SAMMA 2017 ceremony event review

SAMMA 2017 Riddlebreak winnings
Riddlebreak shows off a picture of it’s takings on the evening.

This past Saturday saw Johannesburg celebrating the best of the best of South African Metal in style. This year marks the fourth return of the South African Metal Music Awards, and the organiser really pulled out the stops to make this a truly glamourous occasion, with the crème de la crème of the industry seated at tables adorned in black and silver, and waiters circling, ensuring that everybody was treated like royalty. Rumours Rock City has never looked so beautiful.

As more guests arrived, dressed to the nines, people were treated to an in-depth talk hosted by‘s own Patrick Davidson, offering an expansive view on marketing and brand management in the metal music industry.

After a very enlightening talk, Deadline, one of South Africa’s most exciting upcoming metal bands, took the stage. The overall hotness of this band is enough to melt even the sturdiest of pants, while the extreme energy they push into their performance is infectious. I can only believe this may be what people felt when witnessing Iron Maiden for the first time so many years ago. The raw talent of each and every member was somewhat enchanting. As a special SAMMA treat to the audience, the band welcomed on stage Tim Botes, (known as the bass master of Psordid), who joined them in a final song that left no hair un-disheveled.

Heidi De Villiers of KONTRAST presenting one of the awards

Once the crowd had settled to a quiet roar, the first string of awards were announced. Best Metal Album was handed to Deity’s Muse for Convergence; Best Metal Single went to Raptorbaby for ‘The Group’; Best Metal EP made it’s way to Riddlebreak for Collapsar, and; Best Music Video awarded to newcomers Last One Alive for ‘Kiss The Ground’. Each band took to the stage to accept in humble awesomeness, with members for Last One Alive having traveled all the way up from Cape Town, once again proving themselves as some of the finest South Africa has to offer.

Maximum Carnage hit the stage, taking the whole evening to the next level. It is incredibly difficult trying to be elegant while Maximum Carnage rip it up on stage. With my hair now suitably destroyed, the next leg of awards were announced, naming Krank’Up 2016 as Best Metal Event; Deadline as Best Metal Newcomer; Boargazm as Best Live Act, and; Juggernaught as Best Alternative Metal Band.

Displeased Disfigurement were next to take to the stage, destroying what was left of anyone’s formal appearance. This band really has a way of making even the quietest of us want to break necks and go crazy, drawing the night towards a pinnacle of brutality.

SAMMA 2017 group shot at media wall
Metalheads getting into the spirit of the SAMMA: image courtesy of Schutte

The final awards were spread nationally, with three bands having to send regards from afar not being able to be present in person. Awards went to: DevilSpeak from Cape Town for Best Thrash Metal Band; Theatre Runs Red from Durban for Best Black Metal Band, and; Zombies Ate My Girlfriend from Cape Town for Best Core Metal Band, while Best Death Metal Band went to Bleeding Spawn who delivered a truly metal acceptance speech, and Best Progressive Metal Band went to local legends Raptorbaby.

Ending the night’s live entertainment in the most ultimate of high notes was Adorned in Ash, with Robyn Ferguson still confusing grown men as her elegant, adorable visage breaks apart into the most brutal, gut-wrenching growls. The exquisite bass tracks laid down by Marinus Terblanche were picked up beautifully by new bassist Colin Deacon at his debut performance with the band, reassuring fans that Adorned in Ash will continue to bring the pain.

Adorned in Ash: image courtesy of Schutte at The Metalist

An unexpected prize was also awarded by means of a peer vote, to Riddlebreak, as most loved by musician peers, and the prize could not have gone to a more deserving band.

This year’s SAMMAs saw the best nominees listed yet. A huge congratulations to all nominees, and especially to the organiser and MC’s. SA Metal is definitely becoming a force to be reckoned with and, personally, I cannot wait to see what is in store for the next year!