Cape Town, South Africa: the self-proclaimed “melodic djentcore” act, Subject To Slaughter, are about to embark on their third intercity tour and second time visiting Port Elizabeth. This visit is in support of that city’s Mezzanine Floor who will release their second album this weekend; one of the same bands who supported Subject To Slaughter at their own launch of Eschatology a little more than two months ago on 18 June. We decided to get in touch for a long overdue chat to find out how this craft work has been performing, and what sort of trajectory Subject To Slaughter finds itself on since we spoke to them last.
With a little more than two years on the live scene – having appeared live for the first time on 5 April 2014 – Subject To Slaughter have found themselves on an upward trajectory on the local circuit, and more rapidly particularly within the last ten months. Some milestones already include: a first intercity tour in 2015; victory at the Battle for Witchfest; appearing live at M4A‘s SummerFest’16 in January; victory through the Cape Town heats of the Wacken Metal Battle of 2016; a second intercity tour to Johannesburg, and; the release of their own debut EP, Eschatology.
“When we started out, there was no clear vision of where we wanted to be in a years time. We just went with the flow. We were three friends wanting to jam again after a year of not being in the music scene because of studies. We were without a second guitarist and vocalist, but luckily in a space of two weeks time, we found both Conrad and Stefan. When we got the lineup together, we practiced hard on a sound that we still cannot define into any popular genre.” ~ Anrich Engelbrecht (drums, Subject To Slaughter)
Anrich tells how, in the two-and-a-bit years since the band started, some big things have happened which can be summed up as good and bad; but which ultimately, the members all feel have brought the band closer together. Of course, trials of a personal nature can always be used to enrich the creative process. We asked Anrich about the band’s lyrical themes tie in with the title of their debut offering of Eschatology.
“We are a very easy going band. We write whatever we feel like at the time. We chose the title Eschatology because when we went through the lyrics, we noticed that the one thing all the songs have in common is how we as the human species are ‘the wrong’ in this world, and how we need to be held accountable for what we have done to ruin this great planet we inhabit. The ‘Final Judgement’, if you will. Also, very subtly, we try to promote being against violence and cruelty towards animals.” ~ Anrich Engelbrecht
Eschatology was recorded, mixed, and mastered at 7 String Studios in Durbanville under the curatorship of Mike Cubic (also known for his role as bassist in With Dawn and Ill System) who also co-produced with Anrich. The artwork was a combined ‘in-house’ effort by band members Werner Barnardo (bass guitar) and Anrich.
“The concept for the design came into being after we noticed how, in the lyrics, humans try to play ‘God’ in the world. But ultimately, just ruining it for everyone. The concept you now see on the cover of our release represents ‘Man ascending into Godhood'” ~ Anrich Engelbrecht
By all accounts, the release is doing well. Anrich supplied us with links to reviews where the scores are speaking volumes, and in particular, reviewers are commenting on a solid songwriting style. Orders have been coming in from abroad where hardcopies are desired, and the band is finding themselves having to adapt quickly to be able to supply for a demand which has surpassed their expectations and initial planning. All good news, in our view; although we hope they can solve the matter of international distribution quickly!
But what now? Where to next for Subject To Slaughter? Anrich tells us that plans are afoot to expand the band’s national footprint still further before thinking too far afield in terms of touring. Writing on a follow-up EP or album is not the focus yet as the band continues to ride the wave of Eschatology, although that is not to say that the band are idle between shows.
“I don’t know when we will release another album, but for now in September we are releasing a collaboration track with vocalist Joel Dickson from Animus Fall and Last One Alive. Just so say thanks to the fans for the support. Also, it is not sounding like our usual style, so we hope to see how the public responds to it. Later in the year we will also release a single featuring Ben Duerr of USA’s Shadow of Intent… you can go check them out.” ~ Anrich Engelbrecht
Further to that, Subject To Slaughter have their eye on the prize of a national tour including stops in Durban, Bloemfontein, and Gauteng. Although it might be some time before the funds become available – so no dates on that just yet. However, Jeffrey’s Bay and Port Elizabeth can look forward to a little Djent-infused brutality this weekend as the band treks the 800Km Eastwards to join old friends Mezzanine Floor in their home district for a launch of their own. Of course, on that subject, we had to ask about the odd combination since Subject To Slaughter and Mezzanine Floor share very little in common, musically speaking.
“Yeaaah, the paring of Subject To Slaughter and Mezzanine Floor is a very odd one. When we arrived in Port Elizabeth the first time, we could not have met more friendly people. A very good friendship formed with the guys; they really are the most funny people you would ever come across. Besides just hitting it off, we ‘smaak’ each others music, so we kind of have an informal agreement that if we two bands were to ever be in the same area, we would be together. I guess you could say we are ‘dating’ each other.” ~ Anrich Engelbrecht (drums, Subject To Slaughter)
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