Cape Town, South Africa: it’s official. Ill System is back with a vengeance! The band is here to prove it with the first new material released since it’s 2005 International Assassins EP; a brand new single titled ‘Holy War’.
Holy War, and the battle to prevail
Ill System‘s story on the South African circuit dates all the way back to 2001, when the band originally formed. Present frontman Sean Olsen and former guitarist, Last One Alive‘s Bobby Addison, forged a hard-hitting mix from unlikely backgrounds. By 2006, Ill System was living in Wales, UK with all-South African members, and participated in the international Emergenza battle of unsigned bands; finishing in first place out of nearly 1,000 acts from the UK alone, and in 18th position globally. Not bad at all!
Sadly, that story ended with two members returning to South Africa once visas expired. Until 2014, Ill System all but disappeared into the realm of fond memory.
When Bobby Addison returned to South Africa in 2014, the band naturally reformed to do a reunion show; albeit with a new bassist as the previous remained in the UK. Notwithstanding, www.metal4africa.com could not refuse the urge to invite Ill System to perform another set at SummerFest’15 in Stellenbosch. With much of the old spark returning, Ill System continued with sporadic appearances, including to support USA’s Fear Factory at an electrifying performance in Cape Town.
“M4A is probably the reason the band got back together and is now playing SummerFest’18. The previous appearance in 2015 was a reunion show for us and it hooked us back in to the energy and camaraderie that make up the scene that M4A has done so much to encourage and nurture. What has also been refreshing is the way the brand has pushed a more diverse metal scene, which is very much the ethos of Ill System”. ~ Sean Olsen (vocals/percussion/guitar, Ill System)
Holy War, the birth of a new era.
Following an announcement in April this year, Ill System is intent on writing new material; to continue its journey as a creative force rather than remaining merely a legacy act.
“2017 was about finding the right replacement for Bob. Not just someone who could play the old songs, but someone who had the energy, the ‘gees’ and the drive to take us to a new level; and that, without a doubt, is Gareth”. ~ Mike Cubic (bass guitar, Ill System)
With a new guitarist established in the mix, the band is ready to take the proverbial “bull by the horns” in 2018 and beyond. ‘Holy War’ is the first sign of Ill System‘s actual rebirth as opposed to being merely an echo of its former self.
“‘Holy War’ was the first song written by the band in its current line-up. It’s a good representation of an updated, new direction for the band as well as remaining true to the core of the band’s sound. The message of the song is as bold and representative of Ill System as previous material”. ~ Sean Olsen
“It’s also still very charged from a lyrical perspective, which has always been what this band is about. It provokes thought and makes one question the world we live in today”. ~ Ramone Pickover (Drums, Ill System)
What does the future hold for Ill System
For the meantime, all hands are on the creative machinery. Whilst the self-produced ‘Holy War’ represents a powerful display of intent, it is the springboard to much work to follow. Sean offered some response on our question for future material:
“Our focus at the moment is writing the music. I believe the outcome of the writing process will dictate the end strategy. Personally, I’m from the album era and that’s my preferred way to listen to music, but we’re well aware of the shift in trends and will be taking that into consideration”. ~ Sean Olsen
For us, patience will have to make do for now. What we can look forward to more immediately, however, is a return of Ill System to the M4A stage at SummerFest’18 on 03 February. For full details on that event, visit the article on this website, and join the official facebook event page for regular updates. On the coming show, one member left us with this:
“We definitely have more focus than 2015, and even though we are older, the energy and positivity in the band has never been better. Mike and Gareth are now our brothers, and they bring a new breath of life to the band. We may even have something special planned for the show, so make sure you don’t miss it!” ~ Ramone Pickover