South Africa Metal: STRIDENT

(6 Brothers who love driving melodic metal and good times)

Thank you for taking some time out to do an interview with Air Guitar! Melodic rock is back on the agenda. Why now?

Well, in our minds it’s always been there, but it’s always been in the fabled lands across the sea! The first thing we were struck by when we started gigging was the incredible hunger among the metal fans here for precisely what we were offering: melodic, epic metal. Internationally, too, the power metal genre has gone through many permutations, and there’s a whole new audience waking up to it now. So the stars have aligned, one might say.

For our readers abroad; could you elaborate on the ‘epic’ Strident?

It’s a band of 6 brothers who love nothing more than driving, melodic metal and having a good time. Our shows are theatrical, unashamedly bombastic and frequently tongue-in-cheek; a celebration of the metal brotherhood and all the things that it entails. We hoist broad swords, knight our most loyal fans onstage and just embrace the sheer power of heavy metal.

You’ve said in the past: “Today, Strident stands as South Africa’s defender of true steel, willing to live and die for their brand of heavy metal, in all its cheesy glory.” Why the ‘cheesy glory’?

There has always been an element of cheesiness about power metal, an element of self-indulgent fun that separates it from more thematically ‘serious’ metal genres. It’s a release; there’s no pretence, no having to be ‘brutal’, no fear of being caught smiling. Music is about expressing yourself and having a great time and this is a philosophy that power metal embraces fully. So we take the music seriously, but never ourselves. As for glory, power metal should make you feel like you’re on top of a mountain slaying a dragon; it’s every fantasy epic in musical form. And besides, who doesn’t like to sing about pirates, legendary warriors and power metal from space?

Strident has played a mass amount of gigs – which gig was the most chaotic?

RAMfest 2010 really stands out. People got punched in the face, underwear was thrown on stage. German girls, too. It was quite an experience. Rock The River this last new year’s was also quite a hit – we had random fellows and ladies jump on stage, sing our songs and just plain rock the fuck out. Even the death metal fans had fun. But overall nothing touches the absolute madness of the gigs we used to play in the cramped confines of Eye of Horus – complete insanity which we look back on with nostalgia.
The quality of your songs is amazing on Oath – where did the tracks get recorded and mastered?

Why thank you! They were recorded and mastered at our good friend Jo Ellis’ BlooRoom studio in Ladysmith. Jo has really helped us progress as a band and has tons of knowledge. It was his first foray into power metal (the amount of sound engineers in South Africa who know power metal is painfully small) and our first proper studio recording, so we’re really proud of the result. That said, our new material and initial recordings with Jo for the second album are sounding so good it hurts – people will really be blown away. Better songs, a real choir, vast orchestral arrangements and a far more modern sound – we cannot wait to unleash this beast!

Let’s talk about some of the tracks from the album Oath. What was the idea behind “Metal or Death”?

Metal Or Death is a live favourite, an assertion that metal is our life, and that we’d rather die than live without it. Its opening lines – the opening lines of the album – neatly sum up our mission statement: “Wrought from the fires of Hell, we rise / The thunder sounding your demise / There’ll be no fucking compromise.” That about says it all. We also like the fact that it’s not the typical power metal opener – it’s a thrashy monster with a wicked grin on its face. The vocal delivery is inspired by the old school blues Deon likes – go listen to Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man” to see what we mean – which we feel gives it a real visceral ferocity. And what is could be more life-affirming than shouting “METAL OR DEATH!” at the top of your lungs?

And the much slower track “Homeward”?

Homeward is our grand ballad, a warrior’s solemn hymn as his spirit is guided to its rightful resting place. It’s a beautiful track and really adds variety to our live show.

What is Strident planning for 2012? Will there be any tours or maybe a new release?

We are working on our second release, yes, which is partly why we have been so quiet on the gigging front. That, and our drummer Chris needing work done on his wrist. He should have had the procedure done late last year, but he refused to let down the fans at Rock the River and played through the pain. He’s nearing the end of his recovery period, though, and all seems well. We have some shows and recording sessions set up for May and June, and the second half of the year we are planning some monumental tours – it’s time we get the word of glory up north!

How would Strident describe their fans?

Loyal, true, honest and in possession of impeccable taste in music. Their level of dedication really amazes and inspires us. They are the reason we make music. It should be the reason why anyone makes music, really. All the beautiful artworks found in our album booklet were gifts from a fan – Christopher Michael Beukes – and the album cover was done for free by an American fan named Lew Lashmit

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

It really is growing; unfortunately the infrastructure for it isn’t quite at the same pace. A lot of venues are closing and losing their music licenses, which is a great shame, but that simply means we have to step up our game and create new opportunities for ourselves. We see too many amazing artists playing to crowds of 8 or 9 people at a time, where they would be making a killing in a country where metal is a commercially viable genre.
Musically, there is a definite glut of bands playing certain sub-genres, and the handful of truly masterful bands in those styles are in danger of being lost in the throng. However, on the plus side, the last three years have also seen the emergence of a number of excellent thrash, progressive, black and death metal bands, which is heartening.
Overall, though, it’s a tight-knit scene which has proven time and again to be strong in spirit, if not in numbers.

Does Strident have any last words?

Never give up on metal, play it loud and if you can’t stand the heat, strap a furnace door to your face. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for details about upcoming gigs and such! Thank you for the interview Lav – From Chaos to Glory!

Strident has an event coming up on the 5 May 2012 and 14 May 2012! Click [Here] for details and for 30 April at Zula Bar Click [Here] for details! If you are in South Africa, go check ‘em out and thank me later!

If you cannot make it to the event, check Strident out on their Official page and Facebook!

Metal horns and thanks to the Lads of Strident for the interview!


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