Looking in a medical textbook will tell you the following: Vulvodynia is a chronic, severe vaginal pain with no identifiable cause. While the severe part is dead on, what a medical textbook won’t tell you is that Vulvodynia is also the pioneer in what is rapidly becoming South Africa’s most eviscerating export: slamming brutal death metal.
With lobotomizing, lurid riffs, skin-shredding blast beats and slams gruesome and filthy enough to induce septic shock, Vulvodynia are a lethal plague, spreading throughout the flesh of today’s heavy music scene—infecting one set of ears at a time, and leaving no survivors.
This band which consists of Duncan Bentley (on vocals and bong rips), Kris Xenopolous (a guitar shred master who also plays the sitar), Luke Haarhoff (a guitarist that wears mosh shorts), Greg Van Kerkhof (on bass – he also plays for Red Helen), Thomas Hughes (on drums and blast beats) and Byron Dunwoody (some sort of studio guy who makes memes as well) has been around since 2014. The majority of the members hail from Cape Town, but there also blokes from Johannesburg and Durban in the band.
Vulvodynia are playing at Krank’d Up Festival this weekend (on Saturday at Sundowners in Alberton) and I had the honor of chatting to them about this festival and a few other things. This is what they had to say:
For the average music listener, you guys are pretty heavy. How would you explain your sound to those unfamiliar with Slamming Brutal Death Metal?
The extreme end of the underground music spectrum? If you say super underground people get stoked. Groovy brutality. Trash can snares / Boiling Water vocals / Swamp like guitars / Clang bass.
How many bands are you currently in and how many energy drinks do you have before each show? (I asked Thomas this question)
I’m in all the bands! Hahaha. I think around 3 or 4 at the moment, bands that gig anyway. I’m just lucky enough to have lots of amazing friends who are incredible musicians. Don’t usually do energy drinks. Most of the bands I jam with ask me to slow down so Vulvodynia is just right!! Will probably drink 10 Monsters before the set at Krank’d up though.
There is some amazing guitar work on your latest album, , what guitars do you guys use and how do you make them sound like wailing screams of an epic she-demon?
We used a Schecter BlackJack 7 string guitar for a fair amount of the album. Equipped with Seymour Duncan JB7s. Due to us being in different cities we ended up using a few guitars for the recording and sending them around as DI input raws. We got our tones re-amped by Phil Pluskota of Sonic Assualt studios in the USA. They were re-amped with a EVH 5150 and Pro Tone Dead Horse Overdrive pedal. Tuned to drop A and there we have some heavy sounding guitars.
Has anyone ever sued you guys for melting their faces?
Hopefully someone will one day.
What was your best live experience?
Deathfest. It was an absolute honor to play alongside bands such as Suffocation, Whitechapel and many others! To receive shout-outs from them on stage, see them wearing our merch, and have them want to talk to us after their shows was really unbelievable!
We were also offered such amazing opportunities while we were hanging backstage with the other bands and we are dying to break the news to you all! Playing to such a large crowd was an insane experience in itself! It is rather crazy to be treated so well over there, and we definitely can’t wait to be back! The people, the atmosphere and the music is just on another level in Europe- especially in Germany!
What time is your Krank’d Up slot and what can fans look forward to?
Catch us on the 30th of September at Krank’d Up Music Festival 2017 on the Monster Energy Main Stage at 6 PM. Fans can expect to see us bring our non-standard standard of brutality and heavy. We expect the crowd to bring the mosh as they usually do
After kicking ass at Krank’d Up, what other shows have you guys got planned?
There is a ton of exciting stuff in the pipeline. Unfortunately we can’t say anything right now, but we will let you all know soon enough pals.
I’d like to thank Vulvodynia for this interview and I wish them all of the best with their set at Krank’d Up Festival.
If you’re not familiar with their music, crank up their song “Unparalleled Insubordination” below:
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Business, leadership and career consultant, coach and columnist.