Metal4Africa – Winterfest `11 Review

This year’s Winterfest was another great success by the Metal4Africa team for the Cape Town scene. Upon arriving already fuelled by an excited party bus full of metal fans; amped to bang some heads. Alcohol seeping into the veins, it was straight into the action. Catching up with friends not often seen and holding beer bongs up high, the energy was rising and Imperium of Man begun preparing to take to the stage. Upon entering the dance floor; I was greeted by the welcoming site of the stage and an epic lighting show. Straight away my ears were invaded by some straight up, loud progressive death metal performed by the Imperium Of Man quintet. Having seen this band perform quite frequently, they did well to continue the legacy of a band that gets my head banging straight away. Hope to see more of this band in the future. The war has only just begun…

Returning outside; I was greeted by an ever growing crowd and an insatiable desire to party; it was time to get some beers down and prepare for what was to be an explosive performance by Bulletscript. I was immediately sucked back inside as the brutality began. Jumping into the heaving mosh pit was a sensory overload that I embraced with pumping fists and flying bodies. The energy of the performance and the onstage action was a delightful mix of orchestrated chaos. The catchy grooves and monstrous guitar riffs coming from a band full of talented musicians who have all been in the scene over the last decade; was a real treat. This is a band I will follow very closely. The energy flowing had me in a frenzy and I was keen for the next band to take to the stage. Cold Hand Chemistry, a progressive rock/metal band; which is busy with their album at the moment; was a good break from the previous band. A chance to rest the body and enjoy a cold beer whilst taking in the sights and sounds of a truly musical experience.

I headed inside to see Balyios; a melodic folk metal band; hailing all the way from Pretoria. The members with their war paint and enchanting melodies were a lot of fun. Mixed with heavy guitar riffs and solid drum beats. The crowd… judging by the sea of hair flying around; were enjoying this band as much as I was. So far Winterfest had no signs of being generic or repetitive in the bands they selected to perform. The Cape Town metal scene welcomed Ing to the stage and again I found myself flailing away in the mosh pit. A solid, powerful sound coming from this band; brought out the metal spirit in me. I thoroughly enjoyed another performance from this multi-talented bunch, a well established death metal band of bandits; who love to play with their crowd; never fearing to add a touch of controversy into the mix.

Having grown up and experienced Sacrifist; as a young Joburg metal head; I felt a wave of nostalgia blow over me; as they set up and did sound check. Using the Clint Mansell theme track from Requiem for a Dream was an epic and well thought out idea; as it set the path for what was to come. Lights… smoke… action and Sacrifist broke into full song. Mind blowing guitar riffs, technical drum beats and an entourage of vocal diversity; had Winterfest whipped into an absolute mind boggle of pleasure. Hearing songs from the past and some new ones from this incredibly well established, perfectly practiced group of South African death metal heroes; was an experience truly unforgettable. We were also subdued to a performance by Flapper; a sight for sore eyes. This band brought out a sentimentality and awe in me; these veterans will continue to fly the South African metal scenes flag on the highest of poles.

Continuing proceedings was Infanteria; a progressive thrash band. Out came the inner thrasher and a fierce head banging session went down; to mental guitar riffs and impressive solos, topped with fantastic vocals from the front man. Always a pleasure to see this band and the talent of the my stunt double; the other Chris Hall; or am I the other one? “Ha-ha!”. Wolven Decorum; an amazing black metal band were last up on stage. I`ve never been a big fan of black metal; but the technicality and tone of this band were a sight to behold and auditory invasion; in the best possible sense. Relentless drum beats and ever increasing speed from the drummer; took me by surprise and I was left at my body and minds limit by the end of a truly enjoyable set.

With the masses now finishing the last of their drinks and saying fond farewells; it was time for a spliff, a recount of the evenings events and random slurred conversations. Congratulations to the Metal4Africa team for yet another well organized event. The anticipation for Summerfest has begun.

Photography by: Chris Tazz