Various Artists – Fangs: Volume 2
Release Date: 25/09/2020
Running Time 71:41
Review by Chris Galea
Unfailingly ubiquitous and adaptable, Metal always finds a way to reach every part of the planet, but some areas’ contributions tend to get overlooked. “Fangs: Volume 2” is an attempt to address that transgression by shining some light on a few Metal bands from Africa. Most of the bands in this sampler are from South Africa (which is where its label, Mongrel Records, is based) but there are also tracks from the opposite extremity of the continent.
Here’s a quick rundown of the album’s contents…
Facing The Gallows is a Hardcore band from South Africa and ‘Small Hands’ sounds furious if a tad unimaginative.
Papang are from Réunion, a small volcanic island in the Indian Ocean. I didn’t quite like the singing style and guitar solos in ‘My Engine Burns’ but the track contains some great Stoner Metal riffs.
Dividing The Element are a Nu Metal band from Zimbabwe. The band’s track has Limp Bizkit written all over it. Some hand percussion sounds give the song a nice touch. Despite straining my ears, I couldn’t understand the lyrics – then I discovered that Dividing The Element sing in a native Shona language.
Next are Ill System, from South Africa, who keep the Nu Metal vibes flowing but in a creative and original way.
We remain in South Africa with the next track, ‘Shadow Beast’ from Monstroid. I’m hearing some catchy Fuzz in the footsteps of Kyuss and Fireball Ministry. Decent stuff.
State Dependency, from South Africa, ply a sort of generic Groove Metal with occasional atmospheric spells.
Albinobeach are an instrumental band from South Africa…the band provides the music and as a listener you let your mind provide the lyrics. Groovy, sometimes psychedelic, ‘Jugga’ hovers back and forth between Progressive and Alternative Rock.
Vielikan seem to have their own brand of Black Metal. The vocals sound intense and the band says they’re inspired by Russian and Slavic folklore, which is odd coming from a band based in Tunisia.
Next door to Tunisia at the Northernmost regions of Africa is Algeria, which is where Lelahell are from. Lelahell was the only band in this compilation whose existence I was already aware of. The band plays classic and brutal Death Metal. A technical, well-recorded and incisive track.
It’s back to South Africa with Demogoroth Satanum, whose Black Metal sounds raw and chaotic with weak riffs often overshadowing the vocals and other instruments.
We remain in South Africa next with Ethyl Ether and there‘s a significant difference in style. Is this Psychedelic Blues, Stoner Rock or Alternative Rock? I’m undecided where to pigeon-hole this music but the band calls their style Agro-Pop so Agro-Pop it is. To be honest it’s not something I’d usually be caught listening to, but all instruments are well-played and the songwriting is pretty decent too.
Vulvodynia, from South Africa, play a Death Metal that is brutal, filthy and visceral. Apparently ‘vulvodynia’ is a chronic, severe vaginal pain with no identifiable cause. Charming.
Kishi are from Angola…a Portuguese-speaking country on the South West coast of Africa. The band describe themselves as Stoner Rock but what I’m actually hearing is a soul-crushing atmospheric Doom Death. I sense that Kishi really seem to grasp the essence of Doom.
Rounding off this sampler are Scarab and with a moniker like that the band can only come from Egypt. It’s hard to compartmentalise the band’s music but Dimmu Borgir comparisons probably wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Dramatic, intense and epic Death Metal with great guitar melodies and a very professional sound.
I know that Metal in the African continent is much richer and more diverse than this compilation might suggest. Nevertheless, “Fangs…” provides a useful insight for Metal communities beyond Africa. So, Kudos to Mongrel Records for putting it out.
My overall impressions are that some bands seem intent on doing what standards require but need to inject more freshness into the music. Others have interesting ideas but haven’t yet developed them well. A couple of bands are already on their way to greatness. Of course, it’s hard to be objective by listening to just 1 track. So, head over to the bands’ sites, check out anything that has piqued your fancy and make up your own minds. Links are provided.
“Fangs Volume 2” official sampler promo:
01. Facing The Gallows – Small Hands
02. Papang – My Engine Burns
03. Dividing The Element – Pakaipa
04. Ill System – Ego Check
05. Monstroid – Shadow Beast
06. State Dependency – Bridges
07. Albinobeach – Jugga
08. Vielikan – God(s), Love And Life
09. Lelahell – Adam The First
10. Demogoroth Satanum – The Apostate
11. Ethyl Ether – Ode
12. Vulvodynia – Anthropophagus
13. Kishi – Kianda
14. Scarab – Coffin Texts
FACING THE GALLOWS:
DIVIDING THE ELEMENT:
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.