Again it has been proved that chance meetings lead to good things; via a friend from Switzerland I met the Wacken Band Battle winners from South Africa backstage at this year's Wacken festival. I missed their gig, but the kind young men handed me a memory stick with their self-released debut full-length, 'Isolated Existence'. It's taken me long while to actually sit down and listen to it properly, I admit that, and, hey, I kind of regret that I didn't do this before.
The South Africans have put together an album which is indeed listenworthy. The intro to the title track is a prewarning of a band which knows its traditional heavy metal, a gloomy and beautiful instrumental piece. This leads into a furiously fast thrash piece, and from there on leading into a diverse and varied thrash metal song with lots of breaks and time changes, also introducing synths. 'Isolated Existence' is overall a very diverse package with a ton of wonderful details and references, at times more than anything progressive with a Savatage touch, at other times you can clearly hear how this band is influenced by Slayer. The song which keeps surprising me every time I listen to this album is Let Death Decide, which has a fantastic oriental intro and shitloads of other exciting elements crammed into it. Well, to speak the truth, there are so many cool elements and riffs crammed into this album that less talented and eventive musicians could base 20 albums on the ideas you're faced with when listening to 'Isolated Existence'.
I have to warn you that Chris Hall isn't the best singer the world has seen. It's a minor flaw, and you kind of get used to his voice, but a better vocal performance would definitely put this band on the international agenda right away.
Give this one a go - these metal brothers from Cape Town have spawned a great album here.