Cape Town, South Africa: this city prepares to bid it’s final farewell to one of South Africa’s Metal greats this weekend. We feel truly honoured that this should be at www.metal4africa.com‘s WinterFest’17 on Saturday, and will be followed soon by a farewell show in Gauteng. Formed in 1993, SacriFist has persevered through a quarter of a century where most others last 3-5 years only. No small feat, and it will be an emotional and monumental good-bye for many. The band has also arranged to film the show as a keepsakes. But what about those of you who do not know of SacriFist? We chatted briefly with one of the band’s founding members.
“SacriFist started with basically a bunch of young guys sharing their love for music. Michael and I met each other through Paul Verster who was already an established musician. Paul was married to one of my best friends at the time and well everything came together quite nicely.” ~ Sammy Simegi (guitar, SacriFist)
Paul Verster was previously active in Terrorist Yuppy Pigeon Feeders and the also legendary Extreme Metal bands Retribution Denied. Sammy recalls the first ever SacriFist show as being at a 21st birthday party. SacriFist operated in the business-like fashion which came naturally in those days:
“It was mind blowing at the time. We obviously did not make a cent from this, however, we got paid with beers. And boy, there was a lot of drinking during the first few years of this band! And the rest, as they say, is history. We just kept on playing shows, anywhere and everywhere we could.” ~ Sammy Simegi
SacriFist are credited with the creation of five albums, most of which were recorded at the famous B# Studios in Johannesburg (with the exception of the most recent). Sammy tells us how the first, Tides Have Turned, in 1995 had no real direction besides the fact that the band wanted an album out. By the second try in 1999 with Liquid Seasons, a more melodic approach to writing had been adopted. Then came The Well Of Sacrifice in 2004.
“This third release was a very personal album for some members, and if you have this album you should know why.” ~ Sammy Simegi
With The Well Of Sacrifice released, the band put a stronger focus on national touring. By early 2006, SacriFist teamed up with Cape Town’s new kids on the block (at the time), Mind Assault, and commenced with the first Destructour. Apart from other cross-country guest appearances, SacriFist and Mind Assault completed two more Destructour projects together, in 2008 and in 2010.
In the interim, 2008 saw the arrival of Surrealist Plague. This fourth SacriFist album was where the band displayed a strong development in accessibility and technicality. With already 15 years behind them, members were approaching a slower pace in band life. This tends to happen when ‘adulting’ kicks in. Eight years would pass before the release of SacriFist‘s fifth and final album, Tyranny, which arrived in 2016.
“I think we always got more nervous in the studio than playing live and the reason is still not known. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we basically fall under the “perfectionist” category, and in the studio you don’t have tons of time to play as much as you’d like.” ~ Sammy Simegi
The Legacy Forged
25 years is a long time! Data gathered at our own bi-annual event indicates that the majority of nightlife consists of attendees aged between 18 and 24 years old. This means that the majority of active Metal supporters in South Africa were likely not even born when the band started. But water moves quickly under the bridge in the entertainment industry. Sammy explained how the SacriFist machinery has managed to keep ticking for this long:
“Playing live has always been the pinnacle of why we’ve been doing this for so long. Only the fans can make possible.” ~ Sammy Simegi
He lists a few career highlights especially as being the feeling when releasing each new album. Also, the chance to hit the road is central. As mentioned, SacriFist has toured South Africa on a number of occasions, but lesser known is that the band has also toured Germany.
End of an era
Witness it first-hand at WinterFest’17 as this monumental chapter of SA Metal history comes to a close. SacriFist will perform the prime 22h00 slot (immediately after Skinflint, our honoured guests all the way from Botswana, and before Megalodon who we are celebrating with a send-off as they depart for Germany to represent South Africa at the international Wacken Metal Battle the following day). Join SacriFist at our meet & greet booth straight after their performance. There will never be another opportunity to get a photo – and signed – by the whole band again!
“Once, if anybody had told us that we’d be leaving music in pursuit of other paths in life, I’m sure we would have laughed and laughed. But as time goes by you realize that there is a bit more to live for than just making music. It’s a sad reality but this needs to be done and we need to say goodbye in so many ways. Do we regret anything? HELLO NO! It was a blast, an honor, and the chance of a lifetime to be this fortunate to be ‘alive’ for so long.” ~ Sammy Simegi