The SAMMA Scripts 2018: The Newbies

Johannesburg, South Africa: It’s that time of the year again when we celebrate names and achievements which have floated high in the South African Metal ranks. Following on from a stellar event last year, we’re all eager to see what the South African Metal Music Awards ceremony delivers this time around. As we edge closer to the announcement of the winners, what better way to pave the way to Rumours Rock City on the 7th of April than to get to know a little bit more about the nominated bands, starting with the nominees for Best Newcomer.

Progressive Performance

Hiraeth 02 by Snapback Photography
Hiraeth: image courtesy of Nathan from Snapback Photography

Hiraeth has been together since May 2017 in their current format; the band steadily making a name for itself in the Gauteng scene since. The quintet offers up a sound which includes both a melodic clean female vocal as well as a male gain vocal.

“Hiraeth’s sound was essentially born through experimentation and curiosity, and the concept and sound eventually outgrew its humble studio beginnings to what it has become today. Each and every current member has contributed to the overall sound that is Hiraeth. One of the big things that we push for is soaring melody and driving rhythm, and it’s starting to show through our fans at live shows, the energy is amazing.” ~ Luke Cayzer (guitar, Hiraeth)

The band has gained a large following and drawn a lot of attention in just short of a year.

“We achieved so much within a short space of time. I think this is due to the fact that we set achievable goals and, with the combined passion and utter devotion from every member, we achieved what we set out to do within our first year; possibly a little more than we hoped for. We have been extremely fortunate to have played some truly great shows and fests, and the music being recognized has pushed us all further. So, the momentum is only starting now, and we look forward to the coming months and years.” ~ Luke Cayzer

We wondered what they felt set them aside from other SA Metal Bands?

“We’d rather talk about what we have in common with a lot of SA metal bands, and that’s that we do this for love and not money. When you do something for the love of it, it tends to go well. If not right now, it will eventually. Just keep at it! Passion in your practice makes perfect.” ~ Gareth Reed (vocals, Hiraeth)

Fans can look forward to a release of the single ‘Emergence’ this year.

“We will be writing more and heavier material and fans can expect us to work our hardest on our music for them. We thank them for the tremendous amount of love and support we’ve received thus far in such a short space of time. The metal community has given so much to us, and we’d like to give back! Every scream, headbang and horns up we witness at our shows is lovingly poured back into our music.” ~ Mart-Marie du Plessis (vocals, Hiraeth)

Could it be contagious?

Disarmageddon photo
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The Old School Thrash Metal which Disarmageddon delivers has also drawn plenty of attention. The band advanced to a whopping three Top 5 nominations this year following on from only a single nomination last year; also the start as a band in 2016.

“We are insanely humbled by the three nominations this year. Just one would have been an honour. We owe it all to the fans. When Disarmageddon was formed, we were just doing what we loved. It didn’t really matter who noticed. It feels really good. It shows that more people are hearing and enjoying the music. That truly means the world to us.” ~ Matt Jordaan (guitar, Disarmageddon)

Following on from a big 2017 with Disarmageddon’s release of the Contagion EP, we have been told that we can look forward to some new things this year:

“We hope to push the boundaries in 2018. We’re looking into releasing our full-length, debut album this year. We’ve worked on a lot of material since the release of ‘Contagion’ and it’s a matter of time until we hit the studio. Also look forward to many more gigs as we spread our thrash across the nation and beyond.” ~ Ash Seetharam (bass, Disarmageddon)

Set to outlive the rest

Last One Alive is a shining example of what South African Alternative Metal has to offer. The band took top honours for Best Music Video in last year’s awards, even though being new to the scene. This year, the band find’s itself nominated strongly, ending up in Top 5 for three categories.

“It’s a radical feeling to have our hard work acknowledged in these three nominations, as it corresponds directly to the areas we focused on last year. 2017 for us was all about getting our most polished material out to the masses on all popular platforms and hitting some key shows, and to have this level of interest in our EP launch is so gratifying after a couple years of hard work perfecting our product. What better way to encourage us to work hard for the glory if we have a great panel and an enthusiastic set of fans lifting us up?” ~ Ric Shields (guitar/backing vocals, Last One Alive)

Following on from a juicy 2017, apparently there is plenty for the fans to feast on this year to keep appetites satiated.

“We’ve just put the finishing touches on a juicy crowd-pleaser which we’ll release very soon, and we’ve got two more that are nearing completion; so our fans won’t have to go hungry for too long. These are, however, just the hors d’oeuvre, as we’re planning to write a double disc item for late year release that will explore our sound in very unexpected ways. We’re aiming to stress-test the local scene, see how much sonic chilli sauce they can handle!” ~ Ric Shields

13th Empire

13th Empire has not been together for very long. However, it already features in two Top 5 category nominations this year; including Best Newcomer and Best Core.

“It feels awesome, and we’re really grateful to all the fans for all their support. Although we have only been performing live for just over a year, our band and music has been in the works for quite a bit longer. The full line-up was completed earlier in 2016 with the addition of our vocalist Daniel Irving, and he smashed the lyrics and vocal melodies to complete our debut EP.” ~ Byron Hambly (guitar, 13th Empire)

As mentioned, the band decided to record an EP before starting to perform live which seems to have paid off for them.

“It was a conscious decision, we wanted to have that ‘product’ available to promote at our shows. Having previously been in bands that did it the other way around, we knew this was right for us and we’re very happy about that decision. Otherwise it’s easy to get trapped in the endless cycle of playing shows and changing the songs around and just not getting the final product done. The response to both was honestly better than we expected, given such a small market in this country. We’re so grateful to everyone that has made the effort to check us out and we’re inspired to create an even better full-length album as soon as possible.” ~ Byron Hambly

The band classifies it’s genre as “Post Laundry Melodic Pants Core” and we pondered why the pants were so very melodic following their cleansing ritual:

“We’re not really big fans of the whole super niche sub-genre-fication of metal, so we’re just taking the piss there. Our tastes are wide and varied, and so it’s pretty difficult to put a specific label on it. We just want to make music that we enjoy, and in general we just consider that to be heavy, melodic, metal. We’ll let other people classify bands into genres and just keep doing our thing.” ~ Byron Hambly

The Destroyers

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The Cape Town Metal scene has recently been introduced to some Blackened Thrash Metal in the form of Abaddon. The band brings a certain “old school” style to the scene which appears to have been very well received, playing on stage at both Hellington and www.metal4Africa.com’s very own SummerFest’18.

“I love the loyalty! You can always count on seeing a familiar face and great support at the gigs.” ~ Wian Jacobs (vocals, Abaddon)

It doesn’t seem fair that only Cape Town gets to experience this new entry into the SA Metal scene. Hopefully some of the rest of the country will get to indulge soon.

“We have been planning a gig there in Johannesburg for a while now. Hope it happens soon!” ~ Marco Jacobs (guitar, Abaddon)

What the Metal fans can look forward to this year, however, will be a launch for Abaddon‘s debut album toward the end of 2018.

“The album title is ‘The Fractured Race’. The best description for the theme, I would say, is very anti-humanity/anti-establishment.” ~ Wian Jacobs

Seeing what 2017 has delivered in terms of new Metal, it would appear that 2018 is going to deliver a feast!

Be there when it happens!

Catch the SAMMA‘s official awarding ceremony on 7 April 2018 at Rumours Rock City starting at 18:00 to find out who takes top honours To see all final nominees in each category following the public participation polls, visit this article.