We live in a country that is teeming with corruption, inequality and sheer injustice, yet few artists or bands ever really write songs that comment on those issues. Granted, the vast majority of South African artists do adhere to pop formats when it comes to their lyrical themes and deliver songs that account for personal stories – which is perfectly normal and understandable. However, it is painstakingly obvious that there is a large gap in the market for artists that openly criticise the state of South African affairs. This is probably due to the fact that we have a rather small hardcore and punk scene – genres of music that are usually responsible for scathing social commentary.
However, the hardcore scene of South Africa is slowly on the rise again. New artists like FREExMONEY are pushing out fantastic material while promoters like NoiseFix are bringing in niche international hardcore- derivative bands to tour all over South Africa. There is one band in particular that is standing at the forefront of the hardcore movement in South Africa and that is Peasant – a band that has been steadily grafting their way up in the local industry since opening for Comeback Kid when they performed in South Africa.
They just dropped their third EP No Love with a new line-up and are setting the bar high for local hardcore with this EP. The EP adheres to traditional hardcore stereotypes with a listening time that clocks in at 14 minutes. The EP is longer than any of their previous releases which I think is a definite improvement as gives them much more room to show off their new found sound. Their previous sound was centred on being aggressive, blunt and incredibly fast-paced. No Love, on the other hand, is a lot slower in tempo, thanks to groove-laden bass riffs, but its fury is just as strong.
“Ties” opens the EP with a chugging melody and slow, lingering riffs that bristle with pent-up aggression. The song explodes into a barrage of high-tempo drumming, abrasive guitar riffs and Alain Marthezé delivering vocals laden with coarse gruffness. The kind that comes naturally for hardcore vocalists. Marthezé shows a versatile vocal style on No Love and proves that he knows how to do more than just deliver nasal pop-punk vocals for Veladraco – the other band he currently fronts. This gruff vocal style dominates the EP and ensures that Peasant still maintains their aggressive edge after shifting to the groovier and more melodic side of hardcore.
No Love is more than just a gruff hardcore album stacked full of angry guitar riffs and a lot of shouting. The EP is undercut by strong lyrical themes that lean towards criticising the state of affairs in South Africa. One of the most powerful songs is the title song which speaks towards people’s approach to poverty and more specifically – the view that many financially privileged people hold of those less fortunate than them. If Peasant continues down this path of fusing social conscious lyrics with aggressive hardcore riffs then I think the hardcore scene is definitely going to revive itself.
Stream the EP on Soundcloud and buy it on iTunes.