It has already been more than a month since the winner of South Africa’s Wacken Metal Battle was decided in the early hours of Sunday morning on June 16, so it seemed pointless to ask how Chris Hall, main man of Cape Town thrash metal outfit Infanteria, and his band mates felt about the local victory. However, we did ask about the band’s feelings of anticipation towards the finals in Germany and how prepared they are to represent South Africa at Wacken. With the band leaving for Germany on Saturday to compete against the number one finalists from about thirty other countries, Chris explains “We bought our tickets on the 24th of June already, but after an initial round of euphoria, the reality of it has not quite settled in yet. It’ll probably only hit us for real once we’re in the air.”
Chris formed Infanteria along with his younger brother Rob in 2005, initially just jamming some cover tracks as a high school band. In 2006 they began writing their own songs but have seen a few members come and go whilst “growing up” in the scene. The most recent addition is bassist Tim Leibbrandt (ex-A Walk With the Wicked) who only joined in 2013 after the long-standing Mark Pote departed for England.
“Tim adds so much to our live presence. He has fit in really well and we could not have asked for a more worthy replacement.”
Reflecting on the years it has taken for Infanteria to gain some recognition for their craft, Chris said: “We were actually pretty gobsmacked when the South African finalist was announced. Especially after having seen Theatre Runs Red play.” Chris added, “I’ve not seen Rob so excited in a long time. We feel like a lot of really hard work has finally begun to pay off.”
The band will be joining up with the MK Ondergrond crew in Dubai and traveling together to Hamburg. There, energies are hard at work to get Infanteria hooked up with another show before heading out for the Wacken appearance. “We’re also going to try and get a taste of some of their local metal whilst in hamburg,” Chris said, “to get a taste of their urban scene, and some local beer.”
We inquired about the band’s choice of set list for the Wacken Metal Battle finals and were thrilled to hear the choice included Infanteria staples such as “Cataclysmic Oppression”, “Let Death Decide”, and “Beyond All Strength” – tracks all featured on the debut album, Isolated Existence. “We’ll add either the “Isolated Existence” title track, or maybe “Remnants Of Life”, depending on available time,” Chris concluded.
Finally, we asked about his overall feelings for the competition as experienced so far as a whole, and the impact he feels it has had on local metal. “After the initial rounds we felt a little bit of a dampener as some bands were unsatisfied with how the results were playing out. But by the time it was all done in Pretoria, all of the finalist bands were really supportive and gracious about the whole thing. We feel that this has been a great move forward for the local scene as a whole, and we’re really proud to be taking the South African flag to Wacken.”
From us at Metal4Africa, and indeed from the whole metal community of South Africa, we want to wish Infanteria all of the best and that we’ve got faith in them that they have got what it takes to leave a lasting impression! We’re behind you!
Stream “Cataclysmic Oppression” off Isolated Existence, Infanteria‘s debut album below.
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