Johannesburg, South Africa: It is a big accolade for a band to be nominated in any one of the categories for the annual SAMMA (South African Metal Music Awards), and even more so to make the it to the top five during the nomination and shortlisting process. This gives that extra ‘Horns Up’ to the guys, helping to enforce that what they are doing is being noticed, is making an impact on the local scene and also showcasing what South African Metal has to offer on our continent as well as globally.
Some of our nominees have that extra ‘Horns Up’ in that they have made it to the top five shortlist in more than one category this year and others still have taken top honours in previous years.
A trip down Memory Lane
A number of this year’s nominees already have an award sitting in a band room or on a shelf, serving as a little reminder of their contribution to the South African Metal scene. It may have also been the driving factor for these bands to challenge themselves further towards their brutal destiny – releasing more material and making more memories.
We wondered what winning an award previously has meant to some of these bands. Adorned in Ash took the title for Best Death Metal in 2015.
“To be recognized for the years of effort – creatively, physically, financially and emotionally – is truly a wonderful feeling, and to receive that confirmation that your efforts are noted and appreciated truly is an honour. Receiving it from our beloved brotherhood of Metal makes it so much more special.” ~ Robyn Ferguson (vocals/guitar, Adorned in Ash)
Bleeding Spawn took the Best Death Metal title in the two other years since the inception of the awards, 2014 and 2016.
“Obviously it meant a lot – winning any award shows how your hard work pays off and gets appreciated by the fans, it drove us to only work harder with what we do. A third award would just prevail to us that we must just work even harder and push harder and get it done by all means necessary.” ~ Dominic Vorster (drums, Bleeding Spawn)
DevilSpeak are up as nominees in the Best Newcomer category again this year after taking the title last year.
“It felt good and weird all at the same time to me, being a Metal band in SA you never expect awards as such. I won’t say we play for awards, but I can’t say they mean nothing to us either. We keep our 2016 award in our practice space, so that says something. I think overall these awards are a sign of the maturation and growth of the SA Metal scene, it’s a good thing seen in the right light.” ~ Derrick Leppan (bass, DevilSpeak)
“It was amazing, as we never expected it. We’ve been working hard on creating what we do, and winning that award meant that we are progressing as a band and getting the recognition for it.” ~ Francois Meyer (drums, DevilSpeak)
Theatre Runs Red could be going for a trifecta, taking the crown for the past two years running for Best Black Metal.
“These wins mean the world to us! It is just fuel to add to our passion for creating music and only drives us harder to be better! It keeps the fire in us alive and if we won for a third time it would push us to break our own boundaries in the hopes that we could win for a fourth time next year!” ~ Lilitu Caprinae (vocals, Theatre Runs Red)
A possible multitude of victory
There are a massive seventeen bands reaching the shortlist for more than one category this year, showing that they can make an impact in their own genre as well as create an overall impression on the Metal community with how they show up on stage, on camera and on recording.
What do these multi category nomination short listings mean to these bands?
“The only way to describe this is humbling. What started off as a fun project in 2014 is now something we all take very seriously. Our debut album will be released in the coming months, followed by a country wide mini tour. We are immensely proud of this and we want to thank each and every one who voted for us. I think it is our sound, look and live performance that makes us appeal to the SA Metal fans.” ~ Raven Chaos (guitar, Deadline)
“Any form of recognition is always welcome and uplifting, though it’s not something we crave. We write and perform purely for our own satisfaction. If we happen to pick up some people along the way who enjoy what we do, then that’s merely a fortuitous bonus for us – the more the merrier. Maybe it’s because of this approach that our music appeals to the listener?” ~ Wayne Boucher (vocals/guitar, Deity’s Muse)
“I feel extremely humbled by the two nominations. For me it shows that putting in the effort to make great music will inspire others to listen and share. DevilSpeak blends quite a few different styles together which the majority of listeners may find appealing. We also keep the live shows interesting by introducing props and stage setups to our performance. I think it is the whole package that makes DevilSpeak so appealing to our fans.” ~ Francois Meyer
“As a band, you must love your own music first. I mean, why else play the music? It’s such a massive bonus if you have complete strangers coming to your show and headbanging like crazy with you, because they enjoy the music. It doesn’t matter if it’s a crowd of three people or a thousand people, that feeling is amazing. To be recognized by The SAMMA’s is such an honour. Hard work does pay off. Even if we don’t win anything, the recognition is appreciated. I think Megalodon is appealing to South Africa because of our high-octane energy stage performances. We don’t do gigs, we do shows. We feed the crowd with energy and that fuels us further to perform and improve as a band.” ~ Thomas Theron (vocals, Megalodon)
“Firstly it’s an absolute honour and this sort of recognition is truly humbling, what we do is very dear to us and to make any sort of impact through your art is just incredible. I think we have always naturally gone against the grain, Progressive music was (not so much these days) quite a niche market, but because of our wide variety of musical influences it was the natural collective marriage of sounds that speak loudest to our souls and our desire to orchestrate more grandiose compositions. We are completely consumed by the arrangements and the emotional triggers and we’d like to think that in those moments we connect with the listener on that same emotional level and at that point we are on this journey together.” ~ Dylan van der Merwe (guitar/backing vocals, Mezzanine Floor)
“Words cannot explain how honored and excited we are to be recognized and nominated for two awards, just makes us want to improve and better ourselves. We stand out mainly for our unique brand of Metal. We are not too heavy and not too chilled, just the right blend. I also think the fact that we have the most Brutal female vocalist in the country also makes us stand out from the rest. Kimmy makes the meanest male vocalists sound like Choir Boys.” ~ Kevin Kirkland (guitar, Nerve Zero)
“I think people find our music unique which sparks curiosity. In the early days, we had gigs where the crowd would just stare at us, which was a little disheartening because we thought that people did not enjoy our performance. But eventually we saw that these people stayed for the whole performance, and came back to other shows, and we realised that the stares were just the look of people trying to figure out what the hell the music was doing with its constantly changing structures. Over the years we’ve gotten better at writing catchy riffs while keeping the Progressive structures, and the crowds have just gotten to know our music better, so we luckily enjoy a mosh pit at every show, rather than those blank stares of the old days.” ~ Doug Jenkinson (guitar, Raptorbaby)
“It’s always lovely to get a nod of appreciation, especially among so many other fantastic names.” ~ Paul Du Plessis (bass guitar, Raptorbaby)
“At the end of the day we really love what we do, we feed a great deal off the energy of the audience and we hope it transpires into the audience, so it’s pretty much a give and take process. It is truly an honour to be counted amongst the best for these nominations, we feel very humbled by this, and we know if it weren’t for our fans’ love and support, we would not be where we are today.” ~ Gareth Reed (guitar/vocals, Riddlebreak)
“It’s really rad, especially since we’ve been a bit quite since doing the album tours, it’s great that people get what we’re doing, ‘cos we’re not even sure most of the time.” ~ Jovan Tutunovic (guitar/back vocals, Juggernaught)
“It’s an amazing honour. We really didn’t expect it at all since we’re such a new band with a very limited area of exposure, but we’re really excited to be nominated this year. Thanks everyone for voting for us!” ~ Joel Dickson (vocals, Last One Alive)
“It’s such a great feeling to know people care that much. I think we really bring something that is simultaneously cathartic and brutal, and warm and inviting, and it means the world to us knowing that people respond to our hard work and want to go on that journey with us by voting for us and encouraging us.” ~ Ric Shields (guitar/vocals, Last One Alive)
“It’s incredible and we thank everyone that supports what we do. Our ethos is purely about writing good songs. Genres/sub genres and fads will come and go but a good song will stand the rest of time!” ~ Bob Addison (guitar, Last One Alive)
“It’s great to be recognised so early in the game. All credit to Ric for his tireless dedication to the music video, he put in a s@#$load of time and energy to making sure it came out the way it did. As newcomers we’re full-on excited to hit the stages and promote the scene, and other bands, and my guess is that excitement is palpable to anyone who’s seen us live or seen our videos on line.” ~ Miggs Auer (bass, Last One Alive)
Okay, so who has the award?
And the award goes to… wait, where did it go? Bands are by their very nature a plural which means one trophy needs to go a long way. So, we were wondering, what do some of the band members think about where the award should go. A lot of the guys play the diplomatic card and opt for rotation sharing, some have a spot waiting in their band rooms and then you get a few guys who have called dibs.
And the rotation and band room award placers are…
“In our band room of course!” ~ Dill Jones (guitar, All We’ve Known)
“Band room seems like the place it should go.” ~ Dominic Vorster
“Firstly, it would be a great honour to win this award. If we do I would keep it in my lounge so all of my family can see it and to thank them for all of their support through the years. After that I would keep it in the band room for future inspiration.” ~ Van666 Alberts (guitar/vocals, BloodBeast)
“Not sure, maybe it can be a floating trophy between the band members. We all seem to have a cabinet or display shelve where we keep figurines of Heavy Metal icons and metal memorabilia, so a trophy would be a great addition. But it will probably end up in Mega Storage, unit Q9, our practice room.” ~ Raven Chaos
“More than likely in our band room. I don’t think any of us owns a mantel piece of sorts.” ~ Wayne Boucher
“In the practice space, alongside the 2016 award!” ~ Derrick Leppan
“If we win the award – which would be amazing – it will probably take turns at each of our houses for a while. As soon as we get a permanent rehearsal studio, we will frame it, or mount it, to always remind us of the hard work we put into this band – and all the great memories along the way.” ~ Nick Muller (guitar, Disarmageddon)
“At our jam room !!!” ~ Wouter Botha (guitar, Maximum Carnage)
“If we win, we will keep the trophy in our practice room as a reminder that hard work pays off.” ~ Thomas Theron
“The topic has actually come up and should we be so fortunate there is only one place that we can all agree on and that would be our jam room. It is the ultimate clubhouse filled with so many stories and memories, the birthplace of the band and all our creative ideas from that point onwards. So rightfully it would reside there… plus the building is extremely haunted so in one way or another in whatever form it wishes to take on, it will most probably live on right there throughout all eternity, haha.” ~ Dylan van der Merwe
“Either in the jam room or the studio, wherever it will look most precious.” ~ Christopher Paterson (vocals/guitar, Monolith)
“We keep our awards in our practice room currently, we are hoping to eventually have five wins in whatever categories we are nominated in and then each band member would be able to keep an award!” ~ Lilitu Caprinae
“We’ll probably have it do the rounds, we try to give everyone equal ownership in this thing called My Columbine that we have created. That, or find some way to imbibe it and absorb some awesomeness from it.” ~ Sven Borgstrom (bass, My Columbine)
“Haha, I think we’ll all take turns keeping the award or keep it in the band room so that we can worship it while we sacrifice Chickens to the Dark Lord. Hahaha.” ~ Kevin Kirkland
“We’ll be rotating the award amongst band members. Everyone should have it with them for a bit to feel proud of an achievement like that.” ~ Damian Buys (guitar, PSordid)
“Hmm… we’ll have to have a fight to the death for that one. Or maybe a simple rotation system would suffice… Brandon already has a SAMMA which he won for Best Metal Vocalist a while back, so he would obviously be excluded from the rotation.” ~ Greg Van Kerkhof (bass/vocals, Red Helen)
And how about a little healthy debate amongst the band members?
“If we win this year I am keeping the award as I didn’t get to keep it last time.” ~ Mark Ivey (drums, Adorned in Ash)
“We said we were going to time share the Best Death Metal award but somehow it has ended up at Robyn’s place among a collection of skulls and guitars and Edgar Allan Poe paraphernalia so it actually seems to have found a good home. If we were honoured with another one Robyn can go fly, it’s coming to my place!” ~ Leon van Rensburg (guitar, Adorned in Ash)
“Right next to the previous one. We kinda agreed that the awards we receive will be floating trophies but I bamboozled them and I’ve kept it safe with me… *strokes award lovingly* My precious.” ~ Robyn Ferguson
“If it’s the video one it’s all Ric’s… if it’s New Comer I guess we’ll draw straws… haha.” ~ Bob Addison
Some guys want to keep it to themselves…
“Shotgun! It’s staying at my place; I have the perfect shelf for it. I will even hook up a webcam so the guys can login to look at it.” ~ Dave Freedman (bass/backup vocals, Dirty Moonshine)
“Well, Herman is the only that will be there, since the rest of us are out of the country, so I’m guessing the miserly bastard will keep it.” ~ Jovan Tutunovic
“Uhmm I don’t know? Probably in the man cave I have back at home.” ~ Sammy Simegi (guitar, Sacrifist)
And there are also a few other options…
“Maybe we will virtualize it and keep it in the cloud, because it’s the 2017 thing to do #tothecloud or in a time capsule. Set for 724 years… Or in your sock drawer (hint: it’s empty cos they’ve all been vanquished).” ~ Sam MacKintosh (vocals, Aimed at You)
“If we win Best Newcomer, I think Bob should hang onto that one. If we win Best Music Video, I intend on building a shrine for it in my house and regularly sacrificing small mammals to it as an offering to the benevolent Gods of SAMMA.” ~ Ric Shields
“We’re gonna turn Ric into Tony stark and implant it as a chest piece like the arc reactor.” ~ Miggs Auer
“We’ll hold a lucky draw once a month.” ~ Lolke-Louis Claassen (drums, Raptorbaby)
“We’ll cut the award into 5 and each member can keep a piece at home, I’ll keep my piece under my pillow so I can be close to it at night.” ~ Doug Jenkinson
“Around Jade’s ankles so his giant body doesn’t float away. Kidding, we always said we would share but our ‘shared’ cymbals signed by Monuments are still at our drummer’s house… Our practice room would be a good place, you know for motivation and *cough* bragging and stuff.” ~ Roushan van Niekerk (bass, Riddlebreak)
“We are looking around at different display options. So far Jeandre’s home studio is a favourite, but the more public and proud the better.” ~ James Roberts (Set for the Sky)
“A custom spectral-metal trophy cabinet, located in the Septic Lair.” ~ Shelby Green (keyboard, Spectral Realm)
Regardless of where the trophies find their homes, it cannot be debated that whoever is lucky enough to forever-home it is definitely deserving.
Be there when it happens!
Catch the SAMMA official awarding ceremony on 1 July 2017 at Rumours Rock City starting at 16:00 to see who takes the highest honour for each category. To see all final nominees in each category following the public participation polls, visit this article.
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