Nestled in a shopping centre somewhere in the middle of suburbia, Weltevreden Park, Rumours Lounge is just about the only venue this side of Jozi to showcase my kind of live music from time to time. Rumours’ humble stage has seen the likes of legendary bands such as Ensiferum all the way from Finland, local lads Riddare Av Koden and the infamous Erebus. I have seen the walls of this tiny pub shake with pure metal awesomeness on numerous occasions.
With a wealth of teenage angst growing rife in the air, a rather young crowd sauntered into the venue to produce what is considered to be a good turnout. I embraced the young following as being the future of the local metal scene.
If the abstract yet heavy groove of Gojira were to have friendly fuck with the soothing and deep melodies of Cult of Luna, I believe they would produce a bastard son called State Dependency. It had been months since I last saw this refreshing 3-piece tear up the stage with their unique style and authenticity. I had almost forgotten just how fond I was of this band and their alluring and well calculated sound, which goes far beyond the boundaries of mediocrity. Although not the best performance I have witnessed from them to date, I have no doubt that State Dependency will be melting faces on stages across SA very soon. Nevertheless, I could not help but sway my hair as Aiden Morris’s deep and resonating vocals were being delivered with passion while a dreadlocked Ogi Williams behind the drum kit worked up the crowd with his unfaltering energy and enthusiasm. Dylan Rogers, the bassist adds a groovy funk element by effortlessly plucking at the thick strings in minimal sequence, rounding off the set to great satisfaction.
Despite being fairly new to the gigging circuit, Watch It Burn confidently played a very tight set and was definitely a crowd pleaser that night. As a creature that prefers to revel in the underground and armed with a deep seated love for heavier, dark and obscure music, Watch it Burn isn’t exactly my poison of choice. I could still appreciate the high standard of musicianship and the fact that they are modern and catchy without the jaded words ‘core’ or ‘nu’ coming to mind. In essence, they have a Seether-like sound and convey this style with success and appeal, proving to be a popular and well supported venture. Jacques de Beer projects feeling with his vocal variation between clean and heavy, excluding this band from the acquired taste of brutal death metal to guarantee a more diverse fan base. Tim, the keyboardist, is a notably talented muso and master of his instrument, a splendor to the eye as his fingers fly over the keys with speed and precision.
The next band was clearly the favourite – just about the whole pub congregated in front of the stage with child-like enthusiasm to watch Legions Ablaze. So many sweaty bodies and very little ventilation quickly turned the stage vicinity into a steamy moshpit, which didn’t seem to deter the adamant crowd. I watched in awe from a breathable distance how the younger generation bounced and banged in unison to what has evidently been established as the flavour of preference. The performance was seamless and the favourable reaction from the crowd was clearly felt by the band and woven into the set. I have to hand it to them – Legions Ablaze is doing a great job at roping in support at shows, creating much needed exposure for the struggling metal scene and diverting the youth from the monotonous and brain dead club scene.
Moose from 11th Hour always manages to ‘bring it’ with his laidback attitude and signature yellow hoodie. They have been representing since the days before Limp Bizkit sold out, and are still going strong at being the only rap metal outfit in S.A. worth mentioning. Much respect for keeping the genre alive throughout the years in an ever changing world, still sounding fresh and being a well sought after band. Their performance was cool as always and had many heads bopping along to the beat.
Beseech the Enemy managed to summon me to the front of the stage for a last round of head-swirls with their breakdowns that were as heavy as hell. Despite my distaste for deathcore, being a done-to-death genre (excuse the pun), I kept an open mind and I did enjoy their set tremendously. They don’t conform to the usual deathcore recipe which I believe is reserved for those going through a metal phase and trying to impress their peers. Their breakdowns actually grab you by the throat with relentless execution, and my head just dropped involuntarily in dignified unison. At the risk of being tarred and feathered, I would call them ‘below the line’ deathcore with a twist of grind and a dash of extreme.
The bar has been raised and the scene is buzzing. Put on your game face, hop on for the ride and keep supporting local metal. This is but the brutal beginning of a new era for SA metal and much love to the bands that have brought many thrills to this particular metal junkie.