Thursday, June 19, 2014

Terminatryx: 'Shadow' A New Breed of South African Metal

Add Cape Town, South Africa to the growing list of places that have bands that are much better and cooler than anything coming from the US. Although, it would seem that Cape Town has had an outbreak of wannabe American rap and hip hop, (we are sorry about that by the way!) which Terminatryx formed to counteract. And, it would seem that they have done just that. While most hip hop "artists" come and go, Terminatryx has been around for more than a decade, with 2 self produced studio albums that sound like they had lots of money funding its production. To say that Terminatryx has been busy would be a serious understatement.

In a nutshell, let me run off a list of this band's accomplishments: They made a DVD of the classic Nosferatu film, with their music as the soundtrack. They created the South African Horrorfest, a horror movie festival. The following year, they headlined their festival. They have played a festival in Germany, and not to mention countless shows in South Africa. They were the first African band to be played on European metal TV shows. The list goes on and on. But, we're here to talk about their album, Shadow.

Terminatryx are: 
Sonja Ruppersberg on vocals
Paul Blom on bass
Patrick Davidson on guitar
Ronnie Belcher on drums

Paul Blom also plays guitar in the studio, keyboards, backing vocals, and with Sonja is the bands founder and prominent song writer. 

Shadow is a very well balanced blend of melodic and industrial heavy metal. You are hooked from the first track, Metropolis, which is a very intense instrumental. In fact, I honestly haven't heard such an intense instrumental intro since Anarchy X by Queensryche. It grabs you and holds you. In fact as I listened to it, I envisioned hearing this to open a concert. The songs are very well crafted, and there is no shortage of talent on display. Some of the songs would fit well in a horror movie soundtrack, which is something that has influenced them from the start. 

The title track, Shadow is a very creepy sounding ballad with very haunting backup vocal harmonies. Written about the darkness that resides in all of us, this song could easily be the source of a nightmare or two. Definitely a very memorable song due to the simple yet driven and powerful guitar lines, combined with the vocal harmonies I just mentioned. Perfect choice for the title track! And, the video is pretty scary too. (Watch it below)

Masjien (track 5means 'Machine' in the Afrikaans language. It is a very appropriate title for an industrial metal song. It is also sung completely in that language, while the rest of the songs are in English. I love the vocal inflections that Ruppersberg uses in it. Throughout the album, the listener is treated to the combination of talented heavy metal musicians, combined with the intricacies of melodic and progressive metal, laced with industrial metal. Personally, I've never heard the three genres so well woven together. Topped off with the haunting voice of Sonja Ruppersberg, you can't go wrong here.

Singer, Sonja Ruppersberg is a very good singer, with a very versatile voice. She can go from a very dark sneer of a low range, on display in Holy to an explosive scream, into the soft and ethereal. I don't like to drop names, but I think I will here because this is a unique comparison. In some songs, her vocal technique reminds me of Geddy Lee. They lady can sing. Guitarist, Patrick Davidson has a very unique guitar style that is evident in his solos throughout Shadow.

Bassist and composer, Paul Blom is a gifted musician. Very good guitarist, and his keyboard arrangements on the album keep all the songs fresh and exciting to listen to..loudly. He and drummer, Ronnie Belcher make up a solid rhythm section that makes this band stand out apart from other industrial bands. Also, Ronnie proves to the world that you don't need a 50,000 piece drum kit to be a great drummer. He does quite a good job on his 4 piece, pictured here.

Terminatryx is doing everything right, and I am looking forward to seeing them in concert some day in the US. Maybe they along with the other bands not from the US who are very good that I have reviewed on this blog can all get together and put do a festival tour in the US. It could be called the 'This is how you ROCK!' tour. We can hope, right?

In the meantime, here is the official video for Shadow:

Here is their website. Buy Shadow on BandcampTerminatryx social media: Facebook Twitter
Also, on July 8, check them out on the Will and Thunder Show

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