The first thing that strikes you is their faces. They are covered in corpse paint, their dreadlocks whip back and forth, while tattoos stretch across their arms as they jump in ankle-high black boots and All Stars. This is Demogoroth Satanum, the all-black, black metal band out of Soweto. The band is made up of five friends who have been performing together since 2009, and are about to rock Witchfest 2017, Africa’s annual metal festival which takes place in April in Johannesburg.
They will be performing alongside DevilDriver (from the US and headline act at the fest), MANTAR (Germany), and South Africa’s Award winning Zombie Ate My Girlfriend, to name a few.
Where did Demogoroth Satanum start?
The band consists of Sthe “Tyrant” on vocals, Modiba “Get Stoned Rabtroule/ Belgaroth” on drums, Thapelo “Bellicosus” on bass, Trevor “Paranoia” and Brian “Thronumgoroth” on the guitar. On the day I meet up with the band’s drummer at his home in Soweto, he is chilled, but still rocking the all-black look that the group is known for. Modiba says they started the group because him and his group members (who all live in different parts of Soweto) were into skateboarding and heavy metal music. He says they used to think the two went together, and because they all liked the same things, they started a band.
Demogoroth Satanum’s music consists of fast guitar riffs, blast beats and double bass. The music also boasts the classical heavy metal trademark of the death growl over the high tempo beats making their sound intense and energetic. They released their first demo, Flesh Viticum To A dying God in 2010. In 2012, they dropped an EP, True Black, available online on Bandcamp. They later released a single, “Kingdom Ov Hell” in 2014. They have gone on to perform with local and international artists like Bloodbeast, Maximum Carnage, Touched by Nausea, and Overthrust. They’ve landed gigs in places as far afield as Durban, Cape Town and Botswana.
Meaning behind their name and future plans
Modiba says the name was derived from a Greek mythological demon – a demogoth. But they changed it to demogoroth. Satanum is Satan with “um” to spice up the name a bit. “We are not satanic, we are not religious, we just sing about such topics because we feel religion tends to put one in a box, so that makes it easier to sing about Satan and other things,” says Modiba.
Black people used to call them satanists and devil worshippers, but white people have loved their music from the start of their careers. Black people in the townships have now become receptive to their music, and attend their shows. He says the metal culture has unity with no discrimination.
Their favourite artists are Behemoth, Warthane, Spectral Realm, and many more. They would like to share the stage with a lot of metal artists, there are just too many to pick from – at the moment they only want to collaborate with artists in the metal industry. Further adding that touring Europe is at the top of their bucket list.
From looking forward to rocking the shows lined up in 2017, working on new material, Demogoroth says metal heads should expect an album towards the end of the year.
Listen to Demogoroth Satanum’s True Black EP below and keep up with them on Facebook.