This past Saturday as the scorching sun enveloped the urban sprawl in a blanket of searing heat mighty man of mettle and magnitude, BurgStudio figurehead France The Planet and I traversed the concrete jungle in our quest to reach Loftus Stadium in Pretoria where RAMfest 2023 was due to transpire.

As we set foot within the vast confines of the stadium Man As Machine were in the midst of igniting the festivities with their patented blend of ballsy boogey-Rock.

Following on from Man As Machine were Acid Magus, who delivered one of my favourite performances of the day as they set the Ramfest stage ablaze with a volcanic confluence of celestial melodies, sumptuous riffs, plate shifting rhythms and soaring vocals. Their heady brew of surging, Stoner-Doom infused Psych-Rock is equal parts Kyuss, Goatsnake and Fu-Manchu, which they delivered with panache.

Hot on the heels of Human Nebula, The Fallen Prophets laid siege to the Emalyth stage with a blistering set of Brutal Death Metal that had the crowd stomping and banging their heads in a state of ravenous glee, yours truly included. If not evident in the preceding paragraph The Fallen Prophets were another band that were responsible for one of my favourite performances of the day. I am a Brutal Death Metal aficionado and was enraptured by the sonic maelstrom these Cape Town based miscreants conjured forth.

Unfortunately due to technical issues scheduling was thrown somewhat off kilter. Due to this the sets of both Worsie Van Wyk and Middle Grounds, the former on the Ramfest stage and the latter on the Emalyth stage overlapped. Worsie Van Wyk delivered a tongue-in-cheek form of Nu-Metal Afrikanerdom that was the epitome of fun,the type delivered with ferocious vocals and fierce riffs.

Whether it was due to sound problems or otherwise I found the set played by Middle Grounds to be lacking. They drew quite a mammoth crowd yet unleashed what can only be deemed an underwhelming platter of petulant Downtempo Metalcore.

The Tazers were another highlight of the day for me. Their scrumptious, syrupy and scintillating Fuzz-Rock had me and the rest of the crowd bouncing about with abandon as we shimmied to their body shaking grooves and gluey melodies. Consummate performers, these fine feathered fellows displayed their wares with whimsy and wildfire as night held sway over Ramfest.

Lest we forget Straatligkinders and Shadowclub who both belted out their respective tunes with heft and swagger.

Sunken State were responsible for laying down a devastating swath of deadly Deathcore that was simultaneously sleek yet savage, gentle yet jarring. The flailing bodies that flattened the grounds during their set being testament to the turbulent power of these amazing musicians.

As the skies darkened and the inexorable march of time continued onward Facing The Gallows held court on the Emalyth stage with an explosive display of energetic Metallic Hardcore that was delivered with energy and commanding presence. I was smitten like a kitten by the skull cracking bludgeon that ensued during the entirety of their smouldering set.

Famed German band The Ocean Collective rendered all and sundry subordinate to their lilting, ethereal and majestic Prog-Metal wanderlust. These humble musicians brought forth a vast froth of nuanced theatrics that was equal parts Russian Circles, Tool, Mouth Of The Architect and Minsk.

Jack Parrow did his usual squawking obnoxious Clap-trap Rap which, as is always the case, amounted to being strangely off putting and alluring at the same time; alas the former takes precedence over the latter for the most part. Thing is I am a Hip Hop fan yet I find its best when the pretense is not unlike quicksand.

Enter Shikari brought Ramfest 2023 to a close with their overly saccharine, strobe-light spattered Emo-Pop shenanigans.

All in all Ramfest 2023 was a fun and effervescent experience in which the flames of local music and music from beyond were fanned upon a bedrock of camaraderie, kinship and distortion!

I offer forth my immense thanks and appreciation to the organizers and bands that made this event possible. I was honoured to attend RAMfest 2023 and partake in what, for the most part, amounted to being a fun, sociable and fulfilling experience.

-Asher Locketz-

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