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Interpretation of Confusion: African Metal

Updated on November 28, 2012

Last Year's Tragedy

For some years now there’s been an evolution in the Dark Continent, and it’s been the evolution of Heavy Metal. Those of you who understand the power of Metal can easily grasp the essence and excitement of a Metal scene being born. Since the beginning of Metal, this had always been basically centered in what we have all known as the center of this “movement”. Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia and North America until some twenty plus years ago when Metal emerged from South America, mainly Brazil and it was vicious, it was fast, it was loud, it was hardcore and it was good! Until this day, Metal-heads exploring for new sounds will venture off to Brazilian Metal networks to try in find the next Sepultura and let me tell you, they are there! To me the next big Death/Thrash Metal band out of Brazil can very possibly be Claustrofobia, a band out of Sao Paulo who has been playing together for some time now, very powerful and very up to date!

The reason for this hub is to try in shed some light on what has been unnoticed, and that is the growing Metal movement inside Africa. Due to obvious issues inside this continent, Metal music is probably on the bottom of the list of what is exported, the scene in South Africa has been around for some time now and although it is good to point out that there are extremely good bands who already have a following and are emerging from South Africa, there are other nations which are unlikely breeding Metal bands. The reason I say unlikely, of course, has to do with the cultural, economic and religious basis of those nations which not only shun Metal, but have in their core beliefs that this music is evil. The rise of Metal bands in these other nations can only be a good thing for an already established Metal scene in South Africa and I am sure South Africans can appreciate the Metal scene expanding within their continent.

As far as I can see from my comfy chair here in North America, the fastest growing scene is out of Kenya, I try very hard to find new music for my enjoyment and have for sure seen it come out of Kenya with the likes of “Absence of Light” and “Last Year’s Tragedy”….one thing that made me want to listen to “Last Year’s Tragedy” was their looks…the sound is powerful and the growls up to par, they get it, but they don’t look Metal at all, and that made me curious! Keep up the visual guys, very contrasting! Mozambique is closely behind Kenya, as far as I can tell, that would be due to the Portuguese language which facilitates the importation of Brazilian Metal thus expanding the Metal scene. Other countries where there’s at least one “recognized” Metal band are Algeria, Angola(which also would have Brazilian influence), Botswana, Egypt, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia and Tunisia…..also attempting to grow the Metal scene is Zimbabwe. I encourage anyone who would like to listen to something “new” to sample some of Africa’s Metal bands. Most stick to the central core of their respective sub-genres, whether Alternative Metal, Black Metal, Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Doom Metal etc etc… but you will discover some are willing to explore a bit based on their culture. It may not sound like a good idea but some of these bands actually pull off a very interesting and vicious attack to your ears while utilizing African beats! Other’s which have their background noticeably from India, introduce hints of their cultural music behind screams and growls and atomic beats….let me tell you, very refreshing because they don’t overload the songs and try to explore their native beats too much. Soulfly comes to mind, where Brazilian music was explored to sometimes “too much extent”, but it created something fresh nonetheless.

So, I encourage anyone and everyone to go after new sounds, because they are out there, and they need our support. The Metal movement in many of the countries I mentioned above is still very discriminated against, again, due to cultural and religious reasons so if you’re a Metal fan, check them out….I warn you that some are rough around the edges, but then again, nothing is perfect, I admire their strive and all of them have my support! I also want to warn you that some other bands are in prime shape to lash out and make a name for themselves, let give them all a hand….

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