Have you taken your vitamins? Well, if you have not, then it’s time for metalheads and alternative rock lovers to get a good dose of Urban Vitamin.
The Pretoria-based band that started its journey in 2008 has recently released a new album, Ekphrasis and the SA metal scene is expecting big things from this unique group that fuses metal, alternative metal and electronics into one brilliant, musical masterpiece. The band consists of Cobus Nigrini – vocals, guitars; Rick de Villiers – drums, vocals; Cicero Carstens – bass; Ricky Cunningham – drums and Neville Botha – guitars, electronica.
Honourable mentions: ‘Girls’, ‘Contagion’ and so on.
5. Hate For First Things
The absolute fury of this song is what firstly springs to mind as Nigrini screams his lungs out into the microphone which is complemented by an aggressive riff from Botha and pounding drums from Cunningham. The slower part of the verse is also magnificently done and makes this band really unique with different pacings, riffs and odd time signatures. The drum work in the bridge is also brilliantly constructed as the song really builds beautifully to a stunning conclusion. You truly feel transported into different intricate levels of the song. A great song to kick off their album Ekphrasis.
4. Ghost-note Arcade
This song will surely be one of the best songs to hear on Urban Vitamin’s live set with the guitar riff-laden intro that is an absolute sonic pleasure to the ears. Just when you think the song is ready to get into overdrive, it slows down in the first verse with some soothing vocals from Nigrini. In a swift instant, the song then moves into hardcore metal territory with aggressive and emotional vocals complemented by Nigrini unique screaming vocal style that reminds one of bands such as Norma Jean and the Devil Wears Prada.
The guitar riff is one of the great foundations of this song and, in combination with the drums and bass, takes the song forward to a great atmospheric interlude that harks back to something that a band such as Northlane would put into their music. A great layered song that will have you headbanging in no time.
3. A Bloodless Ballet
The whispered intro followed by hard-hitting vocals are something that has to be heard. The intellectual lyrics are fully on display in the verse of this track while the drums add an extra dimension. The combination of soft and clean vocals with distorted guitars really makes this track stand out.
The intensity and desperation can be intimately heard in Nigrini’s vocals. This band truly knows how to put together songs that make you feel all kinds of emotions in the space of more or less three minutes. Breakneck speed, to say the least.
The song that is featured on the band\’s 2013 EP, Agent Provocateur, opens up with a memorable distorted and belligerent guitar riff that will stick in your head before Nigrini’s vocals keep wailing in your head as he hits some unique notes. The screams in the chorus are also brilliantly executed before the song makes a big leap and transition into a psychedelic electronic part to give the song that extra bit of dimension and uniqueness – something that Urban Vitamin is known for. The lyrics ‘We’re getting closer. I know this feeling, I know the quiver that goes before the quaking’ are unique lyrics in SA music and set the slower pace brilliantly in the bridge before the song ends with a bang.
1. Metemphychose, slow
The intriguing title is enough to get you to listen to this absolute banger of a track that starts off in sixth gear from the start as Nigrini’s screams pulsate through your earphones. The guitar riff and mini breakdown after the first verse are also a great pace changer as the entire band comes to the party. There are no solid rules in Urban Vitamin’s music and this song is great proof of the insanity both musically and lyrically as different elements and tempos really puts this song on another level.
The production on this song is also fantastic and my favourite lyrics in this song, ‘Too bad we never learnt from our dreams. What we lacked.
How many times will I dream of a shore where my body is hollow, where tides have no pull and my will has no weight?’ must be given special credit.