Though we have come across and covered a few encounters from within the South African rock and metal music scene it is not one that we can say we know a great deal about here but with thanks to our friend David Devo Oosthuizen we are quickly and enjoyably learning much more. Devo has been empowering South African artists and labels for over 20 years, founding the DEVOGRAPHIC MUSIC AGENCY, and since meeting him we have come to realise that if he points you the way of something you go with keen curiosity. Recently he sent over a host of new singles to check out and in turn we have a handful we feel you should also go explore…
With a sound forged in the classic seeding of thrash and heavy metal, Pretoria hailing DEADLINE has, since emerging in 2014, risen to become one of South African metal’s favourite sons. Dubbing their sound the “New Wave of South African Heavy Metal”, the band now release My Sweet Apocalypse, their new single and a potent teaser for their forthcoming third album, Vitriol Inc.
With 6 South African Metal Music Awards under their belts, DEADLINE has undergone a line-up change since returning from the restraints of the Covid pandemic, the band coming to a new solid line-up of guitarist Judge Mental, bassist Damian Dread, and percussionist/ back up vocalist Wrighteous Mike alongside remaining band founding members in guitarist The Skullprit and frontman Jessy Switchblade. As proven by My Sweet Apocalypse, the band embraces the nostalgic origins of heavy metal but with a bent to draw in other genres and flavours, it comes with openly fresh individuality.
The track initially erupts in a controlled tempest of melodic and sonic wiring before relaxing into a calm reflection of melody and dark intimation. Jessy’s tones are soon opening the narrative and anxieties of being trapped in any aspect of obsession and addiction, exploring the agony and ecstasy through a mysterious Lilith type of figure.
It is a tale as much developed and shared in the sounds and creative enterprise of the band as the lyrical exploration, together a vehicle of suggestion and drama proving compelling across its mercurial, darkly lit and captivating landscape. It is also a track potently backed by a drama rich video, an emotive cinematic interpretation adding another shadow and depth to the song.
Similarly drawing on thrash for their particular sound is TRUTH DECAYED, a South African band with a new album of its own on the near horizon. The band preview upcoming Faded Visions II with their March 17th released single, Death By Design, a predacious and prowling slice of metal with its own web of expansive flavours.
Based in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Ryno Theron, guitarist Warren Jones, drummer Daniel Philogene and bassist Renz Kruger, TRUTH DECAYED weave a sound which, within Death By Design, initially comes over as a calm menace but soon uncages its tempestuous nature with surging riffs and rapier incessant rhythms. Similarly, Theron’s throat grazing roar is a trespass but one urging greater involvement just as the track’s thrash nurtured nagging.
It all aligns, as the track grows, to a melodic eddy of guitar vining and dexterous agility; all the while the song revealing new and greater depths in its character and enterprise yet it still remains a song stalking ears, the imagination and an appetite to explore the second part of TRUTH DECAYED’S Kris Xenopoulos (VULVODYNIA) produced Faded Visions adventure.
JACKSON COLT is described as “the essence of 80’s Rock reimagined”, and if you need any proof than check out their new single, Strangers. It is an anthemic flame of old school rock offered with a fresh and impassioned breath, the kind of track to get fist and adrenaline pumping
Hailing from Gauteng, Johannesburg, vocalist/guitarist Jackson Colt draws on the inspirations of bands such as GUNS N’ ROSES, DEF LEPPARD and VAN HALEN for his invention and indeed Eddie Van Halen for his guitar style. From the song’s first breath you can sense such influences but Strangers, with bassist Dean Gerber, drummer Matthew Safi and guitarist Piet Snyman alongside Colt, finds and proves its own individual character and roar.
The song bursts into view like a sparring fighter, its pugilistic jabs soon leading to a part trespass all virulent stroll which is only escalated in its chorus. Equally, the melodic flames within Strangers draw ears just as potently as Colt’s sonic dexterity. It all makes for a highly appetising and memorable encounter around the poetic theme of Twin Flames, two souls who are destined to be together and spend their lives searching for each other without knowing. It is also a track which we expect, come its March 24threlease, that is sure to bring new and broader set attention the way of the band.
Though we really try not to, there are times we make assumptions about artists just by their name; CINDY-LOUISE is one example. Before a note was heard we expected that her new single, Can’t Own Me would be a slice of sugar sharing pop but within a breath we were firmly scolded. The song is a piece of soulful rock with a snarl to its emotion and impassioned energy in its craft; the kind of introduction which can breed the richest attention.
South African born and Netherlands based, CINDY-LOUISE emerged in 2019 and has been featured in South African magazines such as HUISGENOOT and NEWS24 as well as stations like JACARANDA FM. That support has sprung from a host of singles which have garnered multiple thousands of streams headed by tracks such as Butterfly and Make it Out Here Alive. Funnily, that genre misconception we had was not exactly miles off the mark in a way as when checking out her early songs, they emerged as pop embracing propositions with a soft rock inclination. More so though, her sound revealed a real strength of individuality and songwriting craft, one getting richer in both as her sound evolves.
2023 sees CINDY-LOUISE focus on the rock aspect of her invention and with a truly striking position in Can’t Own Me. The song instantly winds around ears with a guitar vine as her vocals beckon; the pull of both soon joining a magnetic canter of rhythm and sound which breaks as CINDY-LOUISE’S opens up her captivating tones and emotive heart. Continually springing pleasure entrapping hooks around great rhythmic nagging, the track cast a spell on ears and appetite, her voice like that of a high-priestess in defiance and self-assurance.
Virulently infectious and esuriently captivating, Can’t Own Me is a glorious way to introduce yourselves to CINDY-LOUISE come its release on March 24th; a song which we suggest just might become one of your favourites of the year.
Another track which just might be up there in your ratings too is Everything Is Black, the new track from Johannesburg blues rock singer-songwriter ROSS HARDING. The song is the lead moment of a three track maxi-single and again a proposition which sucked us right in with its roar and craft.
Renowned for being part of blues rock band BLACK HARBOUR BLUES and fronting South African rock super group FEAR OF FALLING, Harding has been earning eager plaudits for his solo releases too. January 2022 saw the release of debut EP Rest & Resurrection via Mongrel Records with its successor CHAPTER II unveiled the following November, both courting keen praise. The latter is where we came across him, again courtesy of Devo, and fair to say we found an eager appetite for his blending of classic hard rock, grunge and blues rock.
Everything Is Black again relishes that mix and, as its predecessors, roars with true individuality whilst bearing its inspirations of familiar styles. Straight away it stands tall and bold in ears, gathering its lures before breaking into a forceful stroll led by Harding’s fiery guitar prowess and similarly alluring vocals. The blaze of the song continues to sear the senses and burn bright upon the imagination, the dark edges of rhythms a compelling contrast drawing a similarly irresistible involvement.
If that was not enough, Everything Is Black alone proving an unstoppably addictive proposal, the single comes with a great sonically flaming live cover of the BLACK SABBATH classic War Pigs as well as Dark City Blues’ (Live Version) for a package we suggest all blues and rousing rock lovers gather around on its March 31st uncaging.
https://www.facebook.com/DeadlineHMC https://www.instagram.com/deadlinemetal/ https://www.youtube.com/@deadlinehmc
https://www.facebook.com/truthdecayed https://www.instagram.com/truth_decayed/ https://www.devographic.com/truth-decayed https://truthdecayed.bandcamp.com
Pete RingMaster 15/03/2023
Copyright RingMaster Review
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