In 2013, the South African heavy metal public were roused into a new initiative called the South African Metal Music Awards (SAMMA), which was aimed to play out in 2014. Directed by a small group consisting of mainly active musicians and offering limited public resources describing the processes behind the awards, the initiative struggled to obtain buy-in from the national community as a whole. Nonetheless, many who were closer to it’s base in Gauteng climbed aboard with enthusiasm, culminating in what was reported to have been a largely successful ceremony event in 2014.
For 2015, and with the awards coming back for a second round this year, www.metal4africa.com decided to try and get closer to the story and the facts by attending this year’s ceremony at Rumours in Weltevredenpark, Gauteng.
It appears that the organizers (two key members include Musa Mntambo and Brandon Bernado, both formerly from the rap-metal band 11th Hour, pictured above) have done much in the last year to try and address some of the points of criticism from the first round, which began with expanding their organisation to include more people from a range of industry backgrounds. Yet, judging by the turnout, which was reported by many as having been considerably less bodies than the previous year, it raises some questions as to whether enough had been done to address the public interests in the concept. The handing over of an award comes as result of a band’s achievement of the strongest result in a public voting process.
Nonetheless, our in-the-flesh experience was that of a well-rounded and festive event. It appeared as though operations for the night had run according to plan and the event was thoroughly enjoyed by those in attendance. The organizers clearly put in a good effort towards bringing in a diversity of representation, not only on the line-up, but also in choosing a splendid range of personalities to assist with the announcing of the awards. A heart-warming and appreciated touch included those decisions such as inviting vocalist Clifford Crab, from South African traditional heavy metal stalwart band Agro, to announce and hand over an award for the Best Core category; Vocalist Bryan Binneman, from the more modern/contemporary-styled Facing The Gallows, to deliver in the Best Death Metal category and other unlikely pairings.
Awards handed out on the evening, and their recipients, included:
Best Video: Man As Machine, for their ‘Force’ music video, 04 August 2014
Best Live Act: Boargazm
Best Black Metal: Theatre Runs Red
Best Thrash: Carnage Carnival
Best Core: Zombies ate my girlfriend
Best Album: Boargazm, for their The Baconing album, 07 August 2014
Best Death Metal: Adorned in Ash
Best Prog: Poverty Of Ideals
Best Nu Metal: Boargazm
Best New comer: Messiah Complex
Performers on the night included bands who, mostly, had been nominated in one or the other of award categories. Opening the ceremony were the energetic Riddlebreak with strong nu metal influences, and sporting a tiny but highly charismatic frontman (Jade Osner, pictured right). Following the Best Prog and Best Death Metal announcements was Blame The Architects with a female vocalist and really slick lead guitarist whose overall sound was more rock in style. Octainium blasted the stage after the Best Nu Metal and Best Black Metal handouts, providing a perfect bridge again towards the heavier ilk with their frontman’s ‘clean-meets-death’ vocal style. Wacken Metal Battle 2014 finalists, Red Helen sprang onto stage shortly after the Best Thrash and Best Core were unveiled, with their usual power as frontman Brandon Pratt commanded the room with his presence. Maximum Carnage delivered what we expected to be a mosh-pit frenzy, having enjoyed previous contact with their groove-laden death metal at our home base in Cape Town just earlier this year, with the awards for Best Album, Best Newcomer, Best Live, and Best Video all received by grateful hands, Adorned In Ash closed off the night with their usual display of positively inspired fury! (Robyn Ferguson, Leon van Rensburg & Marinus Terblanch, pictured below)
Photographs courtesy of Perception Entertainment