Nairobi’s Heavy Metal outfit “Straight Line Connection” will officially launch their debut album today at the Treehouse in Westlands. We are on the brink of strange times this being only the second full length heavy metal record from the Kenyan scene since the debut of Nelecc’s A Thousand Suns. While that may seem odd considering the age of this local scene, it is a evidence perhaps of a new era of maturity.
Straight Line Connection are one of the younger bands that plays a peculiar mix of heavy metal but one which globally is all too familiar. It prices itself heavily on the genres traditional roots with odes to bands such as Tool, Metallica with samplings of System of a Down. I watched them for the very first time during the premiere Nairobi Metal Festival at The Alchemist Pub in Westlands in 2017 where they played alongside Uganda’s Vale of Amonition the Italian Slander and French outfit In Other Climes. They emerged as a trio of Gun on vocals and guitar, with Param on drums and Kaleli on bass who has since been replaced by Reuben.
Theirs was the opening set and dare I say they were heavy. That sort of complement for a band is surely music to the ears in the ears of local fans of the genre. It is partly because of the fact that some of the scenes originators were keen on establishing. Playing loud, fast and heavy was the mantra that would even permeate into bands with less of an atypical sound like Murfy’s fLaw and Crystal Axis.
But perhaps that reasoning is informed mostly by the demands of the genre and the thirst for its consumption. Deep down we all just want a good headbang and an unerring mosh-pit to toe. Straight Line Connection with their peculiar mix of heavy metal.
They are known to give those in heavy unadulterated doses exemplified in their performance in Fight and Reconcile. The video is shot by Shiv Mandavia who himself put his stamp on the music scene with blackened Death Metal outfit Absence of Light.
You can expect more of the same today especially given the venue. They are bound to enjoy themselves especially considering certain aspects of the venue which to say the least bespeaks the utopian values of the genre. Inside there lies a large raised stage with ample space for the sounds to fill and one which I’m sure the bands will enjoy. The washrooms are a sight for sore eyes especially for those with a penchant for taking pictures in such places. Outside it bears even more tokens to the lover of the arts, with a large unused parking ramp which is a dream to hangout at.
The launch however might hide – albeit graciously – much of the struggle that predates the production of the release. I say this because bands face their strongest challenges to their survival at this time. Rauf Sultan who I played with in the Seeds of Datura once remarked to us that it was at this time when we would be truly tested as to our resolve in staying together as a band. It means staying on course and making sure everyone is working on the project getting done. Some members may not be as committed and this is where your relationships as not just band members but as friends and partners in one enterprise will be judged. This is where things literally fall apart. It is a battle of wills and sometimes the disputes may run deep and in those depths things may emerge that may either doom the project or give it wings to soar. Previously this phenomenon has plagued bands with a majority succumbing as easy targets and fair game ending up swallowed by this leviathan into obscurity. As a result the release of full length heavy metal albums have remained a mirage until only recently. While the nature of a full length album is a thing that might be up for debate, there’s no such thing as too many full length releases. It means more content and in Straight Line Connections case, quality content.
And with the launch of this album we can continue to hope that this country will open up as a destination for music tourism. Local bands will benefit from the experience as will the audience that will develop a greater hunger for this sort of entertainment that is path physical as it is spiritual therapy.
Read our reviews here of the album “Spaceless” by Straight Line Connection.
Watch them live today at The TreeHouse Westlands supported by Dj Edygrim and Crystal Axis.