South Africa Metal: SABRETOOTH

(80’s Inspired/Progressive/Hard Rock)
Photo by: Robin Bernstein
Playing alongside Seven Year Kismet (UK) and Horse the Band (USA) must be the biggest gig of your career, so far? 
Charles: Well actually, I think in terms of sharing the stage with international acts go it must be Ramfest’12 (Inflames and Infected Mushroom). Sharing the stage with great South African bands, the likes of Taxi Violence, The Great Apes, Fox Comet, Woodstock Mafia, Enmity, A Walk With The Wicked and Juggernaught is always a highlight too. I think for the band and most of those who follow our music the most notable highlight has got to be our debut album. 
The band has a solid grasp of technicalities in the music – how does the work so well? Is this due to prior experience or a professional understanding of music?

Charles: I studied music at UCT and so I guess the song writing really benefits from this, not to say great song writers have to have formal training. We’ve all been playing for many years and had lots of experience in other bands and other styles of music. There’s a lot to be said about how each member of the band adds their own influence on the song. I think the key to any band is understanding your fellow band mates and leaving space for all the instruments to shine.

Dean: Me personally, it’s because of my background of playing technical death metal when I was younger. Back then I enjoyed my hands being busy on the guitar because I felt I was constantly contributing to the music haha.
In Sabretooth I get a feeling of accomplishment in taking up the challenge of tackling the compositions and performing it as perfect as we can. I’m definitely fortunate to play with musicians that are like-minded and won’t settle for ‘good-enough’.

Most bands stick to the traditional 4 members – though Sabretooth has two guitarists and a keyboard player amongst the drummer, vocalist and bass player. Some might call this over compensation?

Photo by: Matt Davidson
Dean: Yeah, I can see why some would think so. It IS definitely harder to keep the sound cleaner and pleasing with more members. From personal experience I think the main reason behind that thought is sometimes failure to understand how and why an instrument or sound contributes to a song.

Every member in the band has their place and knows when to bring their sound forward or keep it back.

Charles: Yeah… haha. Organising would be a lot easier with only 4 members. It doesn’t help our sound checks or stage volume either. It’s the way Sabretooth is and it just wouldn’t be the same without the line-up the way it is. There are no token positions and every instrument is key to the Sabretooth sound. I think it’s overkill that Iron Maiden has 3 guitarist for live, but I guess it’s what they think is necessary (I’m sure they don’t have many financial obstacles) You do what you do to get the results.

Tell us which bands have shaped Sabretooth’s musical taste?

Charles: The typical interview answer here is to say that we don’t sound like anything else out there. The truth is that everyone is shaped by their tastes and experiences. I’d say that we all have great personality in the way we play which I think is down to our actual personalities. In terms of musical style, we’re a cross of 80s/power/neoclassical metal/rock. I think we sound something like the lovechild of: Symphony x, Whitesnake, Children of Bodom and DIO.

Are Sabretooth finding the type of music that you play is getting a lot of older fans, despite your youth?

Charles: We’re really surprised by the range of people that like what we do. There are a lot of the old school rock/metal heads that think we’re great and even older people that just appreciate what we do and young kids at the same time. There are also people that really dislike “clean” singing vocals, but to them we are an exception. There are a lot of people who don’t even like heavier music who like our music. Obviously every band has their share of those who aren’t really fans of their music. We aren’t an egotistical band and I’d say we’re all pretty down to earth. So it’s really awesome when people have good things to say about our music and likewise, we love supporting fellow bands.

Let’s talk about Sabretooth’s Self-titled release. I read the good review on LMG!

Charles: Yeah, really cool! Thanks again to those at LMG. We had a release listening party on Voice Of Rock Radio which was really great, it featured the whole album and track by track commentary. The album took us about a year to record and finish. We had band struggles during it and we really put a lot of heart and soul into the album. It’s definitely got something for everyone, but what we hear most is that the album appeals in its entirety, rather than having a couple good songs. We did all the tracking, engineering and mixing with Dean Bailey (who plays guitar in the band). Then it was sent off to TL (Tim Lengfeld) mastering . So everything was done in SA and on a very modest budget. We’ve had a really great response to the album and are currently getting it out there.

What was the concept behind that album?
Charles: There isn’t really a specific concept. Our lyrics are more positive in nature than anything else and I’d say they are more about personal struggles. It’s really a collection of songs spanning nearly five years rolled into a package saying “Here we are!”

Tell us about the opener; Night Warrior…

Dean: During our months of vocalist searching a couple years back, we were working on new songs which were of course instrumental at the time. Once we’ve recruited Mauri, compositions and vocals were rearranged on those new songs, but night warrior was an anomaly. We struggled to find the right sound vocally to fit that song that wasn’t going to be just another vocal layer or be like the rest. It was a fun song to play and we wanted it on the album so we re-arranged it to work instrumentally. It was a risk having an instrumental song first on an album for sure, but I feel it’s a good representation (metaphorically) of how the band started out. No vocalist, just music.

Charles: It was originally intended to have vocals, but we decided against it in studio. We placed it first on the album just because it really had the best intro to set the pace for the rest of the album. There are some odd timings and quite a few key changes and I think it shows the different instrumental elements of the band. The verse is perfect for driving in your car… haha.

Cannot help but feel clinched by Tomorrow’s Gone – reminds me of Mötley Crüe’s Without You. I could be wrong or was that the ideal to create a good ballad?

Charles: Pretty much! I really love ballads and started writing it and it just came together. Even though it’s by far the easiest song for us to play, technically, it’s hard to get the intention/emotion just right. It is inspired by real life situations of a personal level. I think it really reflects our 80s inspirations, so you’re right there, but not specifically by Motley Crue.

Photo By: Robin Bernstein
Sabretooth has had Ramfest 2012 to add to their repertoire of live shows. What is the feedback on that? 

Charles: Extremely positive. We love playing festivals, because it really gets our music out there and I think that’s the purpose of playing music. It needs to be shared with people. There were some technical issues regarding sound checks running a bit late and it was hotter than hell, but it was a great show and we had a lot of support. We’re really grateful for being put on the line-up.

Dean: So far we’ve got nothing but great comments…from the people that count…haha.
There was a schedule problem that was out of our hands which ran the event an hour late and being the youngest and first band at the festival we unable to put on the show we intended. Regardless of all the problems, it was still a great experience for all of us and we’re grateful.

The Sabretooth claws have officially left its prints in many South African fans – as well as Funeral for a Friend (USA). What are people missing out on at a Sabretooth live show?

Charles: It’s just a high octane set. We always structure the set to keep the interest alive and don’t mess around when we’re up there. I think it’s the sense of community. When we’re playing we’ve got people with fists in the air, chanting and just having a good time. We really feel that the audience is part of the show. We’re all experiencing it together rather than just playing at people. There’s a lot for people to take in, so it doesn’t get boring. Each band member has their own thing going on and of course…. the fans on stage;)

What does the rest of the year hold for Sabretooth?

Charles: We’re looking at doing some touring to the rest of SA and gigs in Cape Town. We’re also getting into the video side of things. I think it’s time for a music video and some other live/studio videos. The main focus is getting the album out there and punting it overseas.

Can the band spill some thoughts about the South African metal scene, is the scene growing or falling into a loop of same band – different day?

Dean: Comparing to how it was a couple years back, bands are a lot more professional in all aspects. In my opinion, the problem in the past (and in some cases today), was that even though bands showed loads of enthusiasm, they had little respect for the music process and the effort required to take it to the next level. It became less of a “I’ll get drunk before I play and just have a good time with my friends, ag everyone makes mistakes” kind of scenario (which is perfectly fine…if that’s your goal) and more of a planned, thought-given performance, like any other favourite theatre performance you would pay a lot of money to see. Where you can see that time and effort was put into what you do and have people leave the venue feeling the music and show was worth the money.

Charles: Look, it’s a very difficult situation. We’re not really a part of any scene. We don’t exclusively play with metal bands or any other genre. We’re more interested in mixed line-ups. As a note on the metal scene though, I think it does suffer due to lack of market and irrelevant ideals. The attitude towards outsiders, general negative view, lack of support and the idea that bands think they’re in competition with one another are all very destructive. I think that the quality of the bands is getting better and everyone’s taking their music a little more seriously

Photo by: Michael Ellis Photography
Does the band have any last words? 

Charles: Thanks so much for the interview! Thanks again to our sponsors: Monster Energy, Paul Bothners and BFOC Guitars. Please head out to to listen to 3 tracks off our debut album and get in touch with us if you’d like to order one. Follow us on facebook and see you at the next gig!

Pleasure doing an interview with Sabretooth’s Charles and Dean! The claws are out go to NOW!


South Africa Metal: WILDERNESSKING

(The Writing of Gods in the Sand)

Writing of Gods in the Sand, Vinyl Gatefold Art by Murray Fraser 
Wildernessking has been a super busy band over the past couple of months. A lot of attention from abroad has given the South African metal scene a good name. Can the band elaborate on the need to change its name from Heathens to Wildernessking? Why the change and where did the new name originate?

We felt that it was necessary to change our name as we started to take things seriously, both sonically and aesthetically. The music evolved and became more of a conceptualized vision than before.
We wanted an original name, one that summed up who we are as people, our thoughts and outlook on life. Wildernessking is the most suitable banner for the sound we’re creating and the visual elements that accompany that sound.

Where did the “metal” start for each of the band members and how much of an influence from metal bands abroad has had an impact on Wildernessking?

As teenagers and like most fans of the genre, we started with the lighter, safer side of alternative/rock music, and worked our way towards the heavier stuff, streamlining our diverse tastes along the way.
 In terms of musical influences, only bands from abroad have influenced our sound, both metal and non-metal.

What was the concept behind the full-length debut release “The Writing of Gods in the Sand”? Is the band satisfied with the release?

The concept behind the record was an attempt to capture the travels of a group of people in search of the ideal world. Spanning one day, we witness the journey from discovery to exploration and finally to fulfillment.
With most albums there are going to be small things one wishes could have been different, but we feel that this album is an accurate summation of our early sound, and stands as a testament to becoming musically accustomed to  each other and finding our feet.
To us, the record is more than the recorded output. It sums up the writing and recording process, the trials and tribulations, the setbacks, the great memories, and we feel that it’s an apt symbol of that period.

Could you please elaborate on the process of creating “The Writing of Gods in the Sand”? How easy or difficult was it to get the debut made? Do tell our readers about the mixing and mastering.

Most of the album’s writing took place at The Shed (Dylan’s little home studio). We would spend one week working solidly on the material, to an entire month or even months of no activity. All of this took place sporadically between September 2010 and March 2011.
The songwriting process is our favourite stage in the birth and life of a record, so in creative terms it wasn’t difficult at all. There were some minor issues (that seemed major at the time) regarding the recording, production and financial side, but those were solved fairly quickly.
The album was mixed over a month long period by Dean Bailey at Cloud Studios in Cape Town, and mastered at The Vilhelm Room in Stockholm by Magnus Lindberg.

The full-length debut contains some awesome artwork by Reuben Sawyer of Rainbath Visual. What was his intentions behind creating those artworks – was it a collaboration between artist and musician or a “free to do as one pleases” project?

It was a collaboration. We sent Reuben a brief, loosely based on the lyrical concept and instructed him to have fun, knowing that his distinct style and attention to detail will shine through. The intention was to capture our sound in an artistic format, and we could not be happier with the result.
The band has been actively playing gigs on the music scene. Are there any particular highlights and low-lights that you would like to mention?

Shows that stand out include War at the Warehouse (Heathens’ debut EP launch in May 2010), Klein Libertas (July 2010), Mercury Live (May 2011), and Kimberley Hotel (June 2011).
Every show we’ve played (so far 18 in total) has been a learning experience, so to say that there have been low-lights would be a lie. We’ve taken something valuable away from every gig.

Antithetic Records are running a DIY Kickstarter through the end of the month for a 2x LP pressing of our début album! What has it been like working with Antithetic Records and tell us more about the DIY Kickstarter.

Shawn from Antithetic has been truly remarkable, passionate, supportive and enthusiastic. He noticed us very early and believed in what we were doing right off the bat. We can’t thank him enough for all that he has done for Wildernessking.
The DIY kickstarter was an idea of Shawn’s. It is difficult to churn out release after release being an independent record label, so the kickstarter is a way to help fulfill Antithetic’s 2012 roster, with great incentives for those who plan to contribute.

Tracks of the album, Rubicon and Utopia, have made some waves and caused a stir abroad. In fact, there have been some awesome as fuck raging reviews about Wildernessking from newsworthy metalheads. How does the band feel about this?

We are extremely happy with and truly grateful for the way the music has been received abroad. Now we’re 
ready for album number two and to tap further into an international market. This has only spurred us on to create better music and keep raising the bar for ourselves.

A lot of the time, people across the borders ask – what is the South African Metal scene like? How would Wildernessking describe the current metal scene? How does the current scene affect the band?

We can only speak for Cape Town, as we are yet to travel the country.
The current local scene is by no means a bad one. We have some great bands that have solid followings, and are definitely keeping the scene alive.
As metal bands, we are limited to a handful of venues and are not taken as seriously as non-metal bands in the scene. We can only hope that this will change as more local metal bands are recognized globally. The internet is a great platform to help kick-start this much-needed change.

What can we expect in terms of music from Wildernessking in 2012?

An EP, a split release with Young and In the Way, and album number 2!

So, lastly do you have any words that you would like to add especially to our readers from abroad?

Thank you for the support and taking the time to check out our music. And thanks to Shawn Sambol and everyone who has helped us out so far. To all the blogs and music websites that have said nice things, we appreciate all the exposure. Here’s to a fantastic 2012!

Thank you to Wildernessking for agreeing to do this interview!
Get all the Wildernessking details at Facebook!

Band Horn: Burgerkill (Indonesia)

(Indonesian Extreme Metal/Iron Sandwich Winner/Awesome)
With a band name best suited to a fast food chain, why did the band opt for the name Burgerkill? Are there any specific reasons for having chosen that name?
 Hahahaa! this question has been asked a thousand times. When we started as a hardcore band we really want to find a strange name so it’s easy to remember. At that time, almost all hardcore bands in Indonesia use similar names like American or European bands. But we prefer something unique. And it was my silly idea to change the Burgerking restaurant into Burgerkill because it sounds cool for our band’s name… Burger Fuckin’ Kill hahahahaa, wicked!
Dom Lawson (from Metal Hammer) reviewed Burgerkill’s album, Venomous for his podcast Iron Sandwich. Lawson called the album “furious and exhilarating metal savagery”. That is quite a compliment! Has Burgerkill reached their initial goal for the album?
 Yeah. Dom is awesome dude! We didn’t expect that he will review our album exclusively on his #IronSandwich Metal Hammer Podcast, and give us a great review on Metal Hammer magazine. An honour for us and a huge pride for Indonesian extreme music community to get that chance. This is something that we waiting for a long time, of course we were glad we could be well received. Finally Indonesian metal band can be enjoyed by those who live in Europe. It will be fantastic if we can do a tour there as well!
Burgerkill have been around for roughly 16 years on the Indonesian metal scene though Venomous has been the most stand-out album in terms of technique, production and promotion. Could you fill our readers in on the process of creating the album Venomous?
A lot has been going on in this band within the last 16 years. Not long after our third album ‘Beyond Coma and Despair’ released, our singer Ivan Scumbag died by a brain cancer and I think that’s the worst moment of our career. He’s like the ‘soul’ of our band. His lyrics and his performance on-stage put a nail our fans’ heart. So it’s just logical if a lot of people doubted Burgerkill to survive. But we never give up. After we found Vicky as a new vocalist, we continue to concentrate on working on new songs and touring as much as possible in Indonesia, Australia and Southeast Asia. So when we agreed to work on ‘Venomous’, we felt it’s time to give the real answer to those who doubt us. And in any creative process we don’t even think to give something that people expect from us. We just do what we want to do. We realize some people will love it and some people will not, but that’s ok… Cause we don’t care. We really work hard for this album and we believe ‘Venomous’ is a very powerful album to prove that we are still armed and dangerous.

 As mentioned prior, the band has been together for 16 years and counting. How has each musician progressed since the beginning?
Members come and go in 16 years. And I am the only remaining original founding member. As a songwriter in the band, I feel fortunate to work with many great musicians who have been involved in Burgerkill. Each of them taught me many things and it allowed me to reach this point. In Burgerkill, we always try to create a family. Everyone is brothers. For me it’s one of the essential elements that keep the band exist to this day. And I think, we have found the best formation for Burgerkill to continue making great music in the future.
In the past few years Burgerkill has been fortunate to play alongside Lamb of God, Devildriver and All That Remains as well as tour to South East Asia and Australia! What have been the band’s highlights so far?
Yeah it was an unforgettable experience. We are proud to be able to do it. Touring in Australia and play at major festivals such as Soundwave and Big Day Out is one of our greatest achievements. But there’s one the proudest moments for us is when Burgerkill had opportunity to do a solo concert in a Football Stadium in our hometown Bandung in September 2011. In this concert we are free to design the stage, sound and lighting concept as we want. And the best thing is the concert was attended by more than 11,000 our loyal fans. It’s like dream come true!

On that note, what have been Burgerkill’s lowlights so far?
I think the death of ‘Ivan Scumbag’ is the most painful moments for us and it really breaks our heart. We were in the middle of doing promo for the new album. At that moment, I was thinking Burgerkill career was over, because I feel this band might not be able to continue without him. But thanks to the continuous support from our family, friends and fans, Burgerkill is able to stay strong and survive. Although we know is not easy, but we believe his spirit will remain alive forever in our hearts. He was a good friend and a very talented musician. That’s why we’re dedicated ‘Venomous’ as a form of our love and appreciation to him.
Not much is known about the Indonesian metal scene. What is Burgerkill’s outlook on Indonesian metal? Are there any restrictions or limitations for heavy metal in Indonesia? If so, what are they and how has Burgerkill overcome this?
Good question! Indonesia is a country with the largest Muslim population in the world and we have a great respect for Islamic culture. As you know Heavy Metal wasn’t born here, and we are far behind from those who live in America or Europe, especially in cultural and commercial terms. The music that Burgerkill play is difficult to be accepted here. Our governments consider this music is as too risky and could lead to riots. So metal bands in Indonesia – are not easy to get concerts. The governments don’t understand and assume this music may cause bad influences for young generation. But now the situation is getting better, they’re slowly aware Heavy Metal community is getting bigger in this country. May this long continue.
 Judging from Burgerkill’s social media sites such as facebook and twitter; the band has garnered a lot of fans far and wide. This is a positive assessment though what has the reception of the general audience/public been like for the band? Are the main supporters of the band from Indonesia or other countries?
It’s nice to know that many people liked what we do, this is a great tribute to this band. When we formed the band, we never thought will go this far. Everything just flows. For us, fans are the important element of this band. We always try to communicate with them via social networks and give them the best information they need in many ways. We also have a fans club and often do many activities with them when we were off tours. It’s fun to share a lot of information with them and listen to their stories. When we touring in Australia, we were surprised to see a lot of metalheads who has Burgerkill tattoos on their body. Totally unbelievable! 
Seeing as Venomous has been successful in Indonesia as well as world wide – what are Burgerkill’s future plans? Can we expect a new release or tour plans?
We are preparing for Burgerkill DVD documentary film which scheduled to be released around April in Indonesia and June in Australia. There are a lot of things going with the band we want to capture; it took 4 years to make this film. We feel it’s important to share our stories to our friends about what we’ve done. Hopefully this movie could inspire bands in Indonesia to do the same thing, or maybe can accomplish more than we’ve had. We believe Heavy Metal will grow into a major force in Indonesia music industry and their quality will be recognized internationally.
 And lastly, would Burgerkill like to add anything?
Thank you for this interview, please visit our official website at and follow our twitter at @burgerkill666. Hopefully one day we could do a tour and catch up with new friends in South Africa. Stay true and stay fuckin’ loud! Cheers… \m/
A monster thank you to Ebenz for taking time out to do this interview! Catch all the news on Burgerkill Official or YouTube or Myspace or Facebook!

South Africa Metal: FORGIVE US NOT

(Melodic Awesomeness)

Let’s start off with the almost misleading band name, Forgive Us Not. For a split second – the name gives a religious probe though where did the band name originate from?

Daniel ( our drummer ) came up with it one day at home and relayed the name to us and upon us choosing the name, we noticed the abbreviation was F.U.N. which fit perfectly to our personalities!We like to have fun and give hugs…. and sex.

On that note how did the band meet-up considering that F.U.N is fairly new on the music scene?

Daniel ( drummer ), Slava ( Bass ) and Travis (guitar 1) started the band right at the end of Daniel’s High School career.We then got Kyle Louw on guitar 2, but he was replaced shortly by Alex Cilliers. Daniel told Juan Vogel ( Current Vocalist ) to come check us out at practice. After that, we officially had a vocalist. A few gigs in, and Alex was replaced by Zade Vogel ( Current guitar 2 ). Zade and Juan are brothers. Thats how we found Zade.

Something that really stands out with F.U.N is the fact that the band does not hold back on the gigging front. The band has played at almost every available metal venue in the Western Cape as well as a number of metal bands. So, share some stories with my readers, do tell us of any good or bad experiences and memories.

One of the good memories was defnitaly playing at Metal4Africa Summerfest ’12. It was an all round good gig and party! Other good memories are also from some of our first shows at Muzone. It’s unfortunate that the venue closed down. We had a good time playing their final Bluddjin Fest! As for bad experiences, I think it’s safe to say that we haven’t had any yet!

What is F.U.N’s take on the South African live music metal scene?  How challenging is it to get out there as a start-up band? What is the support system like in the scene?

To be honest, the support is average but more than enough to work with, although we’ve noticed that the underage crowd are more supportive at gigs. The future of metal is looking bright for South Africa. We think S.A is coming to its time when it is slowly starting to get noticed by other parts of the world for its music scene. Unfortunately metal is one of the last genres looked at, but we think SA’s time is coming

Focusing on the Blood Hell track, do tell the readers about the production values and the inspiration for the track.

Blood Hell was one of the 1st tracks written for F.U.N. It’s dark and melodic with a twist keeping true to the metal genre. The recording is nowhere near the quality of our album quality tracks that we are starting to record with though.

I noticed that F.U.N has made the decision to do studio only releases instead of the usual D.I.Y paths that most bands take. What was the reason behind that decision?

Simple – Quality over quantity. Spend the money, work hard and do the right thing from the start. Any other way is wasting your time and money.

F.U.N takes a lot of influence from the more modern bands (i.e. Parkway Drive, Killswitch Engage, Bullet For My Valentine) as opposed to the classic metal acts – can the members elaborate on the influences that go into the music side of things?

We all love our old school metal and it is what got us all into playing, example Daniel (drums) and Zade (guitars) love Metallica, Dream Theater and AC/DC. We are just more inclined to play modern day metal but we still incorporate old school elements into our playing which is evident in our track “Fear MeLucifer” Basically, we like to make music that WE enjoy to play, whether it sounds old school or not. So long as we’re happy with it and it sounds good, we’ll play it.

Recently, the band recorded new tracks and I am guessing some good things are happening for the members. What has F.U.N got lined-up for 2012?

2012 is going to be a good year for us. We have started recording our Debut Album which will be entitiled ‘Inside This Sea Of Sin’. Thats all we can give away at this point concerning the album though. We are putting together what we call an ‘Album Preview’. Its around 3 songs that will be released that are going on our upcoming album. One of the songs, ‘Fear Me Lucifer’, has already been released. There are chances of a ‘Fear Me Lucifer’ Music Video to be released when the rest of the album preview comes out in a few weeks time. Nothing’s official yet. Although a Fear Me Lucifer music video would be awesome!

Lastly does F.U.N have any words that you would like to add especially to our readers from abroad?

Don’t underestimate the metal scene in South Africa. It is growing, slowly but surely. Also, there is always speculation of bands “apparently” touring to South Africa. Get your act together, clear the speculation and just come pay us a visit! We’re right next to Australia, New Zealand and South America for fuck’s sake! You can’t miss us!

Find the band on Facebook!
Thank you F.U.N for the interview!!

This is MY Metal Life – Adrian Dixon – METAL DAD AUSTRALIA

(Adrian Dixon- Metal Blogger)

I love Twitter! Simply because I get to ‘meet’ some really awesome people and bloggers too! This is where I was introduced to @metaldad_666 also known as Adrian who writes his own metal blog called Metal Dad Australia. I just had to quiz him about the blog-o-sphere, Soundwave and what’s so metal about the Australian outback.

Hi Adrian! Thank you for taking some time out for doing this interview – a lot has taken place in the last 
couple of weeks – so let’s get to it.

No worries Lav, anytime!

Metal has to start from somewhere, how did you get into Metal? Where did it all begin for you?

I think hearing Def Leopards “Rocket” at the age of about 8 or 10 planted the seed and the whole ugly tree has grown from that. Poison and Motley Crue were the first big “metal” (haha funny to think of them as metal now) bands that I really got into. Then my older sister introduced me to Metallica at around 12 and from there…. Guns and Roses, Pantera and Sepultura.

How did you get into Metal Blogging? What is your main aim of being a Metal Blogger?

Blogging? My wife is a blogger! And I thought “I could do that”, haha.
Metal? I just love it! I thought I would just give my opinion on what I thought of things, I seriously didn’t think anyone would give shit!
My aim? For me, it is all about the music. I wanted to be honest and not write “puff” pieces to help major record labels sell more records, and if got to hear some killer new tunes, meet some awesome new people, like yourself and maybe even help someone achieve their dream along the way, then that would be a bonus.

A part from being dead-point honest in your blogs, you also grab some time to write for Broken Neck. Do tell the readers, what it is that you do there?

I was to come on board as a DJ at Broken Neck Radio but due to technical difficulties and a huge time difference, I made to tough decision to withdraw from that role.

How can bands contact you for band promotion?

I have a Facebook page, direct email and twitter. I’m always happy to talk to anyone and listen to music, so come say hello!
Metaldad with his Another Hell T-Shirt!
Do you have any special social media strategies to connect to your audience?

No set strategies, I just try to interact with people and if I find something good, I’ll share it!

Could you please elaborate on your thoughts about the Australian Metal scene? What is happening in the Down-Under and are the Australian bands getting a fair amount of attention from abroad?

The Australian metal scene is very strong, with some extremely talented bands coming through. Australia’s biggest problems are probably the size of our country, our relatively small population and our heavy American influence, don’t get me wrong I love American and European metal as well but Australians need to support the local bands too.
Australia attracts a wealth of Metal bands from across the scenes to play at festivals. Do tell the readers about any Metal festivals that happen in Australia. Have you attended any of these festivals and if so, what did you think/experience from it?
Australia has two major festivals “The Big Day Out” and “Soundwave”, The Big Day Out has been around for 20 years now and has progressively become more main stream, whereas Soundwave is relatively new and is METAL. I have only been to each of the two once, the “BDO” in 2005 on the Gold Coast (Qld) because it had a killer line up for both myself and my wife (she’s not really a metal head), with the likes of System Of A Down, Hatebreed, Slipknot, Powderfinger, Grinspoon and The John Butler Trio. It was a great day, big name bands played at different times on stages next to each other but they ran out of the major sponsors beer (???) and I lost my shirt, hat and a camera.
Soundwave, I went to just a couple of days ago (2012) in Melbourne and the line up was…………….. fucking insane!!! Machine Head, Lamb Of God, Slipknot, System Of A Down, Chimaira, Hellyeah, Shadows Fall, Limp Bizkit and Motionless In White, to mention a few. The main issue with Soundwave, for me was bands were playing at the same time, so we missed a lot but it was such a great day that it didn’t really matter, the weather was great, beer was cold and the crowd was happy and friendly.

Being active in the scene as well as writing about it – surely you have your favourite Metal bands. Could you explain who, you think is the next big “breaking” band?

Number one band of all time…. Pantera!! But after Dime died, music changed, I got into black and death metal more, which I still love today. At the moment I really like Suicide Silence and Motionless In White (very different bands) but if music is heavy and has a good hook to it, I’ll listen.
Bands to watch? Datura Curse from Sydney are in the studio recording their debut full length album which I’m looking forward to, also Sandraudiga (US), Deprivation (Aus), Another Hell (Swe), Sanity Of Impiety (Swe) and I really think Motionless In White(US) will be huge.

Finally, do you have any last words that you would like to add?

Keep banging your head!! And support the small, local bands.
The metal world is alive and well, let’s keep it that way!!

Check Out! Metal Awesomness!


Hell To The Holy retains its snarl of wicked and as M-Pire of Evil vocalist, Tony Dolan reassures Alternative Matter – it’s all about what “Metal used to be, bang your head, feel free for a bit”. Dolan takes some time out to chat with Alternative Matter’s Lav, about the first blood-pulsating album from M-Pire of Evil, Venom’s dressing room, the upcoming tour with Onslaught and why Vinyl is “still really cool”.
Hello M-Pire of Evil! Thank you for doing this interview with Alternative Matter! Every one of the black/death metal bands came from a Venom background. You can’t ignore it. M-Pire of Evil have something to live up to – does this make it more difficult?

Hello, thanx Lav and thanx to Alternative Matter for chatting to us. Well, I suppose that will be a focus and something ‘WE’ can’t ignore but to be honest, I can’t imagine anyone classing us as Black Metal…lol..well, maybe in the vein of the Venom a little but not as to the Black Metal scene that has developed. I think this is more traditional. It’s funny, so far most of the  reviews we’ve seen understand where we are coming from but there are those that miss it completely…If we had approached this in a Black Metal kind of way, it would have been contrived and not who we are but then if  we had people, I imagine, would have attacked us for trying to fit into something, so we chose to do whatever we wanted, I mean we are a bit long in the tooth to try and fit into such incredible scenes full of incredible acts. What we always did was create our own path and that’s what we are doing here..the new album Hell To the Holy, isn’t some kind of intellectual statement or dark brooding, we eat virgins and kill goats, kind of thing, is more of a commentary on human reaction to Rock/metal music fans and their affiliation with their respective genre’s, the outcasts from the normal conformity, if you like. That shit is to be praised, it’s what makes individuals and makes the world more exciting. But in a basic way, a fun way. It is about having fun pure and simple, just like Metal used to be, bang your head, feel free for a bit….fuck the politics, we know all our governments have just fucked us all with this whole banking thing , then there are the countries overturning their corrupt rulers, so let’s escape and have some fun for a bit..Do we have something to live up to? Not us….we are who we are, we do what we do…if the listener, reviewer, fan, thinks we do….that’s in their own head..their own thoughts..which is fine of course, just not how we are thinking. We aren’t in any shadow here…we are casting a few perhaps!
Jeffrey Dunn (Mantas) and Tony Dolan (The Demolition Man) have a rather long lasting relationship before M-Pire of Evil. How does it work and why?

Well yes, we go way back..from the early days and then performance wise, I suppose from the first Mantas solo project in the ‘80’s, the second in the ‘00’s and  of course Venom, ‘89 – ‘92..and now here..I think we are like minded. We seem to bounce off each other very well, our styles complement each other very well and we are like brothers..we have never argued but discussed, we have a great laugh and it’s easy spending time together and know when each other needs space ,all the things neither of us could enjoy with the others associated with Venom, well not eventually anyway. We share our passion for music and Metal in particular. Writing together comes naturally and easily..I think perhaps when bands say musical differences preceding a demise, it’s simply, they don’t share the same direction anymore, usually that means, one wants to continue in the same way and one wants to progress into new directions. You can take any associated time of us two and at that point we are approaching the same thing, the same way, be it the same way as before or in a new direction. This is no different..we like how each other approach material and what we produce, it’s that simple. If you have true respect for the other musicianship, then you have something, when you let ego drive you, you will ultimately, fall, and maybe more than once as you try and fall repeatedly wringing blood from what eventually becomes a stone..lifeless and uncreative. You can’t do this shit for an ulterior motive, it has to be because you believe in what you are doing and when you aren’t it’s time to go. The only reason we stopped working together in the past is because we let other people involved make decisions, this time only we will do that for ourselves.
Earlier last month, M-Pire of Evil saw the departure of drummer Antton. What gives from here?

Yes, well like I can’t do this is you don’t believe %100. He had family commitments and his other band…everything wasn’t going to fit for him and he had to go where his %100 was and that wasn’t with us I guess. What gives from here? Well the new drummer…he’ll be with us on the US tour and beyond. He’s a pretty amazing drummer loves the material and the idea and we have mutual respect as musicians, that’s about all you need. This is the beginning and at least it all happened before we began live.

Hell to The Holy is more traditional metal with a snarl of wicked. Could you elaborate on the new release?
Yes it is. When we began the process and decided this should happen for us, the main concern was to be honest. Not try something, not try to fit. So we looked at everything we loved about metal, what we liked, what inspired us to be in a band, to make music, that’s where the Creatures of the Black Ep came from. We covered tracks that were inspirational to us, by bands that inspired us. Some people got what we did with that and others, again, missed the point but it was a personal choice and that choice as well as the result ,we were all very proud of. It wasn’t about changing the classic songs to something they weren’t, it was about playing them for all the right reasons, they way they were, as much as we could. I say that because I am not Rob Halford for example and even with my testicles tied up and snapped at by piranhas I still would not be able to cream those fucking amazing falsetto notes that make your spine tingle in Exciter…what I can do is rip some fabric to let some light in…so I did what I do and I loved doing it. Same was true of the ACDC track…Bon Scott spoke about things he’d experienced, you can’t be in someone else’s life, so covering someone like him is always gonna be a challenge, so I went for my own motive…and that was that. We placed 2 of our own songs on the Ep to join everything together…so by the time we came to Hell To The Holy, we hopefully have expanded and shown where we are coming from. The Classic Metal area..with an obvious modern influence as we as musicians have also moved on a little. It’s shamelessly honest, no fancy footwork, no false statements, no cryptic sentiments, nothing we are not is on there. We wanted to have fun..we wanted people to feel the fun. Bang your head, scream a chorus, throw that hand in the air…just have some release…be entertained..if you wanna be so serious about everything,musically speaking, well, there is always U2 , Radiohead or ColdPlay..this is Heavy Metal so it’s up to you.
Mantas not only plays guitar for the Hell to Holy album but took to the production chair as well. Why the need to wear different hats?
Well budget..hahahahaha..We had constraints that kept us local I  guess you could say..however…Mantas has been writing, recording and producing his own work and that of others for some time now and so…who better to produce something the way you want it but you, if you are capable. It just made sense, we needed to have our own identity and were aware others may have approached it in a very different way than the way we were thinking. So we kept it at home and kept control. He did a great job and it was a lot of pressure and at times very difficult for him and perhaps for us all….but the end result? I think it was exactly what we aimed for and something we are very happy and proud of. Usually bands big up their shit then put it out and everyone crushes it as crap so the band disassociate themselves with it saying, yeah I wasn’t completely happy with this or that..hahahaha..what a load of old shit…you loved it before everyone trashed it!! Am I right, yes and you fucking know it. With Hell To The Holy, we’d love people to feel like we do but understand people are very different and want or need different things, so not everyone will ‘get it’ or even like it but that makes little difference to us or it. We simply accept that but for us…we like what we did and are very happy it is out and at the result, love it or hate is yours now..and all we can do is bring it to life in front of you and we will..
The album artwork by Gyula Havancsak must be praised. It’s rather ‘demonic old school’. Was there any concept behind Havancsak’s creation?
I am so happy to have his work on a cover at last. I have been a great ,great  fan for years and thank my old friend Schmier(Destruction) for hooking me up with Gyula. It is Demonic and Oldschool..and exactly what we went for..we we had a concept idea but it wasn’t the cover, what I did was  wrote 2 lines to Gyula…one said ‘Hell To The Holy’ the other said, ‘Dirty Priest, smoking, in stained clothes with stained teeth’..what do ‘you’ see?…..and the cover is what came out of him….fucking stunning work. I always like an artist, in music or anything to express themselves..if you constrain them too much you simply stifle their flow and don’t get them or their best work…the fact that he accepted and was happy about that was amazing. I guess he went oldschool to give us our own character…the Pope..ahahahahaha…perfect! He must have just instinctively felt our vibe but then that’s why he is so incredible as an artist..
The band has signed with Scarlet records for both the prior EP release and the Hell To Holy album. What has it been like working with them so far?
That’s well as Iron Pegasus and Costa who put out the Vinyl version of the Creatures Ep…Filippo, Enzo, Angelo, Chiara, are just fantastic people, supportive, generous…and real nice..I think Filippo and Enzo have just been incredible because they have taken the risk and just shown nothing but great faith. I was in Milan with them at their Headquarters while we were still recording Hell To The Holy and all Filippo said fillers…make every song count…so..we did..They are great guys and we are very happy..Angelo, who also assists Enzo with PR has started emailing from the office which he now is calling…the…’M-Pire State Building’ hahahaha…very funny..I have to give some space here for 2 other Italian who were integral to this whole thing and Scarlet..Luca Bosio (Flash Magazine) he pushed and believed and convinced me that this should happen and was integral to the Scarlet deal and I can’t thank him enough. Then there is the amazing Titti Angeramo…she has just been tireless in here support and belief…words fail me…We’ve been very lucky to have such amazing people behind/with us!
With many bands releasing music on vinyl, will M-Pire of Evil consider taking this route or in your opinion has vinyl become obsolete?
Yes we will take this route, Vinyl is still really cool…Scarlet is doing a digipack of hell To The Holy and as with Creatures Of The Black, we will release a Vinyl version of the album…now how oldschool is that?? Hahahaha….maybe a cassette or 8 track version too???? Ok, maybe that’s too far…lol. I even did an Ep with AtomKraft in 2011 and the label WAR productions released a7”Vinyl in Blue…I mean common….is that NOT cool? Yes it is….you know it…lol
What can we expect from the upcoming tour with Onslaught, which kicks off on the 19 March?
Well…if you are a Holy one??? Hell…lol…coz we are bringing it!!! Fun man..fucking fun…METAL…..the way it should be…heavy, loud, fast, slow, Black, Blue…..entertaining….come and see us…come and talk…come and be one’s about fucking time…those high brow, holier than thou, fucking overcritical, segregation , genre blinkered Rockers just came together under one umbrella again and stopped closing their minds…Metal was always about liberating us from the man….not from fucking each other…coz they like Doom and they like Black Metal or thrash or whatever…or Oldschool…it’s all fucking bollox…we are all in it together…if we can’t share anything else, we can at least share our passions. Come out and see us and let’s fucking kick some ass!!!
Lastly, how would walking into a Venom dressing room in 1989 (during Prime Evil fame) differ to walking into an M-Pire of Evil dressing room today?
Lol…Well..I guess…no different really..…you’d think, those days we’d be jumping around like boys and these days patiently sitting like men…Mmmmm..nope…just the same…nervous but controlled excitement. Focus, some exercising…easy happy chatting…oh..well except back then Abaddon would be in there and now he isn’t lol. Let’s just say if you came in early it’d be relaxed and calm like nothing out of the ordinary was happening but if you came in the last 20minutes before we were about to hit the stage, you’d feel the atmosphere, pensive, dangerous and kind of electric…Mantas would be smiling one minute and void of emotion the next as he focused, I’d be…increasingly animate and aggressive the closer it came to game time. And back in the day…we ere exactly the same…I invite you to come and see for yourself…wherever you’d like to join us..Thankyou for the interview and I’ll se you all on the dancefloor…All Hail and don’t forget….Zero Fucking Tolerance!
EDIT: This interview was initially published on Alternative Matter’s webpage. 
Thank you for Alternative Matter!



Disturbingly beautiful and somewhat fierce, Ahnengrab entices me throughout their new album “Omen”. Their track list is governed by a compelling force of distorted guitars grazing classical instruments and one of the most gruelling vocals ever. In fact, Omen can be best described as ‘Snow White just met Jack the Ripper’.
Omen presents twelve tremendous tracks of black pagan metal music. The innocence of the album is prominent with the inclusion of the Berlin/Brandenburg orchestra which greatly contrasts the ripping nature of the guitars, drums and coarse vocals. With only a thousand copies available from 17 February 2012, it would be a sin not to hear Ahnengrab’s primarily German lyrics and head banging riffs.
I am greatly absorbed into the symphonic details of Omen, such craft and a hint of the grotesque beautiful. “Furcht” possibly the most outstanding track of Ahnengrab impresses with a slow melodic beginning which builds into a short-fuse of drum power. There is great riffage throughout the track and then the crusty vocals add a dark atmosphere. Quite a stirring and fearful ambience is created and at some point I can imagine a woodland ready to be torn apart by an approaching battle. Another brutal track is “Omen” which meanders in and out of a soft and a loud composition. The least amount of classical orchestration takes place on this track and a bite of pure black metal can be experienced. The song spans for a glorious eight minutes but it’s so worth getting lost in its raw and distorted rage. Unfortunately, the track list of the album Omen does not run as fluidly as I hoped it to be but that is the only flaw on the release as far as I am concerned.
There are many attractive elements presented by Ahnengrab on Omen from traditional metal to pagan metal therefore garnering a large audience both far and wide. The band’s ambitious efforts are easily recognized and are on top form especially with the grandiose inclusion of the Berlin/Brandenburg orchestra. In my great honesty, Ahnengrab’s new album Omen is a clear winner.
[originally posted by Lav Nandlall on Alternative Matter]

South Africa Metal: DAMNATIA

(Exhumation/Death Metal/Whiplash/Technical)

Thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedules to do this e-mail interview! Damnatia has been on the SA metal scene for a very long time under various names with different sounds. It was only in 1998 that the band took on the current name and began personifying a darker death sound. How has the longer standing band members evolved since then in terms of character and musician?

Max: Well, we started out together during high school (Stephen and Julian were from a high school over the other side of Lions Head which is part of Table Mountain) and Adrian and I were at a high school right in the middle of the city centre) and playing together evolved over a few years from around 1996-1997 until 1999. We went through several names and styles: originally Toxic Psychosis (grindcore/punk) became Oblitorator (think early Sepultura) which then finally settled on Damnatia when we really started to get good. We rehearsed nearly everyday! We played most of the clubs with Cape metal legends such as Ravenwolf, Pothole, Sacraphyx, Gramlich, Neshamah and even punk kings Scoff and Hog Hoggidy Hog. We also had some success with the battle of the bands in Bellville (in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town), we won and got given free studio time – this was when we got to record our recently online (finally) released EP (the original recordings from circa 1998) recorded with sound engineer Dirk van Straten (RIP). We also recorded at Spaced Out Studios thanks to Stephen’s uncle the well-known South African musician David Kramer. So we were pretty much cutting our teeth with quite a mature sound for the style of metal we were playing, twin lead guitar attacks, with a very dark, intense Death/Thrash element and a touch of Black/Doom metal added into the since non-recorded tunes. We learnt a lot by being in great studios from such an early age. We even brought in our buddy Sean Pregnalato on synths to expand the sound and sonic effect of the music. During the past decade we all have been working in many diverse musical and creative projects (too many to mention!) in many different musical styles. In 2009 I had the opportunity to go to a 10 year high school reunion, but I decided to reunite DAMNATIA instead. We have all grown and developed in marvelous ways and each had many amazing musical experiences. Re-forming Damnatia I personally found that we were all way more professional and far better at playing the material, it was very exciting. We only needed one rehearsal to nail about 10 songs perfectly, it’s like we never stopped playing together. But we all now have new responsibilities, families, jobs, etc. In fact, our drummer Adrian has been contracted to a hard rock band and sadly is not allowed to play with Damnatia so we have been on the prowl for a possible deputy-drummer to fill his shoes when he can’t make it which will be most of the time. We have invited our buddy Byron R. Howell to have a go and are very excited to hear a fresh, energetic take on the Damnatia tracks live! Byron is an excellent drummer and percussionist excelling in a variety of genres.

Julian: After high school a lot of the rage and angst that fed me as a metal musician dissipated. But as I got disillusioned with the idealism of society the need for creating metal returned into my life. The music is less about image, or sticking to a specific metal genre, and more about the sheer power and beauty of metal music. None of us have ever stopped playing music, and Damnatia is ingrained into our muscle memory. Combine that with musical maturity and focus and you have a tight, technically proficient and brutal output.

Stephen : Julian, pretty much hit the nail on the head , we were angry young punks trying to play the fastest heaviest metal possible ! Although we were trying to emulate the heavy technical death metal of the day
(mid 90’s) but it always came out closer to the rage of speed metal bands like Slayer. After high school as Julian said , a lot of the angst was gone and I discovered melodic lush sounds and became obsessed with that for a while as opposed to heaviness and funk rhythms replaced a fascination of raw speed raw speed…I pretty much went from discovering music with Metallica , Sabbath and Iron Maiden at age 12 to the Grindcore of early Napalm Death and Brutal Truth by age 16 in ’97. I was involved in Metal type music for about two years after Damnatia with Dirty Locals but by then I was completely burnt out on the crunchy guitar sound , which I’ve only recently started to enjoy again. For the record Julian and I also had very strong hardcore and Punk influences !

In 1998 Damnatia went into the studio and put out three demo releases. After decent promotion and playing in the Cape Town scene, the band went quiet the following year. What happened in 1999?

Max: We played a lot of club shows from 1997-1999 and finally when we were about to really start getting somewhere the band disintegrated live onstage during a raw version of Metallica’s “The Four Horsemen” at the Purple Turtle (a punk, goth, metal bar on the famous Long Street) in early 1999. Since then we all went our separate ways, playing in different bands and projects together in various constellations: Stephen and Julian studied sound engineering and film studies respectively, Adrian was swept up by CT tech-death band Sacraphyx who went on to tour Europe (Wacken Open Air most notably) and I studied music (majoring in composition, classical guitar and ethnomusicology) at the University of Cape Town and I joined a band called Starkravingsane at the time circa 2001. Stephen, Julian and I also had a side-project grindcore band called Morgh which featured Anton Cloete on vocals and Stephen on drums. The three of us were part of a punk/thrash collab with members of Scoff call The Dirty Locals. Years later Stephen and played together in afro-funk-punk outfit Alan Funk, bass and sax respectively.

Julian: There was fighting amongst band members, teenage issues, tales of excess and debauchery. Our music, which ranged from ‘old-school’ to ‘technically progressive’ was at odds with the metal trends of the time. All this has come full circle now, hence Damnatia has been summoned back into this world!

Stephen : Honestly 1999 was a lousey time for the band ….we’d all just finished school and couldn’t rehearse anymore due to conflicting schedules and commitments . As a result we had like two or three rehearsals that year and wrote no new material . The creative side of the band kind of stagnated . Added to that was disillusionment with the metal scene and the fact that at the time our sound was considered “dated” and we were going against the grain of the popular metal of the time which caused a lot of self doubt within the band about direction . Also it’s important to note that the whole Metal and band scene seemed to be on the decline, with bedroom producers dissing guitars , people abandoning rock and metal for trance parties etc ….seems ridiculous in retrospect.

Could you elaborate on the 10 year reunion that took place in Whiplash Fest 2009? How was it being on that stage – grinding the instruments again?

Max: I was thrilled and very happy to be playing heavy music again with such sterling players: really these guys are burning instrumentalists and the music just flows so easily, like we never stopped! You must understand that for a large portion of our live Damnatia was our outlet and our creative spirit manifested and it vanished for a decade and now its back! Amazing. It was a really satisfying and awesome feeling to play the Damnatia set again live, especially with such good sound (thanks to engineer Robin Stole). We recently played another show at Grindfest 2011 and also a special once-off at new live music venue in CT called The Jolly Roger. We have since had quite a few invitations from other well-known and excellent CT death metal bands and event organizers to do gigs with them.

Julian: Our music is far better received than when we first started, as there is a hunger for this kind of style. It’s almost like a spiritual possession, but in a positive sense. Damnatia is like a monster that is bigger than us, it feeds off the energy of the crowd, and in between is us, the vessel.

Stephen: Its good fun now that we are older and better musicians , we can actually appreciate the music we created now , and we are mature enough to put the ego’s and all that nonsense out of the way.

Damnatia was soon “resurrected” early 2011. What are the intentions behind re-forming and going back to the metal scene?

Max: At the time is was an experiment to see what would happen with a more mature Damnatia. I just really wanted to play those songs again with a new idea of approaching them since we were all much more experienced now. I think musically I got way too excited (laughs)… I wanted to get the band seriously happening after that show at Whiplash, but due to our drummer’s other commitments we couldn’t really take it as fast as I would have liked unfortunately. 

Julian: There is so much excitement and good music coming out of the metal scene over the last couple of years. It seemed a waste to condemn Damnatia as just a memory, a ‘pioneer of the South African metal scene’ as one reporter wrote. The climate is right for Damnatia to play music again, not silently festering in the annals of history, in dusty cassettes and blurry VHS videos.

Stephen : Damnatia always had a lot of potential and felt like it ended prematurely…it was fun to get back together and play again , I really enjoyed it , more than I thought I would and it brought me full circle by reawakening my interest in heavier music again

For the readers who don’t know who Damnatia is – could you describe the sound and the major influences in your recordings?

Max: I guess we play a type of death-thrash with a blackened, organic edge that peaks through every now and again. Pretty fast and heavy with epic melody-tinged sections and intense grooves and great lead solos. It’s kind of streamlined yet raw at the same time. My vocal style is more along the lines of a shout rather than a death growl yet I do like to do the death thing from time to time… depends on physical capability in the night (laughs). But one doesn’t really want to categorize it too much. It’s loud. It’s Metal. We specialize in neutralizing the audience with sheer intense and fast death thrash! During the 1990s we were influences a lot by Sepultura (Beneath The Remains era), Slayer, Nailbomb, Emperor, Brutal Truth, Strapping Young Lad, Obituary etc, that kind of thing.

Stephen : I was very influenced my Black Sabbath , Slayer , Metallica , Sepultura , Iron maiden , Napalm Death, Obituary of course and a little bit of exodus to name a few . I was also listening to copious amounts of early suicidal tendancies , Dead Kennedy’s and Minor threat!

What can we expect in terms of music from Damnatia in 2012? Will there be any releases, gigs, festival appearances?

Max: As I mentioned earlier, we are checking out the possibility of auditioning drummers to take the throne and fuel this metal monster to the edge of the Earth. We aim to do a show every few months, flow naturally for now and make the gigs hit hard! Organized, tight and effective. Festival dates are a goal for us at this point. I hope to get into the studio at some point but obviously we would need to train up a new drummer as using Adrian may cause contractual issues with his band The Summer Underground… sadly. He really is an awesome metal drummer and we will miss his energy and intensity. I would like to record with Adrian though – at least the old material like our songs Severed Life, Unleashed and Illdisposed which never made it onto the DAT at the time during the 90s. We’ll see what happens.

Julian: We will be doing very special appearances as opposed to constant gigging, so make sure you catch us when you can. We already have a body of work, but writing new material would be cool. It is way easier to record nowadays than when we first began, in the days before home studios.

South Africa is still developing in terms of metal – what have been the challenges that Damnatia has come across over the past few years and how has the band overcome these challenges?

Max: Well, we haven’t been too involved in the metal scene specifically in SA for ages (due to being broken-up until now). This separation possibly adds a freshness to Damnatia’s energy and vantage point (as we have instead been immersed within most of the other music genre scenes). I think it’s been good that we have a very eclectic interest in many different styles of music (from electronica, contemporary jazz, African musical styles to ambient, new music, improvised and experimental music etc), developing our skills, ideas and creative vocabulary, yet when we come together to play metal we neutralize everything in our path, no problem. We are all very well-versed in the concept of music as a whole.

Julian: The scene has always been challenging, but Damnatia is not concerned with the problems. We just play our best, slay, and leave, whether it’s to 5 or 500 people. As far as getting people to gigs: When we first were around in the ’90s we had to design, photostat and cut paper flyers, which were then distributed by hand by ourselves, traipsing around town looking for anyone who looked ‘metal’. Now with social media the whole advertising thing is obviously way easier.

Stephen: we’ve gotten to the point were we are pretty much doing this for ourselves , the music and each other I guess in a way that’s how we always were , but now we are not concerned with how we fit into any scene or current trends or anything.

In a music career spanning since the primes of 1996/7 till 2012, what have been the highlights and equally so the low-lights for Damnatia?

Max: The low-light was probably the spectacular, live skirmish between certain band members onstage in 1999 (though perhaps this was a highlight? Hahaa!) and a highlight was reuniting at Whiplash in 2009 and discovering that we still had the magic (if not more so).

Julian: Another highlight was winning a battle of the bands competition in 1998, against a lot of bands of different genres.

Stephen : Reunion was a definite highlight for me in that we were able to put the past, mainly feelings surrounding the breakup to rest finally after 10 years of uncertainty. I also really enjoyed our surprise 3rd placing in the 1997 battle of the bands in Belville, still as Oblitorator – that was where the band really bonded together and got serious.Worst gig ….that i can remember…definitely the Van Riebeeck High School battle of bands in 1998 …the organising teacher hated us!

So, lastly do you have any words that you would like to add especially to our readers from abroad?

Julian: South African bands have a ‘third-world’ edge that is lacking in other metal bands of the first-world. We have different life experience and face hardships that are made manifest in our music.

Max: There are some really good SA bands out there who are very under-rated, you need to discover them. SA is experiencing a surge in the amount of metal bands being formed and a gradual rise in the quality of music in general is happening, especially in the experimental, Jazz and electronica-based scenes. This country, due to its past and recent healing process, as well as the natural beauty and mystique holds a lot of inspiration for creators of intense music. There is a lot of work to be done!

Stephen : I think South Africa has always had a bigger metal scene/more metal fans than anyone realised!

Awesome band, great vibe and loving the death! Catch more of or about them at Facebook

Brutal thanks to Max, Stephen, Julian for a fantastic interview and all photo’s courtesy of Lisa B.

LINEUP (circa 1997-1999 and 2009-2011)
Stephen Kramer – guitar/extra vocals
Julian Emdon – guitar
Max Starcke – bass/main vocals
Adrian Langeveld – drums

South Africa Metal: BEELDENSTORM


Thank you for taking some time out to do an interview for Air Guitar! Beeldenstorm is a Dutch word; the band also fronts itself as an Afrikaans metal band. Can the band elaborate on why this original approach especially to the readers abroad?
The word ‘Beeldenstorm’ directly translated means ‘iconoclastic fury’. As you have stated it is indeed a Dutch word. It refers to a movement that occurred throughout Europe during the 16th century. Mass random protest and unrest manifested itself in the destruction of catholic art and statues. The majority of the members in our band are Afrikaans and we are all descendants of European settlers. Afrikaans, being a very young language, picked up negative connotations due to its use as the ‘language of Apartheid’ or a language of oppression. The constant negativity towards the language since this era is causing a decline in the use of this language or at least a certain guilt for speaking it. Our generation did not realize what apartheid was as we were growing up. In the years following apartheid we as a country became a proud and unified ‘rainbow nation’. Unfortunately we all know that this unity is being threatened by political and social powers which seem to be (at the moment at least) pulling all South Africans apart. We think that a proper socio-political revolution is necessary in order to prevent the repetition of past atrocities. As for the readers and open ears abroad… we are trying to break the stigma associated with this language as well as those associated with our country. We yearn for change; we preach change and seek to unify South Africans under the umbrella of music.

For those readers, who don’t know who Beeldenstorm is, please tell us a bit about the band. How did the band form? Why the need to create metal and where does the influences come from?
We are all metal heads so the choice in genre was inevitable. The attitude, aggression, sound and following sets the perfect mood and scene for our subject matter. Assembling members for the band the aim was to find members who share a connection, passion and perseverance. Being close friends as well as sharing the same influences and socio-political views is a priority. We are all at peace with each other and work together as a team. It sounds lame doesn’t it? A band cannot function if (like so many other bands) internal friction brings the vibe down. 
The track on the facebook fan page, “Uhuru” is deeply rooted with distortion yet still has a brutal rage. Tell us more about the track. Where did the concept for the track come from?

Lyrically the song is meant to have a sarcastic tone. The lyrics reflect on a paranoid myth of pending genocide by our government which will supposedly take place in the event of Nelson Mandela’s death. In reading the novel ‘a grain of wheat’ by Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, an African write, I (Waldi van Hunks) felt that the title ‘Uhuru’ would be ideal. The Kenyan people have their national day of Uhuru (independence). This is the word borrowed in order to name this local myth of genocide. Paranoia in South African society has become a widespread phenomenon since ‘the struggle’. Crime and corruption has become a constant (for all South Africans) in our society and has lost its controversial appeal. What we are trying to say is ‘people should not be afraid of their government, the government should be afraid of their people’… we say it without wearing masks.

Can the public expect any EP’s or albums from Beeldenstorm in 2012?
Currently we are busy organizing gigs. Trying to make ourselves known and earn our stripes as a live metal band. We are planning to release a four song EP. We will put it up for free download and will have the album available as a product at our shows. We have no dates planned yet but we are looking forward to doing it this year. Due to our little raw recording of Uhuru the majority of people anticipated a black metal vibe. One of our friends described our style as ‘groove-black metal’. Perhaps the new recordings will change this opinion, maybe it won’t. We enjoy getting random feedback. It helps us to further define our style and hopefully this will be visible in the production of the EP.

What are Beeldenstorm’s future plans – in specific to events, shows/gigs and maybe touring?
We are planning on organizing more shows of course. Right now it is all just a matter of which dates and at which venues. As we are still a fairly unknown band we are planning to first release the EP and only then will we start planning a tour. We think it is important to first build a fan base in the area you want to tour. This is one of the reasons for our decision to put the EP up for free download.

According to a review on Metal4Africa, Beeldenstorm is quite a beast on stage! What makes the band’s performance so special?
Unlike most of the other bands in the South African metal scene that focus on intense technicality in time signature and chord progression we focus on melody. We want the crowd to comprehend the music from the get-go. We want people to spontaneously head bang. This is why we often describe our genre as ‘lekkir-metal’. Just good ol’ neck breaking metal.

It must be mentioned that Beeldenstorm has a female guitarist in the band. Very rarely are woman seen in metal bands let alone playing a guitar! This question is for Lea (Aus Nord), how does the metal audience treat you once you take to the stage?

I must admit that initially, it was slightly intimidating. But I have become comfortable, and I experience the same liberation on stage that all musicians share, doing what they love. The metal audience has been very welcoming and supportive, and it feels fantastic when a random guy comes up to me after a show and says, “I wanna shake your hand! That’s what I wanna do!”

Heavy Metal music is still developing in South Africa and in the past five years there has been a grand surge in alternative bands from all parts of the country. What is Beeldenstorm’s perspective of the current scene? How does the band rate it against an international metal scene?
The scene is small in general, however, it does have a dedicated following. Johannesburg’s metal scene is bigger than that of Cape Town but all in all we think that Capetonian metal bands have started defining the ‘sound’ of South African metal. The only thing keeping the scene from growing is the lack of proper venues as well as the lack of professionalism in band and event management. The people from metal for Africa put on a great show twice a year and they set a standard all venues and organisers should meet. Metal in our country does not get enough exposure unfortunately compared to other countries but the tables should be turning soon. Bands like contrast the water and V.O.D. have proven that the ‘outside world’ is accepting of our unique brand. All we have to do is work hard and persevere.

Is there any South African Metal bands that Beeldenstorm would love to play with or share the stage with? If so, who and why?
Definitely Mind Assault, KOBUS!, Bulletscript, Strident, Contrast The Water and Juggernaught. We would like to play as many shows as possible with as many bands as possible. It would be great to play with any and all as we love being part of the South African metallic brotherhood and we want to encourage unity throughout the scene. The bands we have played with (and would love to share the stage with again) such as The Warinsane and Suiderbees have been very supportive. These bands are true ambassadors of the attitude and spirit which exists in our scene.

And finally, does Beeldenstorm have any last words?
Thank you Air Guitar for giving us this opportunity \m/ keep supporting metal!!! Check out our Facebook page and listen to our track. See you at a show soon… Ons is BEELDENSTORM en ONS FOK ALLES OP!!!
Catch all the awesomness of BEELDENSTORM on Facebook!
Raise the Horns to Beeldenstorm!