On My Playlist: Top 5 Riddlebreak songs

Bassist of Riddlebreak, Roushan van Niekerk.
Bassist of Riddlebreak, Roushan van Niekerk. Photo: Wouter Pienaar

A complex uniqueness of unbridled musical variety could be one way of describing the hard-hitting tunes of Riddlebreak. This six-piece group is one of South Africa’s top progressive metalcore bands with a sound that makes you sit up and take notice.
Interesting, thought-provoking lyrics, melodic riffs, crushing breakdowns and riffs and energetic passionate vocals are all thrown into the mix. This twice SA Metal Music Awards (SAMMA) award-winning band actually gives a truly apt, somewhat humorous description on their Facebook page: ‘Riddlebreak is a band that tests social constructs, whether it be society, genres, gender stereotypes, gravity or what constitutes the perfect potato salad.’
Riddlebreak consists of Jade Osner – vocals; Gareth Reed – rhythm guitar/backing vocals; Julian Vosloo – lead guitar; Gordon Bosma – drums; Laura Atkinson – violin and Roushan van Niekerk – bass.

5. Rogue
This track starts off the countdown sharply with its heaviness hitting you from the start. Jade Osner’s short, sharp, lyrical delivery complemented by the rhythmic chugging of the guitars works perfectly to create a sense of urgency: ‘Rogue, outcast. Call me what you will. Desolate, Derelict. Wandering globe of ice and dust. Abandoned, hopeless. Forced to wander time and space.’
Osner’s range of screams is also one of the highlights of this band that pushes musical levels with various tempo changes and time signatures throughout.
The guitars create a real ominous feeling after the first chorus as the instrumentals take the lead in a fantastic one-minute passage.
One can clearly establish the band’s progressive metal roots on this track with some great interchanges between distorted riffs and clean guitar picking with a number of solos thrown in, too.
Bosma’s double bass beats are also one of the track’s tastiest parts. This, in turn, gives the track great depth and showcases the unpredictability of this band.

4. Dreamer’s End
One of Riddlebreak’s great strengths as a band is how all the individual musicians forge together their unique individual talents. Central to this is the band’s time-keeper and enthusiastic drummer, Gordon Bosma, who is probably one of the most expressive drummers on the scene. In this track, his playing style works perfectly to tie the song together with some impressive rolls and fills.
Here, Vosloo’s guitar playing once again comes to the fore with some fantastic distorted lead riffs and inventive melodic clean picking. The central theme of this song is the need to free yourself from desperate thinking and realise your potential: ‘We will leave this human shell If only for a while to escape from humanity’s judging smile. In this fantasy, we are dreaming but in reality, our potential is only sleeping.’
The importance of living in the moment is emphasised here too. A great track with a superb mixture of slower and faster parts akin to the band’s style.

3. Your Faith Suffocates
The diversity of Riddlebreak’s sound can be found in this track off their EP Collapsar, with its rhythmic chugging patterns and progressive leniencies. The main riff is the glue that binds this song together and is a sure fire way to constantly keep headbanging.
Reed’s vocals work perfectly here to back up Osner’s main vocals which go really low before the unique bridge of the song.
The dissonant chords, coupled with Osner’s frenzied screams and Reed’s djent-like chugging give the song a truly eerie feel.
The lyrics also focus on how lies and deception can bring people down: ‘Why does your faith suffocate me?
The lies drip through your teeth. And through the pain of the many. You’ll bring us all to our knees.’ These real poignant lyrics point to the fact that Riddlebreak is not just about creative musicality, they put that same emotion and passion into their lyrics too.

2. Live By The Sword
This is one of my favourite songs from Riddlebreak, mainly because of the melodic, clean guitar intro from Vosloo that transports you to musical nirvana.
A usual, the band then fires things up with a speedy riff to kick the song into overdrive.
The following main riff from Reed, Vosloo and Van Niekerk is a true masterpiece that will keep you moving.
The chorus is also one of their best with a really catchy lyrical delivery from Osner: ‘It’s amazing how things have changed But the story stays the same (stays the same). Ancient kings conquer worlds Politicians play their games (play their games).
As long as there is man on Earth There will always be war (always be war). The only thing that ever changes is what we’re fighting for.’ The song has some really strong socio-political lyrics and really gets you thinking with the mentality of living and dying by the sword coming to the fore. Do you want to fight or are you instructed to do so?

1. Something Sick
There is something about the majestic beauty of a violin in any music but, in this case, it just adds an extra dimension to this metalcore song.
Vosloo’s lead guitar takes Atkinson’s opening melody further to create a brilliant, full sound as the rest of the band joins in.
This song encapsulates what Riddlebreak is about as a band, fast riffs, ferocious screams, majestic guitar playing and pummeling drumming.
Osner’s screams are on point and he uses his lows and mids perfectly to gain and grab your attention: ‘I have nothing left but apathy. You took all away from me. Blinded within light, voiceless within a scream,’ he sings to showcase the darkness of the track that focuses on dreams being taken away.
The guitar shredding on this track is also ridiculous with Reed and Vosloo shining in tandem. Definitely, the one track that will stay with you long after you hear it.

Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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