The SAMMA 2017 Chronicles: full metal action on stage and screen

SummerFest15 by Laura McCullagh
SummerFest’15: image courtesy of Laura McCullagh

Johannesburg, South Africa: Fists in the air and flying hair. Nothing – absolutely nothing – trumps the live experience at a Metal show. Whether it be at the nearest local venue or on a giant stage at a festival, there are some bands that will always occupy front-of-mind when thinking about the best Live acts which South African Metal has to offer. Those ones where, by the end of the set, everyone has become their biggest fan. These are the bands that get the biggest crowd engagement which, in turn, fuels that Metal fire that keeps our scene alive.

Thrash your heart out

Deadline pumps out high voltage Thrash at every opportunity, leaving the resistance in the shadows and fans chanting for more. Their show would not be complete if they didn’t leave blood on the floor.

“We end nearly every show off with Blood Beast. It’s a nice fast number, perfect to go out with a bang.” ~ Raven Chaos (guitar, Deadline)

Deadline 2017 live by C Duvenage
Deadline: image courtesy of Christelle Duvenage Photography

These guys grab every opportunity to perform and there are a few performances which really stood out for them.

“We are lucky to have played a number of great shows already, but our Metal Feast 2017, Emalyth 9 Lives and Battle for Wacken 2017 were fantastic shows. Our first ever show in a friend’s basement was a special show. It is what got the heavy metal ball rolling.” ~ Raven Chaos

And what is the fuel that gets everything going?

“Milkshakes, Deadline chanting, pull-ups and push-ups.” ~ Raven Chaos

Riddle me this

Riddlebreak is another one of those bands that brings Metal to the core on stage. The pure crowd engagement that is rallied as they perform, and the roar that is emitted when the first electrifying notes of ‘Something Sick’ begin to play.

“People relate differently to different songs, but major contenders for the song that needs to be on every set list are ‘Something Sick’ and ‘Zero Point Energy’.” ~ Gareth Reed (guitar/backing vocals, Riddlebreak)

Riddlebreak 2017 live by C Duvenage
Riddlebreak: image courtesy of Christelle Duvenage Photography

Riddlebreak has performed alongside local and international acts alike. The only factor that may differ from show to show is the size of the stage and the crowd, but the energy remains the same.

“We have so much fun at shows that it’s extremely difficult to pick one as a favourite, because we try to make every performance one worth remembering. All of our ‘Krank’d Up’ performances have been memorable to us because of the crowd, the energy and the international bands. We all just feed off of it which makes for a great live show.” ~ Roushan van Niekerk (bass, Riddlebreak)

Before setting the stage on fire, there are a few rituals to be performed.

“Warm up the hands with a few exercises; warm up the voice with a couple of smokes; warm up the confidence with a couple of beers… and we warm up our bodies with some stretching exercises and general disgruntled yelling.” ~ Julian Vosloo (guitar, Riddlebreak)

From the stage to the screen

Metal Music Videos: songs being brought to life in an artistic representation. South African Metal bands are putting more and more effort into music video production and are fast delivering music videos which stand on par with those offered on the international front. Nerve Zero, Raptorbaby and Last One Alive do not disappoint on this front.

‘Kiss the Ground’ by Last One Alive was destined for a music video, right from the word go.

“It was the track that we all agreed was a great summary of our sound as a band, and had a great message to send.” ~ Joel Dickson (vocals, Last One Alive)

“This track stood out for us; high energy and a kickass song. It is our first release, and so it naturally required a video to further emphasise the badass-ery.” ~ Miggs Auer (bass, Last One Alive)

“It was a stand-out track for all of us… high energy.” – Bobby Addison (guitar, Last One Alive)

“A music video is a powerful marketing device and an excellent way to introduce the faces of a new band. We wanted to set our tone and blow everyone’s minds with a deep concept, and this intention coupled with my own filmmaking expertise and the enthusiasm of a great team eventually bore fruit. We’re extremely proud of the video, it’s a slick, dark journey into the world of Last One Alive.” ~ Ric Shields (guitar/vocals, Last One Alive)

The creative process was a team effort and they definitely took advantage of skills within the band itself, resulting in a music video which has some brilliant production quality and is engaging from start to finish.

“I initially had a concept which was bombed by the band, so Joel suggested we draw directly from his lyrics for the story in a more literal way and wrote a rough treatment. I developed this into a script, hoping to share the screen time equally between the unfolding narrative and our performance to establish our characters. After a few drafts, we were ready to assemble a team of amazing professionals and shot the video over two frantic days. After that, it was up to me to put in the, time carefully crafting the edit and applying subtle post effects and grading to make the picture really stand out. And voila! A great music video was born!” ~ Ric Shields

Till Death… Do it us part?

Nerve Zero made it onto the nominee list for Best Music Video for their single ‘Till Death’.

“Well, having a pro music video is essential to promote your band to the masses via YouTube. This particular track had a very intense story to it and we thought putting the plot onto video would be awesome. It came out so rad and we are proud of it.” ~ Kevin Kirkland (guitar, Nerve Zero)

It was key to translate the lyrical content of the track, as well as do something that portrays what the band is all about. They took their single and showed us all a common battle, silently fought by many, against inner demons.

“Kimberley created the storyline for the video. It’s basically about a woman caught up in her own mind and battling her demons. The video portrays her fighting her demons (played by us, The Band) and finally overcoming her inner demons. We chose an awesome location, being an old condemned electricity plant which was creepy as hell. We had to bribe the security to use it as someone had died there… so PERFECT for us.” ~ Kevin Kirkland

Deep Dark Dystopia

Raptorbaby has enthralled us with the music video for ‘The Group’.

“As the lead single for the album, we had to do a music video for this track. We always wanted to do an animation, but cost was a problem. Luckily, Alyssa Prinsloo, a mutual friend of the band, offered to do it in her spare time for a very good price, which resulted in the simple yet interesting video you see.” ~ Doug Jenkinson (guitar, Raptorbaby)

The band decided on doing a lyrical video which accentuates what is behind the meaning of the song and it brings those words to life, with the assistance on a talented animator of course.

“I feel the tone fits perfectly with the story and message of the song. Dystopia created by those who were supposed to lead us. The dark tone of the video is what I believe many people feel these days. The world is bright and colourful but it’s covered by just that slightest darkness. The video was hand-animated over a period of four to five weeks, but we gave Alyssa a bit of ice and whiskey for the wrist pain.” – Lolke-Louis Claassen (drums, Raptorbaby)

Whether you are watching them live on stage, in your lounge, sneakily at work and on your phone when you have a break, there is one thing that all these bands have in common – fans will always make the effort to come to their shows, watch their videos and share their experiences and feelings about them. These are things that set bands a cut above the rest and something that all bands should strive for.

Be there when it happens!

Catch the SAMMA official awarding ceremony on 1 July 2017 at Rumours Rock City starting at 16:00 to find out who takes the award for Best Live Act and Best Music Video in South Africa. To see all final nominees in each category following the public participation polls, visit this article.

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