SLAYER Guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, Passes Away

At the Age of 49

NIGHTWISH To Perform In Beirut

At Byblos Film Festival

Interview With Hadi Sarieddine

From Benevolent.

Interview With KAREEM CHEHAYEB

(VOICE OF THE SOUL)

LARS ULRICH Offers Update

On METALLICA's Next Album

EPICA To Perform At DUBAI ROCK FEST 2013

June 7th

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INTERVIEW WITH FRANTIC AMBER



A while ago, the Swedish band Frantic Amber was interviewed by our new contributor Fonda!

A little background on the band first: Back in 2008, an all-female band was established in Sweden, having the musical approach of melodic death metal. Through the course of time and some band member changes, they currently have a male drummer to complete the band. They had played in a lot of shows such as the Wacken Metal battle, Swedish Rock Festival, Grindhouse, Carpe Noctem, and so on!

Fonda: Hails Frantic Amber!

Frantic Amber: Hello Fonda and Metality readers!

Did winning several awards open doors for new opportunities for Frantic Amber? What did you do to celebrate it? 

Yes definitely. One thing leads to another as they say! We got to play on bigger stages and got our name out and about. The celebration itself is being on stage for example when got picked to play at P3 Guld Awards, Sweden Rock Festival and when we won Wacken Metal Battle and got to play at the Wacken Festival.

I know that you have shared the stage with a lot of great musicians. But, can you tell me a specific band in which Frantic Amber actually felt honored playing with them on the same festival or event? (I am picturing you squealing like a crazy fan deep inside when you saw the band). You can answer individually.

Elizabeth: Behemoth! I’m a huge fan of them and feel so honoured to have performed on the same stage as them.
Mio: Mother's Finest at Sweden Rock Festival 2015. Met them at the same hotel we were staying at and got a picture with the singer.

Who are some of the artist or musicians you want to collaborate with?

Mio: Devin Townsend would be awesome to work with, and also Peter Tägtgren.

Elizabeth: I would absolutely love to put together a huge production where we collaborate with professional ballet dancers on the stage and a symphony orchestra playing along with the band in the orchestra pit. I would then want to do both vocals and be dancing.

Since you all came from different ethnic backgrounds, ever thought of writing songs in Swedish, Danish, Japanese or Colombian Spanish?

Elizabeth: I mainly write lyrics in English since it’s always been my natural choice of language for expressing myself lyrically. I’ve been actively writing lyrics since I was 15 years old and have accumulated a lot pieces, mostly in English and some in Swedish, Danish, and German. But for Frantic Amber, English is our language since we want to communicate with our audience worldwide.

In making your music videos, do you also input your ideas depending on the content of your songs?

The video that has the most lyrical influences is Ghost. We were recording in an old broken-down mansion without electricity so we filled the entire room with candles. In the side story we were all portrayed as ghosts. The lyrics are an abstract depiction of wandering through the darkness, to feel invisible and insignificant but at the same time frustrated and angry. Truths are revealed from the core and forces in the darkness represents the subconsciousness tearing at it.
Our other videos were mostly based on cool ideas and don’t have ties to the lyrics specifically.

Do you believe that there’s an advantage by being a female in the metal scene? And have you ever experienced any sexism?

When we first started and released an EP and the video for Wrath of Judgement we were met by a lot of mixed feedback. It was either love or hate. The haters were brutal and sprinkled with sexism, but we chose to focus on the good. It’s become better with time and it feels like the metal scene is getting more used to female metal musicians.
It’s fun and exciting to show people that we can deliver both brutality and melody just as good as any metal band with all-male members. It’s important to focus on the music and not on gender. We just do what we love and salute the fact that more women are finding their way to the stage.

Mac, being the man in the group, if there’s an actual catfight between the lovely women, are you the type of referee who stops the boxing match or, the one who says ‘Round 2! Fight!’ hehehe?

Mac: I would probably be smart enough not to get in between.

Ever thought touring outside Europe like US, Asia or even places in the Middle East like Dubai?
We would of course love to travel far and wide to tour and hope to find serious bookers all over the world that wants to bring us there.

Elizabeth, you used to be a ballerina. Have you tried incorporating some of those ballerina moves with hard rock/metal music? Would you mind sharing with us a video if you actually did that already?

Elizabeth: Yes, I’ve definitely thought about it a lot, but never recorded anything...yet. I probably will someday and I’ll share it with you all on YouTube!

Mary, you love Math and Physics.. 8989 / 6 = ? (No calculator please! Just kidding). So I presume you like sci-fi movies? Ever thought of being a professor or scientist before?

Mary: I started studying a Technical Physics program at college and wanted to specialize in math, but my life turned into a different direction, and the music got a whole other meaning to me. Recently, I picked up my studies again but changed program to Computer Science and plan to finish my Bachelor's in a little bit over a year or so.

Mio, which type of motorcycle do you have? Since when have you started learning martial arts? You grew up in Sweden, but can you speak Japanese?

Mio: I have a Suzuki DR650 and a KTM 525 Desert Walking with extra big tank. Both bikes are good for driving day-trips on gravel roads.
I have practised Karate (Goju-ryu) and Kung Fu (Choy lee fut), but because the band and work take a lot of time, I unfortunately do not have the time to continue.
I was only 4 years old when my family moved to Sweden, and there were not many Japanese people around to maintain the language. So, I understand Japanese at the level of a small child, but find it harder to speak.

Madeleine, you are into video games like me. Have you been to Comic Con? Are you able to play on piano the full soundtrack of Mass Effect?

Madeline: Yes, I don't play as much nowadays but when I do I enjoy playing games such as Diablo or Mass Effect. I haven't been to Comic Con, but I have been to only a smaller one in Sweden. It would be very fun to go the really big conventions abroad.
I only play the keyboard sometimes at home and teach myself through YouTube videos, so I'm not there yet, but maybe someday I will be able to play the whole thing.

Mac, you are into science, wildlife and history, so do you enjoy travelling to places that have historical monuments, literature, and the like? Name a place that you enjoyed visiting. And oh, what’s your famous recipe?
Yes, I love traveling in general, especially if it gives me a new experience. Angkor Wat was an awesome place to visit.
Funny, I hardly ever cook by recipe! I am more like a MacGyver of the kitchen: I improvise a lot!

Now let’s play a game. Describe another band member in one word and say why you used that word.

Elizabeth describing Mary: A great leader and a strong person. She sets high goals and achieves them with passion and drive.
Mary describing Mio: Strong-minded and dedicated to everything she does. Perfect skills both musically and in organizing.
Mio describing Madeleine: A bit shy. Committed, hardworking, always tries to do her best, and open-minded to develop herself and her playing.
Madeleine describing Mac: Calm and collected. He has a very positive and relaxed view on life and shares his positive energy with others.
Mac describing Elizabeth: Positive. Always the happy, cheerful Lizzy, spreading her happiness all around!

Thank you once again for this opportunity! We do hope to see Frantic Amber in this part of the world soon!

Further band contact:
info@franticamber.com | www.franticamber.com | www.facebook.com/franticamber | www.youtube.com/user/franticamberofficial

GRIEVER - SOUL SEARCHER [REVIEW]


Album name: Soul Searcher
Band: Griever
Label: Independent
Release date: May 27, 2016
Reviewer: ThatDisgruntledDude (Metality contributor)

Soul Searcher’ is a 6 track EP by Griever, a 5-piece metalcore band hailing from England. Their sophomore effort combines machine gun staccato riffing, elaborate solos and the usual fare of clean and guttural vocals that you’d expect from a metalcore record.

Soul Searcher is a well-constructed blend of old school melodeath metal and modern metalcore, and 10 seconds into the EP, and you know that these guys grew up listening to In Flames, As I Lay Dying, Soilwork and the like. The music is stellar, and everything flows together seamlessly (a little too seamless for my taste, but I guess that’s the industry norm nowadays.) The production is top notch, the musicianship is virtuosic, the hooks stick; in fact, everything is executed close to near-perfection. But I still think that this record is mediocre at best.

Why the harsh words? What’s my gripe with this band?

Everything about this EP should tick all the right boxes. I really enjoy the songs, and I can definitely groove to them, but what I love and what is also Soul Searcher's biggest crutch is that they wear their influences a little too evidently on their sleeve. You’re able to pick out and identify the various bands that have been thrown into the mix when coming up with these songs. Imitation may be a form of flattery to an artist, but how long can you sustain that before you bring in your own true offering?

Obtaining a sound that defines you isn’t easy when you’ve got giant sized shoes to fill, but the world has so many copycats that it’s almost indiscernible and nigh impossible to tell apart most bands nowadays.

Unless you’re a Gojira or a Converge, odds are that you’re going to be overlooked. If, and it’s a big hypothetical IF, Soul Searcher was to be released somewhere in the early 2000’s, these guys would have been up there with those bands, and definitely a big league player.

But this is 2016. The metalcore era has come and gone, and while many bands such as Killswitch Engage and Unearth are still around, not much has been done to break the mold. Everything about Griever tells me that these guys have what it takes to be the next big thing out there, and that they have everything that it takes to take the metal scene by storm, but they’re still a long way off, and it’s not going to be easy carving their own niche.

Here’s to hoping that Griever’s next record pushes the boundaries and brings in their own take on the stagnant metalcore genre, instead of sticking to tried and tested formulas.

6.5/10




You can find Griever on Facebook here.

BLAST NIGHT III [REVIEW]





by Habib Tabaja

The last show of the season in Dubai before the relative silence of the hot summer months, JoScene’s Blast Night III at the Music Room on June 3rd proved to be a fantastic way to end the gig season. The show was well-organized, as is usual with JoScene, in addition to this time’s fruitful collaboration with Metal Bell Magazine. DJ WYNN also played a sweet combination of metal between the sets and before the show started.


While the show was dominated by the Lebanese thrashers Blaakyum and InnerGuilt, local bands Svengali and Pull Box effectively demonstrated the energy and talent of the local metal scene.


The female-fronted Pull Box provided the opening for the show with their nu-metal and punk-like metalcore original tunes, such as “Edge”, “Overdose”, and “Why”, in addition to their cover of “Tainted Love”. While the music of this band is not my particular cup of tea, I appreciate and love their dedication and energy on the stage. The band, as usual, played with great enthusiasm, and set the stage for the increasingly violent melodies that will progress through the night.


Svengali, photo credit: Manu Anand

The stage was then taken by UAE metal scene warriors Svengali, who again proved to be a crowd-moving favorite that got the moshpits going. They played a collection of their older and newer songs, including my personal favorite “Conquer” with its uplifting atmosphere and energizing synths. They also performed headbang-inducing tunes such as “Sink or Swim” to which the crowd sang along, “Laced in Sin”, “Blindfolds”, “Floodgates”, and “Free Fall”. As usual, they had great interactions with the crowd and really got them going with several rounds of moshpits. Svengali is definitely one of those bands whose live shows should not be missed, especially considering the fantastic experience they always give the audience.


After that, it was time for Lebanese band InnerGuilt to unleash chaos from the stage, and they did so beautifully despite some sound issues. They performed a riveting mix of thrash and death metal, which was received by headbanging and moshing from the crowd. Powerful vocals and brilliant yet brutal guitars were demonstrated in the songs they played such as “Terrorized by Silence”, “Burned of Guilt”, “Through Narrow Corridors” as well as their own killer takes on Sepultura’s “Troops of Doom” and Gojira’s “Lizard Skin”. It was my first time seeing them live, and they are definitely great representatives of the Lebanese metal scene with their unforgiving musical brutality and uplifting energy. You definitely do not want to miss out on any performance by these talented and dedicated musicians.

Blaakyum, photo credit: Metal Bell Magazine


Finally, Lebanese metal veterans Blaakyum brought their brand of thrash metal with classical Arabic music elements to the stage. Having seen them open for Epica in Lebanon’s Byblos International Music Festival back in August 2014, they proved to be yet again powerful ambassadors of Lebanese metal to the world. The crowd moshed and headbanged to a set of Blaakyum’s finest tunes, such as “Lord of the Night”, “Wicked Revelation”, and “Crossing”. They also played songs with powerful social messages, such as “Ceasefire”, “The Line of Fear”, and “Destined to Rise”. In addition, they performed their song  “Rip it Off”, which is dedicated to the late Dimebag Darrell of Pantera. “Baal-Adon” is another fantastic opus of theirs I look forward to hearing on their upcoming album. These guys put up a brilliant performance indeed.


All in all, it was one hell of a night and a memorable ending for this gig season before the summer break sets in. My thanks go to JoScene, Metal Bell Magazine, DJ WYNN, and to all the bands who performed and the people who helped organize the show and make it great. I am definitely looking forward to more events like this!  


Until next time, metalheads!

UPCOMING EVENT: BLAST NIGHT III


This Friday, JoScene will be hosting the third edition of its Blast Night concert series in Dubai, this time in collaboration with Metal Bell Magazine. The event will feature two Lebanese metal veterans, Thrash act Blaakyum and Death/Thrash band InnerGuilt, in addition to the UAE’s very own melodic metalcore champions Svengali and female-fronted nu-metal act Pull Box.


It will all take place on June 3rd at the Majestic Hotel Bur Dubai in the Music Room.
Tickets go on sale at the door of the venue the same night of the event for 100 AED.


Be there, and be many!


INTERVIEW WITH SEPULTURA'S ANDREAS KISSER


Ahead of Sepultura’s first show in Egypt set to take place on June 4th in Cairo, guitarist Andreas Kisser was interviewed by Metality’s managing editor, Habib Tabaja.

Habib: Hey guys! Might I say that it’s an absolute honor to interview legends like you!

Andreas: Thank you!

So how does it feel to be playing in Egypt for the first time? What are you looking forward to?

I’m very excited to play in Egypt for the first time. Very happy that finally we have a chance to meet our fans in Cairo. I want to get to know the city of Cairo, to taste the food and drinks. It will be a very special show; we will play the whole history of Sepultura.

Do you ever plan to play elsewhere in the Middle East?

We would love to go everywhere. We played in 75 countries so far in a 32-year career. Egypt will be our 76th country, and hopefully we will have the chance to go to different countries in the region.

Has the Middle East in its culture or history ever had any influence on your music? If so, in what specifically?

Yes, ancient Egypt is a very strong influence in what we do in music. I love the scales and the rhythms coming from Egypt and the region. My first band before I joined Sepultura was called “Sphynx”. This topic has always interested me.

Speaking of live shows, do you prefer large shows with larger audiences or small, intimate bar gigs?

I love them all. We have the privilege to play in all of those situations. The important thing is to be on stage and have a great time with our fans.

You guys have been touring the world for years. What was the weirdest or most awkward thing ever to happen on tour in other countries?

Maybe it was when we were in Indonesia in 1992. We went for a radio interview there, and we had more than two thousand people waiting for us, so it was total chaos, and the interview was very short and noisy. It was really crazy!

Can you give us any updates on upcoming releases? Hints on a release date or what it would sound like?

We are working on a new album and are finishing recording it in Sweden with the producer Jens Bogren. The album is coming out at the end of October through the Nuclear Blast label. It’s a new sound for Sepultura. Every album, we bring something different; it is hard to explain in words but I believe it’s the best album of our career!

The metal scene in most of the Middle East is pretty underground. What advice do you give to up-and-coming metal bands in the region about making their music and keeping metal alive?

Keep the fire going. Play the music you like! Metal is one of the most popular styles of music in the world, and it’s great to see that regardless of politics and religion, metal is very strong everywhere. You’re not alone; we fight for metal every day, and it’s a privilege to play for you guys in Cairo!

Any words for your fans in the Middle East and for the readers of Metality?

I’ll see you all at the show on June 4th. It’s a very important date for the history of Sepultura. Let’s have the best time together. See you all in Cairo! Thanks for the support!


Sepultura will be playing live in Cairo on June 4th with Nader Sadek, Gorynov, Perpetual Ferocity, and Mephistophilis.
Visit the event page here.


INTERVIEW WITH OMRADE



Following up to reviewing their debut album, Edari, last year, our managing editor Habib had a chat with Omrade's vocalist Krys (Bargnatt XIX) about the band and their upcoming releases, as well as their genre and other topics.

Can you tell us a bit more about the concept behind Omrade?

Krys (Bargnatt XIX): We are two in the band: JP (Arsenic) does the drums and orchestrations (synth, etc.…), and I play guitar and sing. Our music is an invitation to travel; all our tracks are a different painting. Every time, we catch the listeners in our universe. Our influences are Ulver, Manes, God Is an Astronaut, Dodheimsgard. We have no borders in music: We could mix trip hop, black metal, electro, metal, post rock and different sensibilities. The most important thing for us is to create our own universe.

Omrade describes itself as avant-garde metal. Do you think there is a growing appeal towards this subgenre? Do you think there would be aversion?

Avant-garde metal is very large; it’s just a definition of when some bands mix extreme music with another kind of music. It’s a personal approach, an effort to be not like all the other bands, create our own universe and try to catch people in this universe. The thing that matters is not the genre but the music itself. If you take some time to listen to a different kind of music, the genre is not really important. In this world, everybody is really comfortable with the standard or what they’re used to, so sometimes it’s hard to try different things. Avant-garde metal for me is a great compliment.
An aversion? I don’t know, but I think the people need to listen to the music before boxing it in a genre. The music needs to speak to its audience, and we don’t care if it’s metal/sludge/doom/death metal/avant-garde… It’s how we interpret it that matters to us.

We loved Edari! What’s coming up for Omrade in the near future? Any new releases or upcoming shows?
What can we expect in any upcoming release and when?

We've had great success with the album. Omrade’s Edari is now available in Mall of the Emirates. Virgin Megastore and Virgin Mega Store, Dubai Mall. It’s a collaboration with Metal East Records’ Moutasem Kabbani and My Kingdom Music’s Francesco Palumbo. We are very proud to be in Virgin megastore in the UAE. Very soon on 06/10/2016 our album will be released in an LP vinyl version.

Here's our press release on the upcoming vinyl: 

"After the good success of Omrade "Edari" CD, in collaboration with One Gone Beyond from the USA and Soman Records from France, we will release the album in vinyl format, limited to 300 hand-numbered copies.

Here is the the complete tracklist of the bonus CD "Hátíð Vinum":

1. Skam Parfyme [remix by Grégoire Fray (Thot)]
2. Friendly Herpes [remix by Déhà (We All Die (Laughing)]
3. Mótsögn [remix by Tor-Helge Skei (Manes, Lethe)]
4. Aben Dor [remix by Swarm Intelligence]
5. Luxurious Agony [remix by Edgard Chevallier (GHB)]
6. Mann Forelder [remix by Roka Skulld (Nordic Giants) & Billy Merrick (Saturday Sun)]
7. Satellite And Narrow [remix by La Soff]



The album, already considered by many one of the best surprises of the European Avant-garde Metal scene, will include a bonus-CD titled "Hátíð Vinum" that will be available only with "Edari" LP version and that will present seven tracks taken from "Edari" remixed by great artists into the international scene such as Grégoire Fray (Thot), Tor-Helge Skei (Manes, Lethe), Déhá Amsg (We All Die (Laughing), Roka Skulld (Nordic Giants), Edgard Chevallier (Gloomy Hellium Bath), Swarm Intelligence, Sophie C La Soff.

With this new step we draw a new limit to the words "vision" and "extremism"."

During April, we recorded our upcoming album at Ltpstudio in France (www.facebook.com/ltpstudio.lowertonesplace) with Edgard Chevallier. We have different guests on our future album but the details of that are secret for now. There’s more news coming soon!

Any words for the readers of Metality?

I would really like to thank Metality and Habib personally for introducing Omrade to the UAE metal scene. For the readers, just a few words: Never stop discovering new metal everywhere, because it’s always a joy to discover and share new music. After all, we're human. 

Thank you, Krys! Wishing you and the band the best of luck!

You can find Omrade on Facebook here
You can pre-order their LP here: http://smarturl.it/OMRA-LP

INTERVIEW WITH JM ELIAS OF DAMAGE RITE




Damage Rite, a death-thrash act from Lebanon has been recently revived, and our managing editor Habib interviewed their vocalist and guitarist JM Elias.

Habib: It's good to have you with us, JM.

JM: It's good to be here!

So Damage Rite is revived! What can you tell us about the history of the band and its revival?

Damage Rite started back in 2003 under the name of Postmortem, and it was based in Lebanon.
We played quite a handful of shows under the name Postmortem before we had to change it.
The reason is pretty simple: there were many bands with that name, and as we were getting more serious about our music, it was only logical to change the name and have something original and representing our music.

What do you hope to accomplish with this revival?

I had the music written and and recorded since 2011, but for various reasons I was never able to mix it and master it, however, after teaming up with CTG Productions and Mohammad Bailouni (from Coat of Arms), I got the chance to move forward with the material, and that’s what I’m doing.
At this point I just want the music to be out there, as I’ve had it for so long and with everything happening in the world around us, it makes perfect sense to me, and I hope people can relate to it as well.

Can we have an idea about the upcoming releases or possible live shows?

There is nothing planned at the moment in terms of live shows, yet we’ve been releasing small teaser videos on our Facebook page showcasing bits and pieces here and there.
We will be announcing the release date very soon, and hopefully get a couple of live shows lined up for the year.

If someone has no idea about your band or what they play, how would you describe it to them with just a few words?

It’s angry, fast and aggressive.

Any words for the readers of Metality?


Metality has been continuously supporting the metal scene in the region, and for that, I say thank you for your hard work, and as for the readers, wait for it and keep supporting your local acts!


Thank you for being with us, JM. We’re looking forward to what Damage Rite has in store! We wish you the best of luck! 


You can find Damage Rite on Facebook here, and a new live guitar tracking video of "The Dehumanizing Factor" here.


BLAST NIGHT II [REVIEW]


by Habib Tabaja

Dubai witnessed another fantastic metal night hosted by JoScene at the Music Room, with the talents of Greece's Dimlight and local bands Verdict, Pullbox, and Angmar. It was a great show, to say the least.

The night began with DJ WYN's metal tunes, covering all metal subgenres, that set the atmosphere for the entertainment of the night to come.

Angmar, credit: George Durzi

The venue descended into a trance of gloom and doom when newcomers Angmar brought their own take on death-doom metal to the stage. I think the scene has been missing a band that plays doom metal in the vein of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, and early Anathema, and these guys did just that. Covers of Anathema's "A Dying Wish" and My Dying Bride's "She is the Dark" almost brought tears to my eyes as I heard these songs live for the first time, executed with great vocals and professionalism. I also witnessed them perform a solid death-doom original, titled "Chaos". This band has done a great job in entering the scene and playing live for the first time!


Following Angmar were UAE nu-metal group Pull Box, who, even though out of place among the performing bands genre-wise, performed with great enthusiasm to a crowd who reciprocated that. Honestly speaking, I am not a big fan of Nu-Metal, but they delivered a solid show with songs like "Thy Monster", "Scream", and "War for Peace". Not to mention that they are one of the few female-fronted metal bands in the local scene, and that adds an extra edge to their uniqueness in it. It is definitely something we should see more of.

Pullbox, credit: George Durzi
Verdict, credit: George Durzi
Then, death metallers Verdict ascended the stage, with their usual crowd-pleasing songs such as "Systematic Slaughter" and "Headstab". Naturally, the crowd moshed with the relentless fury of Verdict's riffs, especially when playing "War Head" and "Defiance". One of the most fun bands to see live in the scene with all their energy and brutality!

Afterwards, with a haunting overture, Dimlight brought definitive, beautiful chaos to The Music Room. Playing their own blend of Symphonic Death Metal with operatic female vocals, they definitely brought a unique experience to the local scene. With songs like "Invoking the Hunter" and "Dark Emotion", Dimlight exhibited the beautiful contrast between the harshness of Death Metal and the serenity of operatic female vocals done by the wonderful Eva Forlanou. They also played many of their older and more recent songs such as "Shattered Idols" and "Fear the Heavens". Their guitarist and vocalist Invoker also called for a Wall of Death, and it happened! The first time I see a Wall of Death in a bar show. Absolutely fantastic! I would love to see them again.


Dimlight, credit: George Durzi
All in all, it was a well-organized show with great bands, great people, and great music. Looking forward to more shows like this in the scene!

More photos from the show below!

Dimlight, credit: George Durzi

Angmar, credit: George Durzi

Dimlight, credit: George Durzi
Dimlight, credit: George Durzi
Angmar, credit: George Durzi
Verdict, credit: George Durzi
Angmar, credit: George Durzi










INTERVIEW WITH NADER SADEK

After the recent controversy surrounding the Inquisition show in Egypt this year, as well as the secret postponement of the Dark Fortress gig there, we asked Egyptian metal artist Nader Sadek about the events that transpired, as well as his upcoming projects.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the views presented in this interview do not necessarily reflect the views of Metality or anyone involved in managing it or writing for it. As the largest metal webzine in the Middle East, we wanted to give Nader Sadek a platform to speak about this issue.


Metality:
1-     A lot has happened since the show with Inquisition in Egypt: a media controversy, and lots of back and forth accusations within the scene. We’ve seen you defend metal on Egyptian TV. Can you give us some more insight into the issue, especially for the non-Arab audiences?

Nader: Basically what you have here is a young scene, whereas in the Western world, they were dealing with this kind of controversy in the 80’s and early 90’s. So I figure that this is the “pubescent” stage of the metal scene in Egypt and the Middle East, which was aborted in 1997 due to a fame-seeking and ignorant journalist with the name of Abdallah Kamal. Then, the scene saw a weak revival in the 2000s.

First and foremost, I think it is a good idea to give some background on the fiasco of ‘97. Two members from a band in Alexandria were getting jealous from the fact that the Cairo metal scene was growing and getting sponsorship from large companies such as Marlboro and McDonalds. These two members called Abdallah Kamal, a writer at Rose El-Youssef, which is not in any way a respected paper in Egypt and basically a tabloid who are self-proclaimed “exposers” of problematic issues in Egypt. The band from Alexandria told Kamal that metal is a pathway to devil worship, and that virgin cats are being sacrificed and their blood drunk as some sort of ritual. Kamal saw the opportunity to get fame and recognition for uncovering this “terrible” movement and attended one of the metal shows back then, which were perfectly legal. He took many pictures at that show in 1997 with a film camera, which did not have any auto corrections of red eye in its photographs. Rose-El Youssef then only published the pictures with the red eye appearing on people’s faces at the show and captioned the pictures with “Children of the Devil are possessed at a Devil worshipping mass!”

At the time, there was a strong rise in terrorism; only a few years earlier, there had been an attempt to attack the World Trade Center in New York.  The Egyptian media took the opportunity to talk about something else to keep the “sheep” in check, and have them worry about something else, “coincidentally” something on the opposite spectrum: “Devil Worship”. Unfortunately, things became difficult, and hundreds of metalheads were uprooted from their homes, taken to jail, and tortured. They spent a month in jail, living in hard conditions, and put in the cell adjacent to that of actual terrorists. After 30 days, they were found innocent and let go, but the government did nothing to compensate for the suffering they caused. And many of those people stopped listening to metal and wanted no association with it whatsoever.
For years, metal was taboo. You couldn’t walk around in Egypt wearing metal shirts because most likely you would get spit on.

Eventually, a new generation arose. Those are people who were mere children during the mass arrests of ‘97. So, they didn’t have the actual experience of being tortured or imprisoned. To them, these events are simply urban legends, and a lot of them pretend to have been somehow part of it.

Fast-forward to now, with the Inquisition show. History simply repeated itself; however, there is a very big twist here that is truly unbelievable.

When metal bands started to appear in the 2000s, they were made to be government friendly, which to me is the most un-metal thing you could ever possibly do, and everything was “safe”. It’s like a horror movie with nothing scary in it, but in general, it was bands that have government connections. For example, their fathers are some government officials or so. They also came from rich families, which meant they could hit up European festivals and do “buy-on” shows.  “Buy-on” is when you pay a touring agency to put you on a tour with a big band, but the playing slot is completely useless, because they make you play at around 4 PM, 6 PM if you’re lucky. And nobody watches them, except the big band’s crew because the performance is relatively early. However, they do get to have their name on the touring poster. They end up looking like rock stars in the Middle East because they “made it”. But the reality of it is that they didn’t make anything, but rather bought their way to the slot. At these huge festivals, they take a selfie with a large crowd behind them, but the crowd really isn’t there for them at all. In fact, the audience is probably still nurturing their hangovers from the previous night. Still, they get to go home and pretend that they are heroes. Good for them, I guess.

Now that was some background information that people should keep in mind, when reading the rest of this because it really delves into the childish acts that are to come.

In Aborted’s show in Egypt last year, the venue took 75% of the ticket income, and then lied to me about how many tickets sold. The venue also has some extremely unusual rules, like no press allowed for Metal shows and no photography. They also allow former employees to walk in and bring friends but do not charge them the ticket price. I watched as these people pushed away the security, just walked in backstage, and tried to hang out with the band. I had to kick them out myself! The thing that bothers me is that the owner of the venue is a Muslim Brotherhood supporter, which is a terrorist organization covered under the veil of extreme piousness. I decided I wanted nothing to do with this venue and found another spot for the Inquisition show.

This other spot was the Amoun Hotel, a hotel with a good performance space, usually reserved for weddings. I approached them, and they liked the idea. They asked me to get the proper permits, which I did. After I got the permits from the government, I announced the show and the location. After learning about the show, Wael Ossama, Usama Ahmed (The organizer of Metalblast), and failed musician Sharif Marzaban contacted a journalist, and told him about the Inquistion gig and its location.

Now watch as history repeats: This time you have three individuals, all with very little to no success in their work, who then called a journalist also seeking fame. This journalist went and threatened the Amoun Hotel’s owner and told him, “If you let this show happen, I will write an article saying you worship the devil.” Of course, this scared the hotel owner and he apologized to me for not being able to host the show, despite me having the proper permits from the government. I had not yet obtained the permits from the Musician’s Syndicate, nor did I have to at this stage; however, I did try and they kept telling me, “You’re too early. Come next week.” Which I did; week after week, I went and they finally they told me, “If you have the money, we can make the permit the day of the show if we have to. We just want the payment.” This made me wonder why they wouldn’t simply take the money, but apparently, because it was around New Year’s, they were simply too “busy”.

Anyway, I got that call that the hotel, despite having the governmental permits, which again at this point were all I needed, could not host the Inquisition show.  I was on my way to the US, where I had a few shows lined up, so from there, I had to figure out a new space for the show. I was then told about a space in which The British Council ( a British cultural institute) and Pro Helvetia (a Swiss cultural institute) had held events. I got the venue’s contact information and called them. The originally-planned show date was on the 20th of February, but the venue was booked for something else on that day. So, the only thing I could do was make the show on the 19th. Then, I decided to let people know by direct contact through me and my friends about the new location and date of the show, including all the people who had brought presale tickets. People who were going to the show were informed about the situation, and all the information about the location and time was given to them. People attended the show, and it went really well. Honestly, I was surprised at how many people showed up; it was a lot of people, considering the fear and terror that was spread by some of the media prior to the show. The show went really great, and I honestly consider it to be a milestone in the history of metal in Egypt.

As for the permits, the new venue in fact had assured me that they’ve paid the syndicate 10,000 Egyptian Pounds, which just so happens to be what the syndicate did in fact ask for.
Two days later, I wake up to see one of the most lie-ridden posts published by someone who is supposed to be respectable: the head of the musicians syndicate in Egypt. He claimed that he personally intercepted and shut down a “satanic ritual in the form of music”. He also mentioned that the event had a Qatari and Bahraini DJ, and people wearing the Star of David. He also mentioned the originally-planned show date and wrong venue. This all points clearly to the fact that he was lied to. No one was Bahraini or Qatari at the show, and no Stars of David were there, obviously. However, the mentioning of these nationalities was a tool to gain the trust of some of the Egyptian people through the country’s politics. In addition, the show actually happened with so much of a glitch that no one was arrested. It was obvious that those guys who wanted to ruin the show had contacted Hany Shaker, the head of the Musicians’ Syndicate, and tried to get my show shut down. They failed.  It’s also obvious because one of the people who was against me realized that that this “uproar” was initiated because of personal issues, and not that they actually care about the scene or about any of the stuff that they are saying publicly. This is just a cover for their own personal agenda. Anyway, after a major media backlash, the head of the syndicate retracted and changed his statements not once, but at least 5 times. First, he took back the claim that they (the Syndicate) actually cancelled it. Then, he took back the claim that it was a satanic mass. Later, he said that what happened was that I didn’t get the proper permits, and since they hold the stubs to the permits, no one can really argue with that. I now have no respect for the Musicians’ Syndicate after they lied and continually changed their statements to save face.

I consider these people, the failed metal musicians and organizers who wanted this show to be shut-down, as terrorists. Why? Because the definition of terrorism is spreading fear in order to achieve a political gain and sway public opinion to have their demands met. It is not just blowing up buildings or chopping people’s heads off. They spread fear and threats in order to achieve what they want, just like any terrorist group. They are cultural terrorists.
So, Mafia-style, this group of people went and continued spreading their lies.

2-     The Dark Fortress show did not happen as planned. What can you tell us about that?

The show happened, but the “practitioners of backwardness”, as a friend of mine calls them (i.e. the same people who tried to shut down the Inquisition show), would call and threaten every venue and rehearsal space and even equipment rental place. They would tell the owners of these businesses and venues that we (Dark Fortress and my band) are going to cause them problems if they work with us. I would keep finding people wanting to work with me, who would tell me, “Yeah, we don’t care about the Syndicate. They’re corrupt anyways”. Then, right before closing the deal, they would act erratic and apologize. Again, it was obvious that they were threatened by someone or a group of people in a position of relatively high power, which ended up causing a problem for us to do the show.

The next day, however, we found a place and the necessary equipment to do the show, and we did it. There’s not a damn thing anyone can do about that now! Because of this, though, hundreds of people are pissed off to know that Dark Fortress actually made it to Egypt yet then the main event was cancelled. And we had to revert to doing it in secrecy, which is neither illegal nor wrong. It just sucked. Of course, I wasn’t able to promote this on the page because had I done that, they would have threatened the owners of the place. However, the show must go on, and this was my only choice. 

I also want to add that on public television, I asked the head of the Musicians’ Syndicate to apologize, not to me, but to the people whose lives he ruined with his irresponsible and invalid claims.  People got fired from their jobs because their pictures appeared on those gross tabloid papers claiming they were devil worshippers. Another good point to mention is that if you follow closely, what’s going on, you’ll notice that the only media that supports these guys’ cause is Dotmsr, a company owned by Abdallah Kamal, the same guy who created the fiasco back in 1997. All other intellectual media are backing me up. Who is also backing me up? A huge number of the people who, in 1997, were falsely accused of and imprisoned for devil worship support me. They send me messages, encouraging me and doing their best to support me. In fact, some of them helped sponsor the shows. 

As far as getting the permits this time around, I actually went to the Syndicate, and we agreed to start a new chapter, be friends, and start from scratch. We agreed that we were both lied to and taken advantage of and were pitted against each other by the jealous competition. I was ready to make the payment personally this time. However, when I met with them the next day, they had a different tone with me and were not as welcoming as they were the day before. They then asked for $500 per musician playing at that show. I laughed right in their face and told them that it is illegal to do so. It looks like we’re back to square one. I told them I’m not paying it, and that I’m doing the show anyway, and left. I spoke to a judge who told me that what they are doing is illegal and that they need to submit papers as to why all of a sudden musician has to pay $500 to play a show in Egypt. The judge also assured me that what I’m doing is not illegal, as the only  power the syndicate has at this point is to go around and threaten people, Mafia-style, which is what they’ve been doing.



3-     You seem to be revolutionizing the Egyptian (and Middle Eastern) metal scene. What’s next? 

Finishing up my new EP, which I’m so excited to finally release! It has the best line up I’ve ever put together, from Glen Benton to Derek Roddy and many more.

4-     What’s your favorite song to perform live?

Probably Entropy Eternal. It just gets so fast, and I feel insane having to squeeze together all these words so quickly.

5-     Is there anything else you can tell us about your upcoming release?

Yeah it’s titled Malefic: Chapter II, and it’s a true hybrid of all the subgenres of metal –black, death, and doom. With Malefic: Chapter III, it wasn’t so much a hybrid of subgenres in each song, as much as each song being individually from a different genre. For example, “Deformation” is a straight up brutal Death Metal song, followed by “Carrion”, a black metal song, and then Entropy, a thrash track, and finally, “Descent”, which is doom. In Malefic: Chapter II, each song truly contains different elements from the subgenres.

6-     Any words for the readers of Metality?

Yes, I want to add that the day after the Inquisition show, I took the members of Inquisition to the Pyramids and asked them to put on their corpse paint. Then we walked around the streets of Cairo, and many people gathered around us and were asking me to take pictures of them with the band. They would ask me who are those guys: Wrestlers? Artists?  And I would say, “No, they’re musicians.” And the eyes of the people would light up, and they would get excited. One man asked me to take a picture of his daughter with them. I want to make this very clear because it is really quite important. None of these people, and there were many, from all walks of life as well as tourists and farmers in the area, accused them of devil worship.No one tried to make the situation negative. And, what am I trying to prove with this? I want to prove that the Egyptian people in their hearts and minds are good people. They are curious, and they have no qualms with a band like Inquisition, with their make-up and image. The fear, panic, and problems that were caused, believe it or not, came from so-called metalheads who tried to get us arrested and thrown in jail.



Now, I want you to imagine what would have happened if Perversion, Inquisition, myself, and everyone at that show would have gotten arrested. And why didn’t we? Because I had secured everything, including a paper from the government itself, which means this: The government doesn’t care, nor do the people. The problem is simply that the “competition” can’t handle the fact that within 6 months, I achieved what others in Egypt hadn’t been able to achieve in 10 years. Using lies, spreading fear and panic, those guys are solely responsible for this mess. I do want to sincerely apologize to those who were unable to make it to the secret show, and you certainly deserve better than that!

I also want to ask the people reading this: Who do you believe? A man who went in front of 90 million people and lied, took back his lies, covered them with other lies, then retracted those, and covered them up with more lies? Or the guy whose stuck to the same story? You choose, and either way, I honestly don’t care. I feel bad for the head of the Syndicate, because he’s proven to the whole country that’s he’s ignorant and easily manipulated.

To the metal scene in the Middle East, I want to say that I'm doing the best I can for my brothers and sisters in that scene. And I don't mean just the fans, but also the bands as well. You have these great bands, who didn't use their rich parents' money or government corruption to make it somewhere in the scene. They're just really fucking good bands. Good bands like Perversion, Lelahell, Smouldering in Forgotten, Blaakyum, Perpetual Ferocity, and Voice of the Soul, to name a few. None of them have had help from their parents' money or something sketchy to get them where they are. These are the bands I want to help. I personally do not feel the need to compete or go against people, who could, as a team with all of us, do some really amazing stuff and kick ass. Unfortunately, there's bands that try to keep the scene divided and seperated so they can keep the spotlight to themselves. To those bands, I say that I'm not going to stop. We can have a great and powerful metal scene in the Middle East, so we can show the world that it is not some backwards terrorist pit. We want to show that this place respects itself and the value of human life and expression. If we continue to self-censor and make everything safe, then we are actually perpetuating this kind of censorship. 





VIDEO PREMIERE: DIMLIGHT - INVOKING THE HUNTER


Greece's Symphonic Dark/Death Metal band Dimlight have released a music video for their song "Invoking the Hunter" from their latest album The Lost Chapters.

The music video depicts the tale of the Egyptian goddess Hathor, and creates the perfect dark atmosphere for Dimlight's music.

Watch the video here:

 


It is also important to note that Dimlight will be performing in Dubai on April 15 with local bands. Find more about that here.

You can find Dimlight on Facebook here

UPCOMING SHOW: BLAST NIGHT 2




The Dubai metal scene is back in action! JoScene is bringing you Blast Night II on Friday April 15 at The Music Room, with headliners Dimlight from Greece, performing their own brand of Symphonic Death Metal. They are joined on stage by Dubai-based bands Verdict (Melodic Death Metal), Pull Box (Nu-Metal), and newcomers Angmar (Doom/Death Metal)!

If you're around, you can't miss out on this event that will rock your socks off! Be there or be square!
You can find the event page on Facebook here

UNITY AGAINST ATROCITY: IN SUPPORT OF JOSCENE AND METAL EAST RECORDS



It is no surprise that the UAE Metal scene has been hosting international bands, especially in the last 2 decades, witnessing a hiatus for a few years until Circle II Circle came to Dubai and Black Sabbath to Abu Dhabi in 2014, followed by a series of locally organized events.

One of the most remarkable and long-awaited events was organized by JoScene and Metal East Records: Vader live in Dubai, that got cancelled with no official statement giving an explanation as to why the event got cancelled. German power metal band Steel Engraved were also scheduled to play, while one half of Voice of the Soul flew in from Lebanon, and ex-Monuments drummer Mike Malyan flew in from London to play drums for Benevolent. So the organizers held their breath for a few months and stood back steady on their feet to bring us Aborted. A few days after everyone hailed the organizers for bringing Aborted to Dubai, JoScene announced, on their Facebook event page, that Aborted’s performance on Halloween night will no longer take place. The event took place but with Verdict filling the bill alongside Svengali and Coat Of Arms.

After the announcement, we contacted Muhammad Jaber - founder of JoScene - and asked him some questions for clarifications. He told us that “what happened looked like it was because of an angry parent, but actually it wasn’t! What exactly happened is that someone made a fake email under a fake name and complained about the band lyrical theme and about how they are letting the organizers do such an event.”

However, those accusations were kind of fishy. According to Jaber, they tracked down the email from the “angry parent” and found out a few interesting stuff:

The name used is very common in UAE.
It isn’t really believable that a 21-year-old guy is begging his parents to go to a concert - which was in the context of the email – therefore, the father decided to check the band out.
The email was sent directly to the venue manager, noting that no one knows his email address except for those who worked with him.
The IP address of the email came from Poland, “and we all know who moved recently there,” said Muhammad.


Even though those accusations were only sent to the venue, JoScene decided to pull the plug on Aborted’s performance not because of “the venue nor from the government [...] But we did this because in March when the same thing happened [with Vader’s gig] and someone went to the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) and complained, things got serious with the government, and to avoid having the same thing with the CID we decided not to risk it and just to call it off.”

Then, only a few months later, Metal East Records brought Insomnium to Dubai and the concert was a major success, where everyone thought things went back to normal. As Moutassem - founder of Metal East Records - said, he wanted to play it smart and bring “clean bands” to the scene, such as Swallow the Sun; “there’s no question mark about their lyrics and performance.” But still, someone is very persistent to bring the scene down, so we gathered with him and with Jaber to know more details about the cancellation of 3 big events.

Getting an international Metal band to the Middle East is not an easy task, especially when you’re not being sponsored and only depending on the tickets to cover your expenses. Their only concern is financial as Jaber confirmed, but anything else worked fine, since bands are excited to perform in a new region and meet more fans.

On the other hand, Swallow the Sun had a different story. On January 27th, Moutassem received a call from the venue manager telling him that the permission to hold the concert was rejected. He went back and forth from the Tourism Department to the authority that cancelled the concert for a few days until they agreed to meet him. The reason behind the permission cancellation was due to a complaint that was accusing the band as “promoters of devil worshipping.” Then it was found out that the rejection came from a higher authority so there was nothing to be done.

Now, since it’s the third time to get their event cancelled, there’s no direct plan of what they will be doing to stop the cancellation, and therefore, losing a huge amount of money. “We will keep doing what we are doing, we can only wish they could get a life soon, so UAE metal scene could breathe again.”

As Middle Eastern magazines we condemn heavily what happened here and also in Egypt; this charade must stop. And if it was true what  Muhammed Jaber hinting about what happened and that it was from within the scene and from other jealous organizers, we have to force on that such behavior will only deteriorate the scene to all of us including who is trying to “WIN?” a competition in the market (as stupid as silly as it sounds because I thought we already grew up from our kindergarten years). Even though and as our responsibility as journalists we will keep our online spaces for any respond from the people who were hinted to in this article to express their natural right or reply.

And finally in the midst of all what happened we can only wish for the best to our scene and as it seems that brighter... oh well darker days are coming.

Stay Heavy and Stay Metal \m/

Written by: NJ (Rock Era) |  TP (Metal Bell)
Edited by: Kareem (Metality) | Davina (Metal Bell)