The SAMMA Chronicles 2017: The Noobs

DevilSpeak DeWet 2017 by Christopher Tatzreither
DevilSpeak: image courtesy of Christopher Tatzreither

Johannesburg, South Africa: One of my most favourite experiences as a Metal fan is when you discover something deliciously new on the scene. The band that makes you turn your head as they start their first song with peaked interest, and then by the end of their first set you are blown away by the emerging talent that our fine Metal scene continues to churn out. This is also one of the beautiful aspects of the SAMMA process; an opportunity for fans to discover!

Every band had to start somewhere and the nominees for this year’s Best Metal Newcomer at the SAMMA are proving that just because they are new to the scene in their current bands, they can still create a benchmark for local bands to strive towards.

Vanquishing socks in the name of Soul Metal

Aimed at You hit the scene with their first gig in 2015, introducing our community to some much needed “Soul Metal”.

“We are here to make rock that vanquishes socks. We are out to push big red buttons and bring fun to the scene. It’s a bona fide hat trick of win all-round. Aimed at You manifested from a discussion between friends: to start a band that reignited our love for creating music outside of our comfort zones and influence ranges, but still have that organic foundation in the spirit of having fun.” ~ Sam MacKintosh (vocals, Aimed at You)

Aimed at You 2016
Aimed at You: image courtesy of Monique Maartens

These lighthearted, hard-hitting entertainers have made it into the SAMMA Top 5 for Best Metal Newcomers two years running.

“It may have possibly been some great salmon of prosperity. It may have been talented ninjas. There’s no formula, no drawing gimmick. It’s classy fun with all the trimmings. Our lighthearted yet professional attitude we have put into the scene has given us a good stance with a number of organisers and sound engineers. It’s evident in our writing style that each song is different and draws from each member’s unique take on music. We incorporate all genres of music and take inspiration from many different artists and bands.” ~ Sam MacKintosh

They are all about the music, their fans, and – above all – bringing that fun element into everything they do.

“Don’t be shy, come say hi! Metal is an art form that provides escapes in various manners. We’re the fun element. We’re pals, sharing music with pals, and aimed at having a good time. If the fans out there want more intel, they’ll be good operatives and steal it.” ~ Sam MacKintosh


In between some of the general public thinking that their name is “Deadlion”, Jessy Switchblade, Baz Steel, Raven Chaos, Dizzy Styx and Skullprit from Deadline deliver Power and Thrash in it’s rawest form, keeping true to the Heavy Metal that they love so much.

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

“Deadline formed as a fun side hobby. With time, we realised that this was becoming bigger than we expected and our live performance was setting us aside. We have always been passionate about Heavy Metal and we work hard to play music that we so dearly love.” ~ Raven Chaos (guitar, Deadline)

Power. That’s what Deadline is all about, and they have the bicep emoji to prove it.

“We always loved this genre, many of us go to international Metal festivals and shows annually. Metal has something that no other genre has, and that is POWER! Why not form a band and show the world how powerful this music can be? We formed this band quite late in our lives so we are catching up. That is why the live show is so important to us. No matter the size of the crowd, we work hard and give it our all on stage.” ~ Raven Chaos

And a message for all the Deadliners and Deadlinettes out there…

“Playing Metal is not a phase or trend; it’s a way of life. We take our shows very seriously and make sure that when the crowd leaves, they remember us.” ~ Raven Chaos

Devil’s Peak, the Metal Mountain

Hailing from Cape Town, DevilSpeak is actually a play on words on the Devil’s Peak mountain in the same area. They bring pure visual metal to the forefront, from Death to Thrash and everything in between.

DevilSpeak M4A 2017 by Christopher Tatzreither
DevilSpeak: image courtesy of Christopher Tatzreither

“We enjoy using props in our shows to add a bit of dramatic vibe to the proceeding and to set a ‘darker metal mood’. We lose ourselves in our music when playing live, we don’t hold back and will give you everything we have got, every time.” ~ Derrick Leppan (bass guitar, DevilSpeak)

This is the second time DevilSpeak appears nominated in this category for the SAMMA since the band came to life in 2015, and they actually triumphed last year. Will they do so again?

“We all share a passion for playing metal, we had four out of the five pieces in place for a good while, and the fifth piece was Francois on drums who we found last. After the first session with him we all knew something was going on here among us, musically speaking, and we recognised that straight away, worked with it and so DevilSpeak was born.” ~ Derrick Leppan

They aimed to hit the scene hard, leaving no prisoners, and that’s exactly what they did. Having jammed out the same six-song set repeatedly until they mastered it, only then did the band then set out for the stage.

“For our first show we were already confident in our playing, delivering a solid set that nobody really expected. At that point we created a certain expectation tied to DevilSpeak and have since been pushing our game in every aspect. I think every show we just push as much as we can, and through that create the magic that is DevilSpeak.” ~ Francois Meyer (drums, DevilSpeak)

Last One Alive… definitely!

A second SAMMA contender from “The Mother City”, Last One Alive hasn’t been on the scene for long in their current form. Nonetheless, they’ve hit the ground running and are proving that they will be here long after others have died out.

Last One Alive 2016 press

“We are Last One Alive, a Metal Band from Cape Town. Officially hit the scene end of 2016. We’re in the face melting business.” ~ Miggs Auer (bass, Last One Alive)

“We formed as the brainchild of Bob in order to fulfill his vision of a fresh hybrid of heavy alternative rock and modern metal overtones. Something unique, immediately accessible and satisfying in its ferocity.” ~ Ric Shields (guitar/vocals, Last One Alive)

As much as the members are new to Last One Alive, all of them have previously been in bands and have applied that experience upfront, allowing them to take the scene head-on and leave crowds in utter awe.

“Our first show was a video and single launch. We also recognise the importance of having a strong visual representation of the band. I think all these factors are probably what have contributed to the nomination.” ~ Miggs Auer

“It’s a real honour to be recognized this early on in the game and I really feel it’s everyone’s clear vision of what each of us want to convey that delivers a high quality outfit.” ~ Bobby Addison (guitar, Last One Alive)

And a final message for the fans…

“Thank you for supporting your local scene and being part of something that is driven not by money or fame, but by pure love of the music. You are the reason we do what we do.” ~ Joel Dickson (vocals, Last One Alive)

“I’d like metal fans to know that we’re here to break genre conventions and bring something new and exciting into their lives. Something they can relate to lyrically and energetically.” ~ Ric Shields

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 Metal Newcomer in South Africa. To see all final nominees in each category following the public participation polls, visit this article.

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