Most people won’t think of African countries when they think of metal music. Yet the much overlooked genre has many fans across the continent and numbers are growing slowly but steadily. Documentaries like “Terra Pesada,” which looks into the youth of Mozambique’s heavy metal scene, and “Death Metal Angola,” a similar examination into Angolan death metal are some of the few that show a glimpse into African fans of the genre. Similarly, there’s Vice’s photo essay on the cowboy metalheads of Botswana.
These four metal bands are part of the hidden world of African metal music and are a great introduction into the genre.
Before interest in African metal music rose thanks to documentaries and articles, D-FE was making what they called “zwinx metal,” metal mixed with ancestral African vibes. Also “tropical metal” or “afro-core,” D-FE was formed in 1997 but split up in 2008. There is little information available about D-FE outside the fact that they are based in France and draw influences from Cameroon and the Caribbean.
Formed in 2010, Overthrust is an award winning death metal group from Botswana. Featured in the Vice article, Overthrust sing aggressively against church culture and dirty, deeds such as corruption in their home country. They also host a festival, Overthrust Winter Mania, to celebrate and promote African rock and metal metal music.
Café Negro is a pop rock band from Angola. The band released their first album, “A Safra,” in April 2012. Like bands from other African countries, Café Negro melds rock rhythms with traditional Angolan sounds. This is best noticed in “Kilapanga do Órfão,” which utilized kilapanga from northern Angola.
Skinflint is another band from Botswana. The three-man band is the first African heavy metal band to release on vinyl. Their album, “Gauna,” is based on the belief that if you touch a dead person, a being called Guana will come and take your soul. Most of their lyrics draws from the mythology and folklore of their country.
Rock and metal music are popular in countries such as Botswana and Angola, will we see the genre gain followers in countries like Nigeria? Share your thoughts in the comments section or on Twitter @rafeeeeta