Summerfest ’11 – A Festival Review in Three Acts

On the 29th of January 2011, Metal4Africa’s annual Summerfest descended on Stellenbosch once again! Featuring 7 killer bands from the Cape Town surrounds and a touring band from Jo’Burg, Summerfest ’11 raised the flag for South African metal once again and held it high in the face of the more commericalized, student revelry happening just over the road! Three fans give their account of the event below.

Ike Morkel

Half a year down the line, a different season and a pulsating Stellenbosch set the scene for this year’s Metal4Africa Summerfest. The day was a scorcher, yet devoted metal heads headed en masse to witness their favourite local practitioners of ‘the Devil’s music’.

On arrival, after rushing frantically to meet the 17h00 start of the first band, I excitedly entered the venue. Surrounded by the steadily building hordes of black clad metal warriors, draped proudly in the colours of their chosen sub-genre, I was met with the sounds of an african stampede as Suiderbees launched their assault on the crowd. The battle-cry was sounded and the festival had begun. Spiked and chained revellers pitted themselves against one another in the moshpit to the gutteral war-cries, pounding double bass drums and shredding guitars of the Beast from the South.

Metal4Africa Summerfest '11
After an awesome performance, the masses once again turned to face their next onslaught in the form of the pink-panted lead singer of Wings of Aggression.
The hordes were blindsided by this band of cleverly disguised, guitar-wielding jocks. From those unbeknownst came a pounding of steel chords and racy, yet throaty rock-metalcore. If they did not impress themselves on the masses musically, their outfits surely drove itself deep into the memory of those pitted before them.

Returning to the lair, an orc-like creature from the wastelands of Jozi mocked the audience in a vivid display of the eerie world of Black Metal. With ominous screeching tones, Erebus proceeded to spurn the beasts from the pit, raising more than a few demons among the enraptured spectators. Overall, a stunning display of what the darkest depths of South Africa can produce!

Erebus @ Metal4Africa Summerfest '11
Wayne Smith

I unfortunately missed out on the first two bands, but managed to catch Regicide. I haven’t seen them before and was pretty impressed with their take on symphonic metal.

Throatball? You don’t know what to think of them at first, but then you get caught up in the fun of the whole thing. Mixing metal, punk, ska and whatever else together with some interesting lyrics, you can’t help but love it. It’s a pity that it was their last performance.

Throatball @ Metal4Africa Summerfest '11
You have got to love the showmanship of Stellitius. From being blessed by their anti-pope, to the crunching sounds of “Gladiator” and “Viking”, the all important mosh pit and plenty raised horns, their show was kick-ass. I barely escaped being imapaled by a flying drumstick at the end of their show.

Pieter Roodt

Near the end of Stellitius‘ set, the band gave away a Jackson guitar. The guitar was up for grabs through a lucky draw that anyone could enter for free, earlier during the day. They pulled the names out of a hat/container and it went to one lucky audience member!

Stellitius @ Metal4Africa Summerfest '11
The night came to an end on an extremely high note as the headliners of the festival took to the stage. The show itself was exactly what you would come to expect from Strident and Metal4Africa. Strident is no stranger to large crowds and delivered their usual high-energy show. Their particular blend of power metal and extremely catchy song writing connected very strongly with the crowd, as it has always done. Thanks to the organisers, the sound quality was brilliant and you could hear all the instruments and vocals perfectly well.

Earlier in the week, Strident had released their debut music video based on the song “Power Metal From Space”. Their Facebook presence was all a buzz with the new release and the excitement was still felt at the Metal4Africa stage by both the band and the fans. In spirit of the newly released video, Deon (vocals and lead guitar) asked the crowd to sing the catch-phrase “Power Metal From Space”. They did so and to the band’s great surprise continued singing the entire chorus with full force! Every word rang out perfectly clear and it was obvious that the majority of the people in attendance knew the words. You could clearly see the shock on the band’s faces as they didn’t see that coming at all. Being one of the proud First Order Knights of Strident, this was definitely the highlight of the show for me.

Metal4Africa Summerfest '11
The next surprise came from the band’s side. They played two brand new songs that night, “From the Ashes” and “Enter the Labyrinth”. Both songs were very fast paced, “From the Ashes” had a splash of thrash whereas “Enter the Labyrinth” was a long power metal epic that reminds one of the scale of Blind Guardian‘s “And Then There was Silence” with lots of twists and turns switching from hard and fast riffs to soft ballad like parts. Both songs were excellently performed and are allegedly still being worked on, so it will be interesting to see how they will develop by the next gig.

At the end of their set the crowd was so hyped up that there was roaring applause and there were chants for more. Unfortunately no matter how hard they shouted, the band wasn’t allowed to play more and despite that minor let down, Metal4Africa Summerfest closed off with a roaring high. Every year the Metal4Africa festivals manage to out-do the previous ones. If this trend continues then I absolutely cannot wait for the next festival!

Thank you to Ike, Wayne and Pieter, respectively for their opinion of the event! See you all at Winterfest ’11!

Photographs used with permission: Joanna Sobieszczanska
Album 1
Album 2
Album 3