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Track By Tracks: The Medea Project - Southern Echoes (2021)

The Southern Echoes EP was a twisted creation of 2 different projects not dissimilar to the creation of the Siamese Twins in Hellraiser!

One entity was a live recording especially recorded for the Metal4Africa Summerfest 21. Having “attended” Winterfest 2020 online, we still felt a connection to the community that we basically grew up with and were keen to reconnect. The opportunity arose due to another project that we were working on and when Patrick Davidson (Founder and Curator of Metal4Africa) established that he was going to have to host Summerfest 21 as an online festival due to national lockdowns, he asked if we would be willing to contribute as our roots lay within the African metal community. Of course, we were extremely honored and at the same time worries as the UK had just gone into a hard December lockdown. However, trusty ROFL Studios in Nottingham were available and allowed us to perform the live recording session. We opted to record 4 songs off our debut album: Sisyphus, as well as a cover of Sol Invictus’ “Kneel to the Cross”. Not only would it give us a chance to showcase our album live for only the 2 nd time and the chance to reconnect with the South African metal community but also give us an opportunity to do our bit and help unite the scene on both sides of the equator.

1. Prelude:

Pauline: Still maintaining the keyboard piece from the album but replacing the gong tom with a Pow Wow drum which was visually more interesting and has more a sinister sound. Brett: We chose this as our opener as it sets the tone as to what is to come, simple, stark and bleak. The beating of a pow-wow drum with distorted electric and acoustic piano layers. Simple instruments that forbear something darker and more sinister. It’s also not a track we play live often either, so as we had the studio space to work with we decided it would be great to perform this as a bit of a rarity.

2. Babylon:

Pauline: An old favourite off the album and pretty much kept to the sound on the album. Brett: This track is both familiar and strange, heavy, driving sludge with a drag that feels like the undertow on the shoreline. Something you can bang your head to but at the same time get caught up in the eddies and undercurrents, A set staple for us, hard and heavy, an uncompromising wall of sound.

3. FEAR:

Pauline: Nice and raw in the live recording with the added bonus of being able to be visually dramatic with the gong.

Brett: Somewhat traditional doom distilled. Light and dark and an amazingly visual song live due to the use of the gong. What makes this song for us is the energy when we play it live as well as the call and answer heavy verse and light, airy chorus. An approach that sometimes can go awry but for this track it works oh so well.

4. The Desert Song:

Pauline: This would have only been the 2 nd time we’ve played this “live”. Due to the use of percussion and various guitar effects, we thought that this would make this an interesting song to feature.

Brett: Dry and dusty, organic and angular, angry biting vocal delivery with a sinuous post punk outro. Strange percussion dances alongside distorted guitar and whirling organ evoking the dry barren scenes of a spaghetti western but with so much more desolation. One of our newer songs and the 2nd time we’ve performed this in a live setting, it explodes with a snarling bite and ends melting away, just outside of reach, in an ethereal improvised outro.

5. Kneel to the Cross:

Pauline: We used to play this live many years ago but opted to redo it purely as an acoustic track whilst we were in the studio. Featuring the Pow Wow drum, rattles, shakers, and an acoustic guitar we were still able to maintain a dark and sinister feel to the song.

Brett: Acoustic guitar, voice and percussion. Taking music back to it’s more primitive elements, with feet stamping on wood we decided to re-interpret a classic Sol Invictus track in a raw, almost primal way. This song really showcases Pauline’s creativity with percussive elements.

Southern Echoes - Tales from the South African Underground Podcast and Videocast

The second entity was originally a different project that was supposed to have been an approximate 10-minute chat about the South African scene. However, as we have been in the UK for the last 10 years, we felt it would be appropriate and fair if we set up a discussion with people still involved in the South African metal community. We contacted some of the people that we were still connected to and after what felt like herding cats, we managed to arrange 2 virtual chat sessions where we delved into the background of the South African metal scene to how it has changed and to what it is like now. Due to video quality issues on the 2 nd chat, we opted to make it audio only and release it with the EP download as a pod- cast type discussion. The 1 st session has been turned into a video cast series which will be aired on our YouTube channel shortly.

AUDIO CHAT guests:

Dr D, Phil and Alec - Chaos Doctrine: Unholy Death/Thrash from Johannesburg

Kevin Rule - The Metalist ZA Webzine and guitarist at With Dawn from Cape Town
John Morrow - Independent Reviewer from Kwazulu-Natal

Ralph Margo - Drummer extraordinaire (played with many many bands!) from the Eastern Cape

VIDEO CHAT guests:

Patrick Davidson - Founder of Metal4Africa, guitarist for Mind Assault: (Thrash/Melodic Death) from Cape Town

Reegan Du Buisson – Vocalist at Facing The Gallows: Metalcore from Johannesburg

John Morrow – Independent Reviewer from Kwazulu-Natal

Carlos Sanches – Vocalist at Deadline: Old skool heavy metal from Johannesburg

Louis du Pisani – Vocalist at The Drift and Curator of Weird Boner festival from Johannesburg

Both entities were then twisted together under The Southern Echoes name which depicts the live recording sessions taken from the Sisyphus album and the sounds of the South African Metal Community. Packaged under the artwork of Gary Ronaldson (which included a portion the original artwork for Sisyphus done by Frederik Widigs) and is now available for free download from our Bandcamp page with an option to donate to Animal Asia as homage to Tony from Sol Invictus for allowing us to include “Kneel to the Cross” on the release.

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