Gig Review: The Thrash Rises

So, I ended up making the long schlepp from Somerset West to Observatory by myself. It was worth it though! Reaching the top of ROAR’s well-trodden steps that bear scars from years of abuse by the local metalheads, I had arrived just in time to say a few hello’s before the first of the three bands billed for the evening thrashed the stage. Throughout the night, I kept on getting a feeling that I was at this super-awesome high school reunion where I got to hang out with old friends I had forgotten even existed. Friends such as Exodus, Slayer, Testament, and everyone that formed the forefront of extreme metal during my highschool years while feeling mostly at home surrounded by ‘real life’ friends from evey rank of the local metal scene. It was great to see most of the old Azrail crowd there to support a past member on his new send-off, as well as members from Cape Town thrash-bastards Ing and the ladies from Junkyard Lipstick, amidst others who had gathered at ROAR for the impending onslaught. For all intents and purposes, this gig might as well have been a school reunion – the fucking old-school reunion!

Hellucifix consists of a Joe, two Matt’s and a Greg. Joe is no stranger to the local scene, best known for his role in Azrail, who dominated the metal scene for the second half of the last decade, and his more recent fill-in for Bulletscript before making way for George Schoombee. Joe’s performance experience was not the only thing that counted in the bands favour for their debut performance, but also having Greg Nutter on drums – being a beast from ancient times, having come out of “retirement” from his former role as drummer for the legendary Cape Town act, Pothole. On guitars, the charismatic Matt Olivier (Fondly known as “Metal Matty”), although lesser known from a brief blitz of thrash from his former band Shitstorm, is well known in local circles for his party antics and vicious guitar shredding. Completing this line-up with the more than competent bass guitarist Matt Gill, and you’re left with a pretty rad thrash band, echoing the gritty glory of old-school greats from yesteryear. Despite having some very minor and forgiveable glitches, Hellucifix thundered off to a great start by performing mostly their own tracks and a thunderous tribute to Black Sabbath with their rendition of “War Pigs”.

Hot on their heels was the band responsible for the theme of the night: Sexodus! Consisting of the Hall brothers, Chris and Rob from Infanteria, along with Tim Leibbrandt from A Walk With the Wicked, and Jarrod Firmani and Arno Van Zyl from The Broken Result. Sexodus was formed for the one and only purpose of paying tribute to the mighty Exodus, and so they did! Despite ROAR having not been filled quite to capacity, the place was filled with as much debauchery as one would imagine it would be during the set. Bodies flew, circle pits spun out of control, and there was even an attempt at a wall of death which the size of the venue made next to impossible – but an attempt nonetheless. I was most impressed to see even the ladies dominating the mosh pit, one in particular was taking no kak! All in all, Sexodus kicked arse. It has been great to see talented and respected musicians from the underground scene banding together in order to pay tribute and just have a blast, and doing it well.

Closing off the night was Marching Dead who delivered a wicked tribute to none other than SLAYER! (Which must always be written in capital letters.) Anybody who has seen Marching Dead before will need not be told to expect only the tightest performances known to Cape Town metal, and anybody who has yet to see them; what are you waiting for? It was fantastic to have all the most memorable SLAYER anthems belted out not only live, but by a band who could do them the justice that few others could. Led by Igor Crous, this quartet of the (un)dead wrapped up a killer thrash gig and had us all marching off to bed wondering what condition our necks would be in for the rest of the weekend.

I hope to see more themed/tribute shows like this from time to time. It takes bands and people who we are already familiar with and casts them in a completely different light, breaking away from the mundane pattern of gigs we’ve all become so used to, and it tests the skills and boundaries of our local musicians. I’m proud to see that so many of our musicians are up to the task!