Politically, South Africa straddles the lines between third world country and second world country. There’s developments and mild progress but there’s also extreme poverty leading to high crime rates.

As a born and bred South African, I find myself caught between both worlds. I’ve considered immigration plenty of times and have taken action towards leaving the Motherland more than once. When my visa period runs out somewhere in Europe or Australia, I return home. And without fail, every time I walk through passport control at the South African border – there’s a smiling boisterous security guard waiting to greet you with, “Welcome home, nana!”. Upon hearing this, I melt into a puddle because no place around the world is as good as home.

For some (including myself), that’s how we describe heavy metal.

I still can’t put into adjectives how heavy metal makes me feel. All I can say is it’s like a homecoming and, 9 out of 10 times, I want to tell everybody about my family of metalheads – young, old, wayward, goth and academic. Every year that family grows; there’s recent talent, reformed bands, new stage-hands, and the list goes on. And every three years, we get to see some of our family members play on an international stage. Not just any international stage, but the mecca of them all – Wacken Open Air in Germany.

Check out the Wacken Open Air 2019 official trailer video. Going to be a gnarly year!

So far, South Africa boasts four international participants at Wacken Open Air with Infanteria (2013), Red Helen (2014), Zombies Ate My Girlfriend (2016), and Megalodon (2017). This year, we have a chance to do it all over again! With the 2019 regional heats completed, the big local battle will take place on Saturday, 27 April 2019 at Rumours Rock City in Johannesburg where the band representing South Africa will be chosen.

Organiser, Sashquita Northey says, “We’ve had some incredible support from the local metalheads this year. Each and every city has been warm and welcoming, and it’s been an incredible experiences getting to see some new talent. We’re looking forward to a an epic final at Rumours Rock City – see you there!”

The bands in the final battle that ready to rumble include:

Bleeding Spawn: “The Wacken battles has been so cool so far! To all, stay sick, stay spawn … we are the virus and we’re coming for you at the finals.”

Facing The Gallows: “The experience has been intense so far! From playing first during our Heat and now the waiting game… also not knowing what time we will be playing at the Final on the 27th April at Rumours Rock City. But we’re ready for this. We haven’t felt this strong and focused in a long time. We hope there’s no venue left once we’re finished.”

Human Nebula: “We’re super excited for the final. We are extremely grateful to the fans and judges that saw potential in us during our first heat, which was our second time ever performing live. And we are more prepared now to make sure the support and opportunity we’ve been given does not go to waste, and look forward to sharing the stage once again with South Africa’s finest. Regardless of who goes through, we believe in our community’s decision to send the band most deserving, and we are mostly looking forward to crushing some tunes for the best crowd on Earth this coming final.”

Details and bands included in the upcoming South African Metal Battle finals.

Forsaking Fate: “The Wacken metal battle SA experience has been incredible for us thus far. We competed in heat four and all the bands definitely brought their A game. With us being from East London, we really didn’t expect to win, so we were thrilled with the outcome. We cannot wait to compete against the other finalists and bring some Eastern Cape fire to the finals.”

KOI: “It’s really an honour to make it through to the final for Wacken battle SA! We are super excited to give it our all on the 27 April, such amazing bands that we will be sharing the stage with! Hopefully we make it to Germany, but either way we are humbled to have made it this far.”

Riddlebreak: “We’re so honoured to have gotten to this point, it is heart-breaking that more of SA’s incredibly talented bands don’t all get to go. That being said, either way it goes we know confidently that we’ll be sending one of our best to the Holy Land of Heavy Metal.”

Your Cynical Sanity: “We’re stoked to be a part of this! Proud to represent Durban and we’re POES amped to get back up on that Rumours stage!”

Thread Of Omen: “We had such a blast performing our new material to an eager crowd and the feedback was so positive and the energy was amazing. We are super thankful that we get to represent Cape Town with The Fallen Prophets In JHB along with some kick ass bands. We are hungry for this one.”

The Fallen Prophets: “The Wacken metal battle South Africa is a tough competition. The bar was set high by Zombies Ate My Girlfriend winning the entire competition. I think every band feels the pressure and will do their best to make South Africa proud. The finals are going to be an awesome experience as it is our first time. Looking forward to the challenge.”

Which family members are going to take the crowning victory and (hopefully!) bring back the metal crown to our Motherland? Watch this space…

Check out the latest “The Worst Is Yet To Come” video from previous SA winner, Zombies Ate My Girlfriend.