As could be expected from just about any stock-standard metalcore act, USA’s Affiance comes complete with: short cuts and lightly-to-furry faces; quirky attitudes with an ironic sense of humor; skinny-pants and breakdowns; gang vocals and, wait… what? Soaring clean singing at times almost akin to that of prog or power metal bands? Yep, that’s right. These guys are anything but stock-standard. From the first listen Affiance is instantly addictive with Dennis’ distinct vocal range hitting all the right notes and reaching for the stars, setting the band apart from the thousands of others who already cram this region of the global metal-scape.
In anticipation of their arrival in South Africa on Friday, we got a little ahead of ourselves and prompted a chat with guitarist Brett Wondrak, about politics, truth, and cheese. Being South African, it was interesting to us to observe the attention which Affiance gives to some of these more serious matters after seeing their very light-hearted (cheesy, but brilliant) video for ‘Call To The Warrior’. On the subject of South African politics (since elections are up in only a few weeks), the band seems eager to soak up what knowledge they can during their visit here.
“I hope we can learn even more when we visit your country. In fact, most of the themes we have throughout our discography deal with topics such as revolution, equality, and freedom. We push those ideals in our songs in hopes that we can bring those topics to the masses and make them more a part of our world.” ~ Brett
Of course, little about the current state of affairs in South Africa is of any real interest or consequence to outsiders, but we do have a globally recognized legacy which is still celebrated today and will be for many generations to come. As regards the late Madiba, that clear and far reaching legacy can be reflected on, even by metal bands in distant lands.
“He was a very brave man who never gave up on his convictions, no matter the opposition. The world is a better place because he had the strength to fight. I couldn’t think of a better thing to say than, ‘Thank you for making the world a better place’.” ~ Brett
Brett also allowed that he and his band mates are very eager to visit a country which is so radically different from their own and the opportunity to experience some of the local culture.
We got chatting about the concept of ‘truth’, which is also close to the hearts of those who call themselves Affiance. Truth, as a concept, is by nature very subjective and may often require that one divorces oneself from preconceived ideas about things which are ingrained in our way of thinking if we wish to grasp onto something bigger or more revealing; a challenge most people succumb to before much advancement.
“I think any kind of change has to first start with some kind of cognitive dissonance. It may start as a small, quiet voice but it eventually develops into fulfilled conviction that demands change. In a personal light, we have to fight for the strength to face these convictions, even if they contradict our learned way of life.” ~ Brett
With the serious business out of the way, we wanted to talk more about the bands unique sound; something we at M4A feel is intrinsic to their specific brand of vocals. Getting back to the ‘cheese’, we joked about Affiance potentially branching off into an older-school power metal direction, to which Brett admitted there were no immediate aspirations. He did, however, have some words of wisdom woven into the tale of how Dennis came to be the voice of the band.
“We are happy being a metal/metal-core band with a clean singer. It gives us a good balance of a tough sound while still maintaining the beauty and melody that metal has to offer. As I understand it, Dennis discovered his voice on a school bus, singing pop songs on the way to a sporting event. Since then he had been a part of school choir and eventually joined Affiance.” ~ Brett
We went on to learn more about how the band has been able to carve out their niche…
“There really isn’t anyone else who does what we do. I think the closest you will get is the dgent scene with bands like Periphery or the tech-metal scene with bands like Protest the Hero. I guess having a corner on the market has been beneficial for us to get some attention from metal fans.” ~ Brett
With that, we had one final matter to cover: what words of wisdom or encouragement could a member from a band like Affiance offer to those aspirant youngsters in a local scene, determined to try their own hand at fame and glory?
“If you want to make music a career you have to strive to be the best at what you do. You have to be willing to work harder than most bands are willing to. You have to push your way through the over-saturated music scene and make your way into the forefront of the conscious minds of listeners.” ~ Brett
A lesson to be taken from those words indeed! We strongly encourage that you get out to the show nearest you whilst the opportunity exists to see this remarkable band in action. Their South African appearances will include: Durban (KZN), Stellenbosch (WC), Weltevreden Park, Pretoria and Alberton (GAU) for only R100 a ticket at each show is a bargain. Full tour details, as well as links to ticket bookings, can be found at the tours facebook event page.
To sweeten the pot, we’ll be giving away a free pass to two individual winners to attend the show nearest you – simply share this post via your facebook profile along with the wording “check this post out by METAL4AFRICA.COM” and tag the METAL4AFRICA.COM facebook page so we can see your share in our feed. We will select two winners at random on Friday 22 March, the day the tour kicks off in Durban. Keep an eye on your inbox at around lunchtime – we might be contacting you!
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