If you were to associate Cape Town with a musical genre, happy, party music springs to mind. The mother city is dominated by upbeat, catchy indie rock and ska-esque bands, and why shouldn’t it? Looking out of my window right now, the sun is shining, the clouds are scarce and the weather is just right for having a great, stereotypically summery time. Just let me get my water wings.
However, in the 90s a sombre sextet was spreading a wave of gloom and doom through the streets of the city: Grämlich. Incorporating a strong mix of the bands that made up the 90s doom “holy trinity” (My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema), the band had a definite appeal to the darker side of the Cape Town music scene.
“Close Your Eyes” is one of their faster songs from the two track Tears Within demo, released in 1999. It still trudges on at a funerary pace in comparison to most metal bands, but the atmosphere and mood is perfect. The clean vocals, atmospheric drumming and crunchy guitars make a really dreary package of doom! The long, drawn out passage in the middle of the song has a mournful dirge-like quality that swells and suddenly drops out before everything comes crashing back in to an intro refrain and a great finish!
Grämlich split in 2001, but some of the members are still involved in the local metal scene. Drummer Ronnie Belcher playing for Terminatryx and guitarist Malcolm Burger performing with Axxon.