Andrew Keith Brecher was a metal musician who hailed from the city of Durban. Drew, as he was affectionately known, originally joined local death metal band Creophagous as guitarist in 2006. After playing several shows and even appearing in a music video with the band, Drew took up the mantle of vocalist after frontman Hilton Lazenby (of Afflicted Truth) decided to part ways with the group in 2007, citing “creative differences” as his reason for leaving. After a few months, the general ethos of Creophagous had shifted somewhat, and having had various shifts in terms of line-up, the band changed its name to Pledge Defiance in the early part of 2008.
Drew was an extremely creative and intense character and was known for his brutal honesty (often misperceived as arrogance and rudeness,) and unique wit. His humour was off-the-wall and totally bizarre to most people – which is why Drew was largely misunderstood by many of his peers. However, his unique qualities and straightforward approach made him a highly capable leader who wasn’t afraid to make decisions and call people out for their poor behaviour or lack of performance.
Drew was talented as a guitarist, vocalist and composer; often programming drums for his solo project and recording the instruments by himself at his Glenwood residence. His solo project encompassed elements of black metal, death metal and grindcore, and he often shared his recordings with bandmates, fellow musicians and friends – strangely, he never released his tracks to the public, so Drew’s individual approach to metal has not yet been experienced by the majority of metalheads.
With Drew at the helm, Pledge Defiance gained a tremendous amount of notoriety both in Durban and across the country, and the quintet was primed to take the country by storm. However, on the 9th of August 2008, Drew was admitted to hospital after suffering from crippling, nauseating headaches. Later that evening, Drew experienced a fatal embolism brought on by a congenital defect that ended his young life, just two weeks after celebrating his 21st birthday.
Drew’s untimely departure was widely felt by metalheads nationwide, and his funeral was attended by a large crowd of family members, friends and fans. In memory of Drew, a festival was organised to be held in his honour. This festival was the first official Drewfest and a number of Drew’s favourite local bands paid homage to him by dishing out some sonic punishment to a huge audience. Included in the line-up was Drew’s own band Pledge Defiance, with guitarist Brynn Huxtable (Code of Silence and Iraqi Death Police) and drummer Nic Venter taking up vocal duties.
Drew will always be remembered for his contributions towards building the Durban metal scene and has been more or less immortalised as a local metal icon. His physical presence is deeply missed, but his spirit lives on in the hearts of those he took the time to befriend, teach and create with. For this reason, Drew will never truly die and his legacy will live on for many years to come.