Metallers in the USA’s San Francisco Bay Area between the period September 2011 to March 2012 were treated to a rising force in their locality; a treat from the distant land of South Africa; our very own home-brewed mix of groove-death metal with a band known as Contrast The Water.
Hailing from the coastal city of Durban, Contrast The Water spent some time building a following and gaining traction abroad soon after the release of their 2011 album Perseverance. Their time in the USA included the members meeting and striking up friendships with many esteemed metallers of international repute, and represented something of a dream until catastrophe struck in 2012. Upon the bands return to South Africa, front man Barry Drewett visited his doctor after a persistent cough had been troubling him whilst on tour. He was diagnosed with emphysema.
“We were contacted by our manager in the USA, to return within a couple months of us getting home, as we had performances booked with Dying Fetus, Six Feet Under, and Revocation. In an attempt to get well for the return to the USA, I began physical training to reinforce my lungs.” ~ Barry
During this training, on a long distance run, Barry suffered from a series of small heart attacks and was consequently warned by his doctor that a lifestyle change was required if he hoped to survive.
“Up until that point, my wife Delia and I had both always put the band first, and we had to for once say that it was time to think of our family.” ~ Barry
What followed was a battle of mental will and physical determination. Barry admits to his first major obstacle as being able to deal with letting go of the band.
“I really felt lost and without a cathartic channel. To say it was worth the fight to come back, only time will tell. Contrast The Water has always been a deep love of mine, even though it has caused me utter misery in my life at times; probably also because it has always been so much more than just a band. It has allowed me to meet the most amazing people, and allowed me to explore so much more than I could ever have imagined.” ~ Barry
Nonetheless, with mixed feelings on what it means to be a front man in a South African metal band, we asked Barry if he thought it a little ironic that such a challenge of significant ordeal present itself to him and his band mates right after the release of an album titled Perseverance.
“I most certainly do, but always console myself, that the powers that be have a wry sense of humor. Although it has been a struggle, I have found many positives in the comeback, and in having the hiatus. It really gave me time to remember what was important, and why music and performing mean so much to me. It has also allowed me to get the current line-up together, and the prospects are very exciting. I know when it comes to Contrast The Water, my soul is restless and business never seems done. Our fans feel exactly the same. I can see it in their eyes when we perform, and that’s the sight I have missed the most.” ~ Barry
And so he endured the physical effort. Barry describes himself as being somewhat obsessive, not allowing himself to engage in something only in part, hence rather placing the band on hiatus until he could be back at full strength. He had to stop smoking as first step towards getting his lungs healthy again, and began with running five kilometers per day and doing breath-holding exercises in a swimming pool.
“I have been very lucky to have Delia cracking the whip behind me and never taking my bullshit.” ~ Barry
Barry is now an Ultra Marathon runner for the Ned Bank Running Club, and has finished the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon. After about eighteen months of recovery he began putting the band back together, and work was started on the To Covet What I Behold EP which was released yesterday.
The album artwork is an actual acrylic painting by Rebecca Claxton, known as both painter and tattoo artist at Ink and Oil.
“I gave her the lyrics of ‘Slave to Fear’, and she created what is now the EP cover. She captured the moment exactly, and I always find myself drawn to the picture, there is just something about it, something unsettling.” ~ Barry
Apart from a few local shows, Barry will be headed back to the USA within a few weeks to reconnect with his “extended family” in the Bay Area; but otherwise, Contrast The Water is very excited for their first European tour with USA’s Bloodsoaked in 2015. Follow the bands page on facebook for regular updates.
The current band members are: Barry Drewett (vocalist, founding member), Chase Drewett (bass guitar, joined in 2009), Colin Jones (drums, joined in 2009), Kris Xenopoulos (guitar, joined in 2014), Ryan Marais (guitar, joined in 2014). Chase and Chris both also play for Durban thrash band Carnage Carnival.
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