1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Awakening”

A Long Way Home – No Friends Of Harry

One Came Running - No Friends Of Harry

One Came Running – No Friends Of Harry

If, like me, you spent your teenage years listening to Barney Simon’s Powerhaus on a Saturday afternoon/evening, you were probably doing a double take when Barney introduced us to a local band called No Friends Of Harry and the song ‘Long way back Home’. It was not that were not used to Gothic music as Barney had already educated us in that, playing the likes of Sisters Of Mercy, Fields Of The Nephelim and such like.

But this? This was a local band. British Goth bands were acceptable, but wasn’t there too much sunlight in South Africa for Goths to exists here? Well exist they did and they were doing a darn good job of being Goths. No Friends of Harry were the stand out band for the genre in SA. There were some others that had potential like The Gathering, but NFOH were the ones with the staying power.

‘A Long Way Home’ has a menacing bassline that starts the song off and doesn’t relent until the last black drop of the songs has been squeezed through your speakers. It is kept company along the way by some rusty edged guitars. And no Goth song would be complete without some dark and brooding vocals which Rob McLennan supplies with aplomb.

No Friends Of Harry paved the way for the likes of Ashton Nyte and his band The Awakening, but they were the originals, the Gothfathers of the genre in South Africa and ‘A Long Way Back Home’ will always be amongst the songs one reaches for if you are looking to go over to the dark side in sunny South Africa.

Where to find it:
The Present Has Passed: The Best Of No Friends Of Harry (2003), Fresh Music FRESHCD129

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Martyr – Awakening

The Fountain - Awakening

The Fountain – Awakening

The Awakening, fronted by the enigmatic Ashton Nyte, took the work that No Friends Of Harry had done in establishing a Gothic base in South Africa, and took it to new levels. Incorporating elements of industrial dance music (which No Friends Of Harry did not have at their disposal), and featuring an ever changing line up, The Awakening have blazed a fire of black flames across the country since 1995.

Taken from their 2001 offering ‘The Fountain’, ‘Martyr’ climbed to number 5 on the SA Rockdigest charts and led the way for 3 more top 20 hits in that chart. It seems a little redundant to call a Goth song dark, but this one is full to the brim of all the necessary components of a good Goth track. It has the arcing, portentous orchestral sounds, a steady rock beat and some screaming guitars thrown in now and again for good measure. But at its black heart it has the back of the throat growling vocals that force themselves out of dark lipsticked lips, like a mutant child not wanting to be born.

Ashton has perfected the Andrew Eldritch (the King of Goth who fronted the Sisters of Mercy), yowl. He can do that evil-voice, emotive gravelly growl, but can also soar to the peaks, creating sonic darklands for one to hurtle over in a fighter jet made from a long black coat. ‘Martyr’ is more than a song, it is a journey into the unsettling, it is a going over to the aural dark side.

Where to find it:
The Fountain – Awakening (2001), Intervention Arts, INT016

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