Ministry of Lost Souls, Symphonic Schizophrenia, Strident - 15 August
What happens when you mix Crackle Pops and Coke?
15 August 2009 - Eye of Horus
I have to come clean and begin by admitting that it difficult for me to write a completely fair review for Symphonic Schizophrenia and Strident, because I am a giddy fan of both. To see them both perform in same night is almost overwhelming, to be the band opening for them must have been intimidating.
I’m going to try and be as fair as I can about The Ministry of Lost Souls, and I’m going to start off by saying that, impact-wise, I will go see them again. The band is solid and structured. The Dream Theatre influence is obvious from the name, and it rings reminiscent in their music – they manage to generate good, complex sound, and their guitarist is, well, insane. His hands become literal motion blurs as he shreds away in timed contrast with their ethereal rhythm – all in all, these guys give a powerful performance. Now, one stark criticism stood out for this band: I had a joke lined up about how their lead singer who dove off stage and ran around the floor in a circle in an awkwardly unsuccessful attempt at creating a mosh pit in a crowd of humans, but I don’t think I have to make one.
Read into that what you will.
If you haven’t seen either a Symphonic Schizophrenia or Strident show, go. Do yourself an oratory treat – even if you’re not a fan of their instrumental progressive genre, they offer up something completely unique – this band makes me bitter that words like “phantasmagoria” are limited to the visual spectrum, because the English language is lacking in words to describe the complexities of experimental sound in music. At some point I began to feel that it would be easier to describe their sound if I was perhaps experiencing synesthesia – I keep wanting to describe their music as something physical and motile. Unfortunately I wasn’t on drugs, and have no scapegoat for coming up with crap like that, but that’s what the music does. It’s ghostly and fills everything – the whole room becomes simultaneously animated and incapacitated by it. Bruce “Brucifer” Sonnekus does something otherworldly with that fucking guitar of his. A friend of mine screamed into my ear about three times during the show, “I want Brucifer’s dick inside me, and so do does EVERYONE in this room!” Probably, he was right.
Now, what do I need to tell you about Strident, and what should you already know? These guys bring on a great performance, and not just in a musical sense. Complete with a flag displaying their crest, their own salute, and T-shirted-wearing fans, the band propagates their own epic mythos. In the middle of their performance, they paused to knight three members of their following as official “Knights of Stridentia” – friends of the band who’ve gone beyond the call of duty to serve them in their endless quest for metal, or, whatever, carry their drums for them. They had them kneel on stage and tapped them with a blade (refraining from pointing out but not oblivious of any suggestive humour in this arrangement), and celebrated with the crowd in brutal pomp and circumstance.
And oh, what else. Their musical act has great build-up and deliverance. They have a lot of fans who know their songs, and almost everybody can sing along to “Epic Metal from Space” – they just have a great stage presence and great songs. They live up to their self-branded tag of “Pure South African Epic Power Metal” – Strident is an anthem to a what could shape up to a pioneer movement, and I really wanna see these guys get exposure beyond borders.
Now, I’ve tried to be quiet and civil and keep my views neutral, but fuck, opinions of the writer? Symphonic Schizophrenia and Strident are a near-lethal dose of Fucking Awesome for one night, and they compliment each other fantastically – it’s beer and pizza for your ears.