell. It's a zine combined with the Necronomicon from Evil Dead, full of spells and curses. The backstory is that the band Bulletbelt were tricked by two evil Succubi, who are posing as corpse-paint-wearing heavy-metal dream girls. The band are now trapped in the zine, forced to perform within the pages for eternity while the Succubi dance.
"It was fun taking the footage and damaging it as much as possible to replicate the faded xerox look of those zines. We shot the performances in beautiful 4K, only to trash the footage, making it smeared and grainy with only basic details. The most time-consuming thing was replicating the metal band names, hand-drawn borders and crude illustrations. It's funny because the video rips through so fast those little details I worked so hard on are only on screen for split second. I could have been less picky with those in hindsight, but playing around with metal fonts and logos is crazy fun.
"We costumed the band in Eighties-inspired clothing, lots of studs, leather, chains and spiked cuffs. It wouldn't have looked right if they were rocking hoodies and jeans. The band had no complaints and were really into it — I think they enjoyed performing with some extra stage bling.
"'Flames of Hell' is the first metal music video I've made, so it's the fulfillment of a lifetime goal for me," Howden concludes. "I'm really grateful that the band trusted me with this concept. I loved experimenting with the treatment, aesthetic and images."