Fear Factory South African tour: support bands

Fear Factory 2016 South African Tour

Cape Town, South Africa: Media, whether local or international, tends to always get it right when an international band hits South African shores. But what about the local support acts who seldom receive any noteworthy mention? These are often representing some of the best our nation has to offer within their genre-category, and sometimes – unbeknownst to most who see them even locally – have no small amount of national or international accomplishment of their own to speak of, tucked discretely under their studded belts. In this article we focus on Pretoria’s Boargazm, Johannesburg’s 11th Hour and Cape Town’s Ill System; all of whom are supporting USA’s legendary industrial metal powerhouse Fear Factory on their two-date South African tour this weekend.


Boargazm are providing the main support for the tour which is a rare privilege for any local band, appearing in each city along with the headliner. And are they good for it? Absolutely!

The Pretoria North (Wolmer) based sci-fi swine squad provide a ridiculously contagious theme of headbanging hogs from outer space, here on earth to save all pig-kind from… humanity!! The gimmick has earned global attention particularly from other artists who have visited South Africa, and even attracted the specific attentions of Sam Dunn and his Banger Films (Metal: A Headbangers Journey, Global Metal, Iron Maiden: Flight 666, etc).

Though let none be fooled into believing that a pig mask and a comic book series alone will carve a path to heavy metal fame and glory; the pigs know their business and are certainly local metal’s highest grossing merchandise distributors (well, locally – Durban’s Vulvodynia may be in the lead for a global footprint size) and have toured extensively across South Africa on numerous occasions, as well as presenting themselves as a regular festival fixture on big stages in South Africa and abroad.

Boargazm - Photo Copyright: Henk Steyn Photography
Image courtesy of: Henk Steyn Photography

Abroad? Boargazm are the most well-traveled South African metal band since Forever Will Burn (R.I.P) toured Europe supporting Brazil’s Sepultura in 2007. South African metallic-swine-flu has infected three continents so far, including visits to African countries such as Botswana, Mozambique and Kenya; North-East European nations like Russia, Latavia and Estonia; and South America with a visit to Ecuador and another to Brazil later in 2016.

The band are no strangers to sci-fi themes and thus provide a fantastic fit to accompany Fear Factory on their Southern African safari.

“All of the members grew up listening to a lot of Fear Factory, so obviously having the privilege of supporting them here on tour is surreal. As you can see, we are also heavily into our sci-fi concepts and fast, precise music. They are probably one of the reasons that we sound a bit like we do, and to us, doing these shows means the world to us so we are taking great care to do a professional and respectful set.” ~ Heine van der Walt (vocals/guitar, Boargazm)

Ill System

The Capetonian/Welsh band – it’s hard to tell when studying the Ill System timeline and history – hit local circuits as early as 2002 and quickly established a national footprint before relocating to the UK in 2005 where they spent a large part of their career.

Ill System 2015 by Laura McCullagh
Image courtesy of Laura McCullagh

Ill System bring a hard slap of culture to the nu-metal face of this genre-pool, and apparently this was precisely the right ingredients required when trying to make an impression abroad. Whilst based in Wales, the band entered into the UK leg of a global ‘battle of the bands’ catering specifically to unsigned artists from across the full musical spectrum; a battle in which they completely trumped the home of the world’s largest music industry and went on to compete at the international finals where they came in eighteenth place. This is to say: eighteenth place out of roughly 1000 (one thousand) other contestants who took part in the global Emergenza 2006.

Sadly to say (really?), the winners of that year disbanded as early as 2008, although the German runner-ups My Baby Wants To Eat Your Pussy appear to still be (vaguely) active… but so are Ill System, and strongly so! Lucky for us they also still tear the roof down at every show we’ve seen them at since reforming back in home-nation South Africa since 2014, including to spice up metal4africa‘s own SummerFest’15.

“Supporting Fear Factory is a massive achievement for Ill System, each member in the band can’t actually believe that it’s happening. It’s like watching your favourite movie, and then suddenly becoming part of the movie and acting alongside your favourite actor. It really is a dream come true for us, and will definitely be chiselled into the ‘History of Ill System‘ stone tablet.” ~ Ramone Pickover (drums, Ill System)

11th Hour

11th Hour press 2016Whilst not quite as internationally savvy as the two aforementioned, Johannesburg’s 11th Hour are no less significant in the local context for their years on the circuit. Founded in 2005, 11th Hour picked up pretty much where the likes of Ill System had just left off with their emigration.

But what marks this band’s achievements as much as their onstage prowess is their offstage swagger. Founding members Brandon Bernardo and Musa Mntambo are also the guys who had the guts and gall to kick start the South African Metal Music Awards; True Believer funding initiative on facebook Connect with the author Patrick Davidson on Google+” target=”_blank”>a concept which is gaining steady momentum and significance.

They have toured nationally and kept alive that which many a local metaller had long thought was but a memory – rap metal – and sheer force of will from their part ensures that the sub-genre is alive and well in the Southernmost of Africas.

“For us this is definitely something we’ve been looking forward to our entire careers but we never thought it would come in the form of supporting a band some of us grew up listening to in the 90s.So for us it’s a real honour and some what a dream come true to be supporting an international act such as Fear Factory and it’s really good to see that our fans are happy for us and are in full support of us getting this opportunity” ~ Musa ‘Moose’ Mntambo (vocals, 11th Hour)

Of course, if you’ve read this far and still need an introduction the the gentlemen pictured in the image below, then there is a wonderful opportunity to familiarize yourself with Fear Factory and their intellectual hard-wiring in our recent feature article where we chatted with vocalist Burton C. Bell about Robots, Humans, Systems and more…

Fear Factory performs live tonight at Bassline in Johannesburg with Boargazm and 11th Hour in support, and tomorrow at The Assembly in Cape Town with Boargazm and Ill System. Tickets can still be acquired via Quicket, or at the door.

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Fear Factory press picture