The South African band recently signed with American record company Sanctus Gladius. Their first EP is under their belt and now their first full-length album is under way.

Band manager and drummer Craig Palmer says that while Forfeit Thee Untrue has received support for their music internationally, local audiences haven’t quite reacted the same.

“Because of the signing, we’ve got double the amount of fans in the USA compared to South Africa, but we’re a South African band, so we kind of need to now broaden here since we’re from here,” he says.

The band isn’t planning on moving to the States though and touring there isn’t a priority either. “The States have their Christian metal bands. We’re staying here. We’ve all got jobs, we’re all family guys, so if [touring in the USA] comes up, we’ll need to make a plan. But for now, we’re going to stay here,” says Palmer.

To remedy their obscurity in South Africa, Palmer started a Facebook page to promote Christian rock music and to connect with bands that are doing the same thing. The band is also engaging with the public in more personal ways. They set up meet-and-greets outside stores where they sell their merchandise and albums and chat about the band with fans and passers-by.

Palmer, who is also the band’s lyricist, officially graduates with a Master’s degree in counselling psychology from Tuks in September. He says that this background helps him write songs, as the depth of psychology and the thinking and feeling is the same in music.

“The things I write about are very negative, so they will be deep. The same with psychology: you’re dealing with someone who needs help. Even if the song starts out negative or with something negative, let’s put a main character in the song: where are they at the beginning of the song and where are they at the end? What’s the road they travel? Do they improve and why, or do they get better and why? Was it about finding faith in God or not? Maybe someone doesn’t want that, then it’s finding faith in yourself,” says Palmer.

This idea of someone travelling a path littered with choices saw the band release a video in which lead vocalist Gideon Karsten talks about his past drug problems and suicidal thoughts. This was followed by a slideshow which featured the band’s song “Screaming in Silence” as an anti-suicide campaign video which got 1 000 views in a week on YouTube.

“I was waiting for a bit of controversy with that one. We were waiting for ‘How can you use images like this?’ and ‘How can you let people watch this?’, but it’s the truth and I think that’s why people responded so well,” says Palmer.

Forfeit Thee Untrue
Blood Soaked Splinter review

As a fresh local band, Forfeit Thee Untrue still dwells in the shadows of big international Christian metal bands. But these dark underdogs have a bright future ahead of them.

Their music comes alive with vocals from Gideon Karsen. He alternates intense roars with caressing tones to remind the listener that there’s more to listen to than the well-structured rage of the instruments.

The lyrics in all the songs carry a message that listeners can easily relate to and find relief in, even by audiences who aren’t Christians. The drumming compliments rather than dominates the songs while the guitars bring the intensity that metalheads look for.

But this EP isn’t only for hardcore headbangers. “Grace Covered Sin” brings the music to a relaxed mood while still having the dark, sinister sound one would expect from a metal band. The track includes vocals by Leanie Pienaar, adding to its diversity.

“Seven” is the song that stands out the most. The lyrics are also the most meaningful, showcasing the band’s abilities to its full extent.

If this is only a preview of what the band will bring in their full length album which is now in production, Forfeit Thee Untrue is on its way to higher places.

Rating: 8/10

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