In 2013 came a great sign of promise to the South African metal musician community when the first ever Wacken Open Air Metal Battle: South Africa was announced. Curated by at-the-time media mogul Louis Du Pisani via his MK Ondergrond television show, the battle captured the imaginations of South African metallers and saw Cape Town thrash metal band Infanteria travel to Germany. In 2014, the battle repeated and Gauteng’s Red Helen went to represent the nation abroad. After a gap year taken in 2015, Louis is back with W.O.A Metal Battle: South Africa in 2016.
“Recent years can only be described as a period of enormous growth for scene building in Metal South Africa. Our little corner of the world has now been recognised as a new and exciting location for bands abroad, stadium acts and independent bands all at once, to come and showcase what we’ve been yearning for – recognition.” ~ excerpt from Wacken Metal Battle: South Africa page.
The locally operated event series, endorsed by the international Wacken Metal Battle (see website here), seeks to award one South African artist with a trip to represent their home country midst contestants from approximately thirty other nations in a grand final at Wacken Open Air festival itself. There can be only one top selection per year, but all bands have an opportunity to face serious considerations, and as in previous years, a great opportunity to learn their strengths and weaknesses through a detailed scoring system (see an article from previous year’s scoring here). All of it, ultimately, is designed to assist in the elevation of home-brewed heavy metal music into the international arena of music and entertainment.
“The W.O.A Metal Battle South Africa now returns to complete the local metal equilibrium. From International bands coming to our shores, to amazing local shows reminding the community the spirit of South African metal flows in local veins, to sending our country’s finest to the international stage – that’s what the Wacken Battle is all about! It’s not just about playing alongside the biggest names in Global Metal, but sending our Local talent to the Global stage and representing us all at the Mecca of Metal – Wacken Open Air!” ~ excerpt from Wacken Metal Battle: South Africa page.
The usual format will come into play where a number of shows will take places in various South African cities. Each show will serve not only as a process of elimination, but also as fundraiser to serve the winning band on their travels when the time comes to visit Germany. Entries for the 2016 battle can be submitted via email to Louis(at)pixelbrew(dot)co(dot)za and must include: a short biography; a band logo; the band’s location, and; an mp3 sample of the band’s music.
For band’s living outside of Gauteng, take note of the date for the W.O.A Metal Battle South Africa finals taking place in Gauteng at Rumours Lounge on 28 May, as finalists will need to be able to travel. Gauteng heats will take place on the dates of 5, 6, 7 and 8 May, with Cape Town and Durban heats in April. Full details will be releases as they become available.