From the idyllic setting of a traditionally styled English pub, located near South Africa’s Cape Town, we set out on an unlikely journey to explore vast expanses of uncharted science and cosmic mystique. My travel companions included Ruan Jordaan (guitarist) and Thomas Theron (vocalist) of the city’s eight-stringed metal phenomenon, Megalodon. With the launch of their debut album only days away, it was time to learn more about the band’s origins and to discover what energies have driven Ruan, Thomas and their band mates to this point in time and space.
It interested me above all to learn about the band’s name and the relationship it holds with the music – two stories which I have now learned do not converge as two things meeting from separate origins might do; but rather emerged as one and the same from the very beginning. “We like to tell a bit of a story,” said Ruan, “a tale of some dark force from mysterious origins, but from the perspective of science rather than religious dogma”;
Thomas added “Like some kind of monster. Rather than it being ‘the devil’, it is something which the known universe has somehow produced but equally as scary, if not more because it is physically manifest”.
“For example,” Ruan continued, “if somebody tells me Satan is gonna get me, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid; but if you said a black hole is threatening earth, I’d shit myself!”
An encyclopaedia will inform you that Megalodon is the name given to an extinct (thankfully) species of shark known to have prowled the Earth’s oceans some million-odd and more years ago. If you are a historian of the Greek language, the word might take on the meaning of big tooth to your understanding. Rightly so! If such a beast still swam the oceans of today, I’m confident that mankind would not.
“We wanted a name that best described the band’s artistic orientation” said Ruan;
“and also captures the essence of the band’s sound” added Thomas.
A Megalodon was basically a great big prehistoric killing machine; known to have been one of history’s largest and deadliest predators.
“Our vibe started out as mostly just noise – we wanted to get a sound going that seemed almost machine like” Ruan explained. This affirmed my existing theory on the band’s low-tuned, eight-string guitars and often mathematical sounding passages. The lads explained how, when they initially began with writing and recording, they made use of looping technology when listening back to tracks or sections of tracks they had laid. At times they would let the loops continue in cycles, just enjoying the mechanical sound and feel produced by it and sometimes evolving further riffs out of the drone. “It made us think of something mechanical and dangerous, like a Panzer tank; some kind of destroyer. And lets face it: at any point some distant star could blow up, and the consequences could wipe out humanity in a heartbeat – this is the kind of power we wish to portray through the sound of our music.” We shared a chuckle as Ruan pointed out, apologetically, how this simply “doesn’t work” with six or seven strings.
With the coming Darkness in Sonance album, a chapter in the greater theme is being unveiled. Together with a clever social media campaign, the band tells of an intelligent and malignant force which has set its devotion to Earth and the planets inhabitants. Again, not so much to do with spiritual fears so much as the very real possibility that other intelligent life exists out there, and would likely be smarter than us. How would such an intelligence regard humanity? Certainly not as its equal. Much like the Megalodon of the ancient seas, where science and evolution dictated the hierarchy in the food-chain, cosmic order and stardust have come together in natural conspiracy against those lesser beings: and today, it is us earthlings. As a music group; as artists, Megalodon are our Prophets of Dark Science.
If you are in the Cape Town region this coming weekend (29, 30 March 2013), make an effort to attend the Megalodon album launch of Darkness in Sonance.
There will be a free show at Buckleys in Edward Street on Friday 29 March, featuring guests Infanteria and Terminatryx, plus the actual album launch event on Saturday 30 March at ROAR in Lower Main Road, Obz which replaces Terminatryx with Messiah Complex. Megalodon have also been enlisted to the ranks competing in the Wacken Metal Battle South Africa in May, which will see one local finalist compete against finalists from thirty other nations at Wacken Open Air in Germany this August.
Stream “I.D.K.F.A.” off Darkness in Sonance below:
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