Mind Assault politicizing local metal performance

Mind Assault live at WinterFest'15

In a bold statement, Cape Town melodic death metal icons with a twist of thrash, Mind Assault claim to be introducing a special element to their upcoming co-headlining performance at M4A‘s WinterFest’15 in Cape Town on 8 August. With the band’s history being punctuated at times by highly provocative themed shows – something which has earned them acclaim with local festival promoters such as those for RAMfest, Oppikoppi and Witchfest – we wanted to try and get a hint at what it was that the band had “up their collective sleeve” as suggested on a facebook status today.

“We’re not wanting to let on too much in the way of specifics for this next show. But we’ve always focused on delivering strong performances, which is also why we withdrew somewhat from the highly active gigging circuit years ago. We wanted to rather be fully energized and ready to offer something more at each new show instead of falling into the same old pattern of just rocking up and playing. It’s easy, when a band gets too busy on the circuit, to forget that people like to see something fresh each time. We often find ourselves guilty of this, even though we’ve identified it as a problem long ago.” ~ Patrick Davidson (guitar, Mind Assault)

This attitude from Mind Assault has been apparent for years. At Subterania‘s 2008 annual Whiplash (R.I.P 2002-2012) series of metal concerts, Mind Assault kicked off a series of of political parody performances when they arrived at the venue under the guise of a new political party called the Metal Alliance, complete with campaign staff and decorations for the venue, vying for votes. At the following year’s M4A WinterFest’09, they established a Metal Workers Union with a play on the reference to ‘metal’, with members in overalls and hard hats distributing protest placards to members of the audience. At Rock The River new years party into 2012, the band stoked more political fires by raising their huge monochromatic South African flags following their ‘South Africa Betrayed’ campaign which stemmed from the Black Tuesday of 22/11/2011 (third party information resources here and here) from just weeks before. This one apparently caused a little trouble, with the band’s blatant display of political consciousness.

Mind Assault political parodies
Mind Assault performing a number of political parody shows

“Of course we’re politically conscious. We’re adults living in a very politically complex society where we are told that our friends and families – and yes, we’re now old enough to know about caring for and supporting families – should be enjoying a safe environment and the opportunity to prosper. This is the expectation that all South Africans have and what we’re being told by our government that we should have, but it is not the reality which most experience. As a South African – be it white or black, yellow, pink or brown – there are some serious shortfalls on delivery of these promises and we as citizens are left to be asking ‘why?'” ~ Patrick Davidson

Patrick elaborates on the band’s view as not being to try and propagate hatred or animosity, but rather just to tell stories as they are seen by themselves and others.

“Also, we’re not always talking about our home country of South Africa only – we’re expressing world views because there are many places with problems even bigger than ours, and we feel that we can relate – yet sometimes our intent can be misconstrued as a bunch of dudes favoring ‘old regime’ ideals based on the fact that a lot of our material is sung in the Afrikaans language. We’ve had this where we’ve attracted extremist interest from two different sides even. But that is not the case. Our minds and hearts are alive in today’s South Africa and have no desire to rebuild the past; but that does not mean we are not interested in the past as a learning curve towards a better future. To us, it looks like politicians easily forget what ideas and actions caused trouble, or perhaps trouble is key on their agenda today? We’re not saying we’re right or wrong in this; we’re just trying to serve as a sort of a mirror that these things can reflect off and be seen. A very LOUD mirror! Despite all of this, we’re very grateful to enjoy quite a cosmopolitan audience at most of our shows. It tells us that our message is not as deeply lost in translation as some would believe. We’re just glad to see examples of people from all races, religious, cultural, and social backgrounds to be keeping an open and inquiring mind at our shows.” ~ Patrick Davidson

In directing the conversation back onto topic, we wanted to know if there was anything more that could be said about the coming WinterFest’15 performance. With Mind Assault having appeared as opener for Bring Me The Horizon (UK) in Johannesburg (2013), joining Lamb Of God (USA) on their South African tour (2015), and effectively kicking off the monster Saturday night line-up at Witchfest Urban Festival (2015) when Mind Assault was followed by Aborted (Belgium), Belphegor (Austria), Kataklysm (USA/Canada) and the mighty Cannibal Corpse (USA), it could be expected that the South African group had learned a few things from these international greats.

Mind Assault on Lamb Of God tour, Cape Town

“You’d better believe it! If a band plays those kind of shows and learns nothing from it then they must be blind or stupid. What they are able to DO about it, however, can be a different story. With some budget, a band can go a long way in jacking up their show. Especially on the lighting front. Gods! Lighting is expensive. But Mind Assault has always been a resourceful band – although not in actual money, we’re resourceful in other creative ways – and so we compensate. We actually had originally planned the show we’re going to deliver at WinterFest’15 for our support of At The Gates (Sweden) when they were scheduled to play in Cape Town recently. This invitation to support them was a HUGE honour for us, especially since we were going to be the only local band, and so we put in a great effort to make this one of the most memorable live performance by Mind Assault. The platform was just perfect for it. However, the promoter rescheduled At The Gates to rather visit South Africa for next year’s Witchfest and we were kinda left sitting with a loaded gun in our lap. Amen for the WinterFest’15 opportunity!” ~ Patrick Davidson

With those hints dropped, one can only hope and trust that the delivery will be nothing short of spine-chillingly electrifying! The band is known to sometimes weave in interesting interludes and contextualizing their set to an engaging story or theme. If the past has anything to prove, it may suggest that Mind Assault are not making an idle threat, but as it is widely said: “the proof is in the pudding”. Join the official facebook event page for WinterFest’15 here or link to our full article.

Connect with the band Mind Assault on facebook