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Fokofpolisiekar

Two Misses, One Win

by Andrei van Wyk / Images by Paris Brummer / 20.09.2011

I’ve never seen Cool runnings filled with this much passion. It’s like I’ve entered a utopian parallel universe where beer flows in moderation while conversations are absent of profanity and the reckless aggression which plagues the South African live music fanbase. It feels like the whole of Boksburg is here. The air is heavy with expectation which breathes life into lungs of the ageing anarchists and naïve scumrockers alike. The cigarette in my hand slowly turns into a useless stump, pillaged of its contents by the breeze. The bar is full of people having meaningful conversations on the rim of their beer bottles. The lights dim as the music blasting from the speakers from an iPod playlist slowly fades all eyes shift towards the stage.

Fokofpolisiekar

With an interesting name, Knave cause me to ask why South African bands insist on drawing influences from the nu-metal sounds of the 1990s? Their guitar riffs have a predictable chugging, mixed with palm-muted riffs which are reminiscent of Swedish melodic death metal band In Flames and vintage, albeit less skilled, Slayer. Over the past few years metal seems to have grown in complexity the further micro-niche-ing of niches, and I ask myself, why do bands hold onto this pathetic, repetitive beefcake rock of yesterday? Knave is just one example of the pretentious and overplayed “hardcore” rock that has been regurgitated over the years with little in the way of innovation. South African metal bands like Facing the Gallows and The Dead Will Tell are just as guilty of scrounging in the excrement of overseas artists for their sound, searching for that elusive nugget of referenced-originality that their audiences will eat up. But the fact remains, South African metal fans don’t care about the originality or complexity and just seem to want the repetitive, hard hitting growl music to shake their heads violently up and down to. That raw emotion, no matter how derivative, is what most SA metal fans look for.

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

From one 90’s influenced band to another, Voodoo Child take the stage with an infectious swagger in the loose limbs of lead singer Lebo. I look up from the side of the stage and watch their lazy but entertaining set. I’m starting to wonder if the 90s were the most influential era in rock music. In the South African rock scene, that seems to ring true. The mixture of genres such as funk and hip hop have become important in the progression. Voodoo Child’s guitars slide with a twangy distortion which coats the thumping bass. They move around stage with a calmness that makes what they do come naturally. The crowd seem to slightly confused as to why they’re on the bill, crammed between the far heavier Knave and Fokof, but are entertained nonetheless. Their expectations of rough hard edged rock have been replaced by an acceptance of slick beat driven funk. The mood on stage has shifted from abrasive to glossy. But Voodoo Child’s performance lacks the energy needed to actually spark something more than simple humming and vague hip swivelling in this crowd.

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar is a band that has come to mean a lot to young South African kids. Many have ruminated on their influence on the direction of South African rock. With their first EP, As Jy Met Vuur Speel, they blew the lid off a malcontent generation of young suburban Afrikaans youth. As they grew, and slung out albums they challenged a host of verkrampt social norms and gave contemporary Afrikaans culture a good shake. In a way it was a revolution built on the strength of their songwriting. Simple verses and choruses and driving rock riffs. I just wish there was more debate over the songs, rather than if the band is still together. Walking around in between the performances one question bounces from group to group: “Hey! What’s up with the line up? I hear Hunter and Snake aren’t here!”. With half the band missing I begin to realize, tonight’s headliner is actually Van Coke Kartel covering Fokofpolisiekar songs. The bar is abandoned as everyone piles in to watch what’s left of the band. Fokof burst on stage after an almost non-existent setup. The crowd begins to run in circles and violently grab onto Francois. His energy is magnificent. He moves like Henry Rollins on tik, jumping into the crowd with a vicious release, as every lyric moving from his lips is given meaning by his whole being. Wynand stalks the stage with menace. He stands over the crowd, letting his sweat mix with the blood flowing from the noses of the kids in the mosh. The guitars surge as the hard hitting drums force the message of liberation and disdain for authority through the air.

As the last note drifts away through a drone of feedback I look around and watch as the limp post-coital crowd wipe sweat from their foreheads. The air is heavy. In the parking lot all the cars are blasting Fokofpolisiekar and I think, two misses and one win.

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

Fokofpolisiekar, Knave, Voodoo Child

*All images © Paris Brummer.

11   11
RESPONSES (62)
  1. Barry Bonds says:

    Cool photos.

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  2. autocorrect says:

    “I here Hunter and Snake aren’t here” > Hear?

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  3. Anon says:

    fuck what a bunch of faggots once again you prove why people in the industry fucking hate you guys instead of supporting you just fucking nag like a little school boy bitch fucking mahala faggots

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  4. Warren says:

    Very one sided pathetic article in my view.

    Seems everyone can write something about bands lately..

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  5. Fourth says:

    *Runnings.

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  6. Anon says:

    lol journo’s that cant spell amazing

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  7. Mafoo says:

    In Flames and Slayer are Nu-Metal ? Go fuck yourselves Mahala. Hipster shit Heads! , Go write on the Walls somewhere .

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Mahala… Dont send people with uninformed opinions on a subject to form opinions.
    Even Knave themselves wouldn’t call their sound metal. They should know, Louis runs the MK Ondergrond programe. See? Someone who knows their stuff, sharing their opinions in a field where they are informed.
    And whats with the beef with FTG and TDWT? Your author doesn’t know enough on the subject to give them labels. It’s a pretty funny situation, how Mahala keeps trying to take shots at themand call them out, and the bands themselves dont bother responding. Makes your side look kinda immature. I think it’s basic failed musician jealousy. And not cause these bands are at the height of success, but cause they acttually know how to play their instruments, unlike 85% of this countries musicians.

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  9. Jim says:

    HAHA Knave sounds like In Flames??? HAHA mahala sucks nuts

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I know you sit there in glee rubbing your hands as these expdected hate comments flow in, feeling like we’re all playing into your game of getting hits through controversery (cause, as we’ve established, the mahala medium lacks indepth engaging content and have to take the lazy route to maintain interest) – but really, i know you consider it a genre / market that is dispensible, you’re just leaving bad impressions and leaving people scratching their head at your blatant and apparent apathetic displays of ignorance.
    Apparently an opinion you’re content to let people have, and be enforced, every time you try this angle and fail.
    This little underground is a lot more influential than you’d realise. But keep it up.

    PS: what the FUCK are you promoting on the side there? Maggot entertainment? I almost feel like you’re doing so as a comment as well. You missed the boat on that one too. ‘Maggot Entertainment’ is not an accurate reflection of the scene, and yet you seem to insist that this stereotype is exactly what the local metal scene is all about.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    PS: Can someone share with me some good, culture drenched and original sounding Australian Metal? Dijireedoos and what have you I expect? Or some of that good South American metal. You can just hear the rain forest in the blast beats. I love me that New Zealand metal: Lord of the rings and hobbits everywhere. And the chinese metal must be the best, cause you can instantly hear it’s authentic chinese sound from the first note.

    What do people want? metal is a genre, it’s already segregated, no need to break it down into geographic properties too. If thats your thing, go for it, but I dont see how Africa is expected to make Africa metal from people who couldn’t even tell the different between and American or European influence.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Additionally: what is original in the sound of a band like FPK except the fact that they sing in another language? Everything else about the sound is 100% imported and influenced.
    But sing your words in another language and you have originality jackpot sorted.
    It’s not like any of you would understand most of what a metal vocalist is saying anyway, so give it up. Or re-evluate your motivations. Try define them to the point where you actually have one, instead of selling empty cliches with a controversial edge constantly.

    If you’re ignorant, there can be nothing constructive abour your criticism.

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  13. Desperately seeking job says:

    Hey guys, can I please write reviews for Mahala in the future?
    I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to reviewing shows, I’m angry because I’m not a talented musician and like to shit sling at musicians with real talent. I won’t actually do any research about what my reviews will be about. I promise to miserable and never enjoy a show and take the hate that I have for myself, out on the bands I review.

    Thanks, I hope to hear from you soon

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  14. Metal Womble says:

    I’d love to know what the writer expects “original” South African hardcore rock and metal to sound like? Friggin’ whiny trolling dumbass.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    You should totally learn how to write a review! I mean all you seem to do is brown nose the good bands and disregard the better bands. FTG and TDWT are both more talented and better musicians than FPK, just because FPK is more accessible to the mainstream doesn’t make them better than anybody else. You sir have no talent when it comes to writing you just mouth off, start a blog rather and leave it where your “fans” can see it

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  16. Satan says:

    Another Mahala “review” where the “author” just couldn’t resist the urge to slam FTG and TDWT. How predictable.

    What is shocking is the comparison of Knave to Slayer. Have you heard Slayer? I hope Tom Araya smites you for your ignorance.

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  17. Luke says:

    i’d like to point out that after a quick facebook search and scroll down on mr reviewer man i read these two gems;

    ‘yeah true! i think the only bands getting grindy math right is rolo and the locust’

    ‘Relationship of Command – At the Drive In or The Shape of Punk to Come – Refused. I can’t decide which of the two is the greatest punk album of all time.’

    you sir, are not allowed to form opinions on music when you know absolutely fucking nothing as it is.

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  18. Andy says:

    Once again protectors of the “South African metal scene” rock up to berate us. I can’t wait to go and review FTG and TDWT for myself

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  19. Luke says:

    holy fucking shit, all these twdt and ftg fans are as bad as the reviewer. kill yo selfs.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    don’t feed the (useless) troll

    i lost 30 IQ points from reading this drivel

    give me my 5 minutes back

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Andy: Are you content selling an impression of ignorance?
    We are basic defenders of knowledge at the moment, since the gig reviewed was even a metal one. We’re doing your journos a favour by offering them education and an opportunity to see exactly how far off the mark they were.

    But really: every time you guys just look ignorant and lazy. Why are you content with leaving that impression? Surely not saying anything at all would be better?

    It’s like a metal fan strolling into some dubstep gig at Assembly and complaining about all the ‘rave’ music. In fact, it is exactly like that. So if you’re content being that guy, carry on I suppose.

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  22. Brendyn Zachary says:

    Dude, what have you accomplished with this piece? have you bettered the scene? have you made anybody besides Fokof feel better about themselves?
    The simple answer is no, you just used this medium to bitch, bitch about bands drawing influences from other bands, HELLO! Have you seen our SA Music scene, in fact have you seen the INTERNATIONAL music scene. Bands sound similar but there are differences and that’s what makes them unique. I see you never mentioned that Fokof played the same songs they’ve played a million times over and were just riding on their past hits, consistency dude, if you’re going to write a review judge everybody by the same marker or don’t write it. I’m quite sick of reading reviews on this site about how crap this or that band is, do you not have an editor?

    also… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTiQ75HY0DA this is what In Flames actually sounds like. you’re welcome

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  23. Luke says:

    my last contribution in what will probably be a shitstorm of bad breakdown proportions.

    “Or some of that good South American metal. You can just hear the rain forest in the blast beats.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_6IjeprfEs

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  24. Andy says:

    I’m just fascinated by the “metal police”. Dude expressed his opinion. FTG and TDWT are the two biggest metal acts in SA. He finds them derivative of international sounds. Are they the Parlotones of the metal world – I dunno. But it’s still his opinion and he applied his mind and laid down his 2 cents.

    I don’t see why everyone’s so offended – beyond the fact that you’re fans of FTG and TDWT.

    And before I write my piece can someone please hit me up at andy@mahala.co.za and explain the difference between all the sub genres of metal? So I can at least try… to understand

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  25. George says:

    Jesus Christ. You’re so ironic and cool it actually hurts. Fokofpolisiekar is older news than my Grandpa’s farts, they haven’t played an original note since their inception. Remember when they’re name was New World Inside and they were playing to punks in skateparks and highschools? Nope, didn’t think so. Also, metal live and metal on a cd is a completely different animal, if you’d listened to some you’d know this.

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  26. Andrei - The shit head author says:

    Well, well…
    What I expected…SA metal fans thinking they’re critics. Well guys, I’m very sorry if I offended you guys. It wasn’t my intention. But in my defense you can’t say i don’t know about metal.
    Firstly, most metal today sounds the same. So my comparison between Slayer and Knave was based, not on the technical ability, but the feeling it brings out in me and the emotions it conveys. Facing the gallows are a cheap copy of early Underoath and Bring me the horizon, while The Dead will tell just copy anything thats good at that moment. But whatever, i didn’t realize they had such amazing fans, I respect your passion guys.
    And @luke, please never stalk me on facebook, Its an insult when you say I know nothing about metal. Just because I don’t know when In Flames’ next album will come out it doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. I listen to stuff ‘The number twelve looks like you’ or Rolo Tomassi, or The Dillinger Escape Plan, which is probably the best stuff out there. But I’m really sorry, I actually really respect the fact that you are so passionate about Metal here in this country. I love it. I also love that mahala can still be controversial. Its so awesome!!!! Thank you guys for your comments (good or bad), keep them coming.

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  27. Luke says:

    “I listen to stuff ‘The number twelve looks like you’ or Rolo Tomassi, or The Dillinger Escape Plan, which is probably the best stuff out there.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HOLY FUCKING SHIT. no. you listen to absolute fucking garbage. the number 12 looks like you? that shit is absolutely fucking atrocious. tdep haven’t been relevant for probably 9 years you moron. keep thinking you know shit and listing bands you think are ‘good’, haven’t got much better to do today than laugh at you.

    ps. andy. i have no problem with mahala slating bands, but when you do it make sure you actually get someone who knows what they are talking about, not a 20 year old with 2006’s ‘best of kerrang’ mix cd

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Hey now Luke, with all my arguments, those are some pretty fucking good bands.
    They dont sum up the genre and form a very specific niche element of the bigger picture, but still: fucking amazing bands.

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  29. Max says:

    Luke, no offense there man, and no defense here for the article, but please can you name some bands that you consider good then? Have you heard ‘Bambi the Hooker and a case of beer’ by #12? Have you heard the first Rolo EP? Are you gonna go on to say that bands like The Locust, Heavy Heavy Low Low and other noisy/chaotic stuff is also garbage?

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  30. Chris says:

    So do you jerk of to fokof while they’re playing or just by yourself in your room after every gig?

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  31. Chris says:

    oh and very cool photo’s mister Paris Brummer! captured the emotion of the crowd very well!!! great job!!! now to just fire your journo!!!!!!

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  32. Satan says:

    Dude, you are just proving that you know nothing.

    I suppose at least I got something positive out of this, I learnt never to include your email when posting on Mahala.

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  33. Nem says:

    Judging by the photo’s it looks like it was a super shit night… It’s “rumified” that slayer and DJ lethal are hooking up at the end of the year! Can’t wait \M/

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  34. JC says:

    i think this writer was too busy having a literary wank rather than trying to write a credible review of top local talent!

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  35. YsterHart says:

    Jesus christ! Alright look, Im saying this as a metal fan, but you guys make us all look like tits when you come on like a bunch of teenagers aching with butthurt everytime someone writes a negative metal review.

    Who gives a shit? Is the music going to sound worse to you now, because these dudes dont like it? Fuck, back in my day part of the whole point of metal was not giving a shit what other people think. What, you need the cool kids to give you a thumbs up? How insecure are you about who you are?

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  36. Luke says:

    i can’t believe i have to drop band names to defend myself on mahala. mahala. but whatever. max, bands in the same vein but that blow the number 12 looks like you out of the water?

    here’s 3:

    deadguy – human pig: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPhCjKebuAg

    today is the day – my first knife: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwEQWH6jh6c

    the jesus lizard – mouth breather: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoxXKKQYJYQ

    you satisfied with my credentials?

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  37. Luke says:

    i can’t believe i have to drop band names to defend myself on mahala. mahala. but whatever. max, bands in the same vein but that blow the number 12 looks like you out of the water?

    here’s 3:

    deadguy – human pig: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPhCjKebuAg

    today is the day – my first knife: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwEQWH6jh6c

    the jesus lizard – mouth breather: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoxXKKQYJYQ

    you satisfied with my credentials?

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  38. review this says:

    Let’s see you try pick up an instrument and try be ‘orginial’

    You can barely write a review

    Quick to judge, all you mahala shit journalists.

    How about we all write a review on your ‘reviews’

    ‘This was the biggest piece of horse shit I have ever read, bad spelling, ignorant accusations.

    If you think by opinions are ok, then cool….

    Here is mine.

    Your a poes

    The end.

    Look at me I’m a reviewer now!!!

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  39. Andy says:

    so what do you all think of Voodoo Child… they got maligned too.

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  40. Lewis says:

    I just want more stuff like Spoek Mathambo. There has to be more, why waste time covering Nu Metal cast offs?

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  41. derek says:

    I can’t believe you’re falling into this guy’s trap. He got everyone all worked up over a review. A gig review out of all things. I’m a south african metal fan and I don’t believe what this guy wrote was fair but its fucking good writing. The fact that he got you to read and the fact that he got you guys so angry proves that he’s a good writer. @Andy, keep up the good work. Keeping it controversial as always.

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  42. J3DI says:

    Know your music before you slander one of the best bands in South Africa. Chop

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  43. sensual_sloth says:

    @Autocorrect – if you’re going to rip someone about spelling then you may as well KNOW how to spell. The author used the correct version of “here”.

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  44. sensual_sloth says:

    You guys are such idiots (and I don’t care what you all think either so go ahead and try hurt my feeling) … YAWN. The author has an opinion and if you don’t like it … SHAME. Geesh, you would swear that something important was said … like someone died of cancer or aids or something actually worth getting upset about??? The author knows how to write and has an opinion. I applaud! Thank the frickin pope we don’t have a bunch of sad, sorry-assed journalists who follow like sheep (like half of you music fans, I’m afraid and sad to admit). You wan’t the journo to take this off cos ‘poor little bands have been hurt’. AWESOME – why don’t you just join the ANC and fight to have the media and freedom of speech squashed. Yay for all of you … now go do something important!

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  45. Adrian says:

    All you guys lost the argument the minute you call him a poes, a fuckhead or a bad writer. Your emotions are just getting in the way of a civilised discussion.

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  46. 10x fan says:

    haha I never like to involve myself in the mudslinging comments section but I just wanted to say to “review this” that you may not like Andrei’s writing style or point of view but he has been known to pick up an instrument and has been “original” very successfully in my view. But as a metal fan you probably wouldn’t like his musical contribution either.

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  47. 10x fan says:

    oh and “Chris” why do you assume Paris is a “mister”, she aint.

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  48. RossBoss says:

    Interesting article, sweet photos.

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  49. Anonymous says:

    The writer of this article certainly got it right when he compared Knave to In Flames, as neither of them ever released anything worthwhile. The man has an opinion as do you. I have a strange suspicion that those that have commented on this reveiw as being meer bullshit are probably from the bands being mentioned. Perhaps I should keep my opinions to myself then. Only those who posses skill in the art of shred and run night time “metal” shows are allowed to comment right?

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  50. Albus Dumbledore says:

    Andy, I think the protest is that FTG and TDWT were brought into an article just to get rubbished when they weren’t playing. I’m not really defending them, I like them, if Mahala don’t then it’s not my problem. . . I’m more upset this article has been published because in all honesty it’s a heap of shit. It’s a load of crap to say bands sound the same, there’s so many bands out there that someone will dig up a band to tell you what you sound like. I’ve had people tell me Heavy Low Low, Abandon All Ships, Underoath, The Chariot, Comeback Kid, Norma Jean, Black Flag and a ton more. . . Now tell me how people telling my band sounds like each of those makes any sense at all when we don’t aspire to be exactly like any of them

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  51. Voodoo Champion says:

    Voodoo Child are an incredible band!
    I’m just highly disappointed that this writer goes on so much about 90’s music when we turned 10 in 2000.

    I don;t see why everyone is so amped on the “controversy” of Mahala’s weak reviews. Why should music reviews be controversial? Why can they not just review the show/bands and that is it?

    There is no need whatsoever to rip on bands that have nothing to do with the show. It is in extremely poor taste and a bullshit scheme to get people onto your site.

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  52. eduacted moterfucker says:

    Andrei is a flipping awesome writer and just cause you little punk fags can’t stand seeing your favourite band getting slated, dosent mean you can url abuse at the writer. ITS HIS OPINION, so you can appreaciate it, or fuck off. Don’t be like luke and stalk him on facebook and slate his bands that he thinks are rad, which they are. So tis is for luke- STOP. BEING. A. FAG and get that penis out your asshole so you can think straight and give a decent comment, POES

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  53. Satan says:

    “eduacted moterfucker “, yeah right.

    Way to come to the defense of free speech, by slating someone else’s opinion way harder than anyone else has done so far. Judging by your language and bad spelling, I’d say this “eduaction” of your was probably not quite as ‘up to scratch’ as you believe it to be.

    Well. Played.

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  54. Al says:

    Seriously guys.. This is getting ridiculous. As retarded as “eduacted moterfucker” may have said it, he has a point. But really no need to slate each other guys, we all music lovers here

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  55. How to write a shit review says:

    I think from now on, every review should include at least 2 metal band slatings just to up the site ratings.
    As for Mr “eduacted moterfucker”. It’s a different story when the bands being slated had nothing to do with the show. That’s like fucking your mom and writing about how bad your sister is in bed.

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  56. Just an observation says:

    Andrei, you need to look at yourself because you seem to be the one that’s naive to the complexities of the SA underground scene, it’s the fans that actually get it. I must tell you that there is no depth in your writing style, I’ve worked with many writers and this is probably one of the worst articles I’ve read, it comes across as immature and ignorant. I challenge you to describe accurate accounts of the events, mood and atmosphere but leave your opinion out of it, try not to judge people too much because it will come back to you. You were meant to be the voice for the people that were not there that night and you did not carry that flag well. All you’ve done is insulted the bands and their fans. To the general public this review just looks like a rant of the metal scene. If you want writing to be a career then I suggest you seriously rethink your approach to writing. Additionally I hope you know your name is now a write off to a lot of people (bands, promoters and fans alike). I’d say you should apologize for your ignorance but that would probably be like drawing blood from a stone.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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  57. Ralph Wiggum says:

    I like men!

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  60. Averatu says:

    I agree totally: most local bands rehash ideas of the 90’s, ‘Talicca, Rage, Corn, Pumpkins, Tool. Either that or they Core out.

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  62. Erick says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it
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    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

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