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.



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Reuben Bhattacharya / Visual Amnesia
Kareem C: You guys are a fresh band out of the UAE. Tell us about how you guys came together?
Jude:  I’ve known Bam since high school. Once I came back to the UAE, after getting done with college back in India, we started jamming together and after coming up with some riffs we decided to start a band. That’s how the project started off. We were originally called Ciojn, but because so many people used to go “lolwut ?” we decided to use the literal pronunciation of the word itself, which is Kaihon.

Lalit: I came to Dubai for work a year back. I was completely clueless about this place and I didn’t know anyone in the music scene personally. It took me a couple of months to get adjusted with the place and sort everything out. I visited a few gigs to check the live music scene here, and I must say I quite loved it. In order to keep my voice in check, I started doing vocal covers on YouTube and posted the first one on a few facebook music groups & forums. Jude & Bam then contacted me and talked about the project. I heard some of the music the guys had been working on and agreed to join them.

Describe Kaihon’s sound; what are your influences?

Jude: That’s really hard to describe.  I hate putting a label on things, because I think they alienate the listener and set up walls where there shouldn’t be any. But if I was really pressed for it, I’d say we’re a death metal band that likes to keep things on the groovier side.

Influences, well that’s another really hard question to answer since between the three of us, there are probably 15-20 bands that influence how we write music, and that number increases every few days.

But I would say I’m primarily influenced by Strapping Young Lad, Cynic, Lamb of God and
Crowbar. But recently, I do find myself listening to a lot of Kvelertak and Opeth’s latest album  is really interesting.

You guys recently put out your debut track, "Pathological". Was that the first song you wrote? Let’s hear more about it.
Jude: "Pathological" is actually the second song we wrote and decided to release that as a single because it is one of the more straightforward tracks on the EP.  Like I said we try to keep a particular theme in mind for each song written, and try to have both the music and the lyrics reflect that. It could be anything: an ideal, a word or a state of mind. For instance, for "Pathological", the theme in mind was acceptance, the story of a person trying to not shy away from who he really is as opposed to who he’s trying to be. We try not to get too preachy but it creeps in anyway.

Pathological is part of a debut EP that you guys have been working on. Tell us about the writing and recording process, when we can expect it, and other details.

Jude: I handle most of the writing and the recording process is usually me recording everything at home and keeping the other guys updated on what I’m working on. We then meet to refine and tweak the material until we come up with a final product that we’re all happy with. 

The EP consists of 5 songs and should be sent in for the final mixing and mastering stages by April, with a tentative release date of late May- early June.

The three of you have played in bands in different scenes, but two of you have been involved outside of the UAE as well. Tell us about how your respective experiences have helped the band. How would you differ the Dubai (UAE) scene from the others?

 Jude: Well, I was lucky enough to play with some very talented musicians in my previous band, but as far as the intrinsic side of being in a band goes, I’ve learnt that musical prowess isn’t the only thing that’s key to making a band click. 

While ego and respect for ones work is important to any artist, being in a band is about compromise, and finding people who share your vision and drive makes it easier for you to write music that is genuine.

The Dubai scene has exploded in the past few years that I’ve been away. I’m really happy to see so many people supporting the local scene and showing up for gigs, and it only seems to be getting more expansive.
I come from Goa, which is known more for its clubbing scene, so there wasn’t much scope for live music there, let alone a metal band.  If there were any gigs, which came around about every 5-6 months or so, you’d be stuck with a crowd of about 10-15 people, 30 if you were lucky. And half of them would be waiting for you to get offstage so that the resident DJ could start his set.

So I can tell you guys here in the UAE that you are very lucky to be having such stellar gigs so frequently. There has been a lot of unsettlement on the scene due to some very unfortunate circumstances that are allegedly the result of some underhanded cloak and dagger bullshit. But I am sure, without a doubt, that the metal scene will only grow stronger from it.

Lalit: I have been playing for various bands in India for more than 9 years now.  I’ve interacted & played with various musicians, artists, and people. Every single individual brings a different experience and learning. It can affect you positively, negatively or go both ways as well.
Reuben Bhattacharya / Visual Amnesia
With Kaihon, all of us share the same frequency and the same zeal to make it work – musically as well as personally. We respect each other and the efforts put in by the other person. Also, after spending years in the Indian music scene, the people that I have worked with and the friends that I have made, were of great help to us.  I have known Keshav Dhar (from Skyharbor) for years. I informed him about my new project in Dubai and asked him if he would be interested in producing us, which he gladly agreed to. When I went back to India for a mini-vacation, I ended up recording my vocals at his studio and then later on the song was mixed and mastered by him. 
As far as the music scene in Dubai is concerned, I am highly impressed. Dubai has a very active music scene. There are gigs happening almost every weekend. The amount of crowd support for the bands that perform here is amazing. It’s like a closely knitted family, and everybody helps out. I really can’t wait to get back on stage.

What are some of your favorite bands from the UAE and the Middle East?

Jude: I would say Voice of the Soul and Alpha.Kenny.Buddy (AKB) are my favorite acts in the local scene. Both of them put on a killer live show and I always find myself having a good time when they’re playing their set.
I was also recently introduced to a local band called Static Theory that has some very talented musicians. Also, a shout out to the dudes in Apeira. They’re cooking up some amazing stuff that I can’t wait to hear.

Lalit: I haven’t seen all the bands here but bands like Voice of the Soul, Benevolent, Svengali, Point of View, Alpha.Kenny.Buddy (AKB) are clearly my favorites. It’s always a treat to see these bands live.

Any final words for Metality readers?

Jude: Thank you for the support ! We can’t wait to get on stage and play for all of you guys and hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.

Stay connected with Kaihon:


Ziad: First of all I want to congratulate you on being Sri Lanka’s baddest and meanest sounding band! 

Suresh: Our heartfelt gratitude and magnanimous thanks. We are humbled and much obliged.

Years after you first started, how do you see the growth of the Sri Lankan metal scene? 

There was no infrastructure for Metal, Hard Rock or originality back in the day. There was a lack of media support, zero sponsors and no clubs/pubs willing to take a chance with a Sri Lankan Metal Band. The genre was disrespected, frowned upon and not taken seriously. There was a time when media would offer us exposure if we were willing to dub ourselves an ‘Alternative Rock’ band to avoid any backlash from the public. You can imagine that our response was not compiled with pleasantries. 

15 years on; after 3 albums, One 10 Year Anniversary Limited Edition Double Album, 1 DVD and 7 EPs it’s sufficient to say that things have changed profusely. The Sri Lankan scene now is flourishing and growing every day, every month, every year. There is acceptance and credibility for Metal as a lucrative and respected art form. Our Sonic Alma Mater is revered and respected for its substance, depth and musical dexterity. It’s an accepted lifestyle and community that’s part of Sri Lankan society now. A scene where well over 70 Rock/Metal Bands perform gigs regularly, there is ample support from electronic and print media and the bar has been raised in terms of the high standards indoctrinated by us and others that are professional and serious about their music. We organize bigger and better concerts now; the scene has attracted many international icons to tour the country as well (Nervecell, Cyanide Serenity, As I Lay Dying, Civilization One, Serenity Dies, and Rudra to name a few) there is some form of sponsor affiliation in contrast to their past involvement and the misconceptions and misconstrued ideals regarding Metal has subsided. The Sri Lankan Metal scene is evolving and hopefully it will become a renowned hub for artists to perform in but more importantly a place that shows the world that we Lankans can kick butt in things other than Cricket.

Lyrically and musically, what do you consider to be your primary influences? 

We are essentially inspired by each other. That’s the truth. We all share such an eclectic taste in music be it Metal or other genres that if our music is a canvas, drawing inspiration from five different sources has helped us retain our aesthetic credibility, originality and helped us push the creative envelope to unprecedented terrain. Musically we love everything from Death, Rush, Nevermore, Tool, Pantera and Spiral Architect to Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Animals as Leaders, Revocation, Arch-Enemy, Johnny Cash, Strapping Young Lad, Testament, Iron Maiden to music by Hans Zimmer and even Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. If it’s powerful, evocative, has depth and stems from an honest place, we will listen to it.

Lyrically everything from literature, poetry, theater, film, music and of course the general human condition and psychosis to devour each other in systematic and profound ways, the reality of existence… anything that’s invigorating or intriguing enough to capture our attention puts the age old adage that the pen is far mightier than the sword to good practice. There are plenty of things in the world to be inspired by; all it takes is for us to look but see, to hear but listen. 

Suresh, you write most of the lyrics in poetic formats. What are some of your favorite poets/lyricists and have you considered using any particular favorites for a future project? 

I never set out to embrace any set techniques or devices of literature when writing lyrics. Again the inspiration dictates the direction of the lyrical approach. One thing is that right from the inception we knew we wanted to drive the proverbial nails hard into peoples’ consciousness and sublime with our music, the multi-layered themes and connotations in our sonic spell craft… but we always wanted to have lyrics that would stand on par with the music. That was very important to us to be a well-rounded musical enigma.

I love Neil Pert’s lyrics; Rush are too amazing to discuss or decipher!!! Warrel Dane (Nevermore) is possibly my all-time favorite lyricist and poet of all time if truth be told. I am greatly inspired by Steve Harris’s lyrics in Iron Maiden and even James Maynard Keenan’s lyrical work with Tool. I like Anathema’s lyrics too and even Chuck Shuldiner’s stuff with Control Denied and Death. Tim Rice wrote amazing lyrics for Jesus Christ Superstar.

But of course one cannot cite lyrical inspiration without bringing into consideration the work of Edgar Allan Poe, William Blake, Shakespeare, W.B Yeats, Oscar Wilde, H.P Lovecraft, Jean Arasanayagam, Bob Dylan etc., J.R.R Tolkien, Geroge R.R Martin, Stephen King, Mo Hayder, Mario Puzo, Neil Gaiman; they all inspire me in no small measure.

I had the distinction of playing Judas in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Rock operatic masterpiece ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ a short while back, that opened up a lot of creative doors because it was a long run, performing to a full house at the Lionel Wendt theater in Sri Lanka – it was incredible working with such a talented cast and crew but paying tribute to some of the greatest singers that have ever graced this earth; Carl Anderson, Ian Gillan, Ted Neily, Steve Balsamo, Drew Saritch… now that was something.

I also recently collaborated on a single with a local classical singer named Sanjiv Niles who is a powerhouse opera singer. We worked on the lyrics and music together and the instrumentation and orchestrations were handled by Ravin David Ratnam. The piece was released a month or two ago to great global appeal. It’s called ‘Cadence of Your Tears (Freedom’s Chains)’ and it’s unlike anything I have ever worked on before. That aside I have no immediate plans to work with anyone else. Although if I could one day compose a song with Warrel Dane – I would die a tad more happier than I would otherwise. At the moment it’s about conceiving and shaping the lyrics to our new music; the 4th album will be out this year to celebrate our 15 year anniversary. That’s my main focus and priority musically and lyrically.  

“Psalms of Conscious Martyrdom” was internationally praised for its aggression and progressive elegance. What ignited the spark for its writing process? 

Honestly I doubt there is one singular thing that can be traced for igniting the spark. After our second record ‘Silent Chaos Serpentine’ we felt at that point of time than we wanted to explore a very intricate and intense sound; experimenting with new ideas stylistically and what we were composing was tripped out, it had progressive elements but we never lost focus of our song writing. It’s an aggressive record with enough moments of grandeur to render a rampant response of WTFs but with an epic texture woven throughout the album. We’ve always wanted to create powerful, evocative and memorable songs. Music that translates well live but also captures the essence of that respective sound on record. I think our mind set was such around that time that we felt a sense of proclivity to reach inside and showcase a body of work with captivating material, but to also depict the band’s musical growth and prowess as well. We didn’t evaluate or assess methods and means of achieving this – we just set out to write and record an album that would show the world that ‘Pure Sri Lankan Metal’ really means business. To a great extent – we accomplished that.

You combine a spectrum of genres in your sound, how does this hybridization process come about? 

That’s a very good question and one that we have often debated on. Sometimes the answer we seek is right before our eyes. There’s something to be said about subtlety and obeying the divine rule that the devil’s in the details. It’s the geographical placement. In Asia we are exposed to a lot more varieties of music; whether the styles are mainstream or underground respectively. It doesn’t matter as long as the music stems from an honest place and is authentic. We are inspired by Western and Eastern music, we appreciate jazz, funk, fusion, dig classical music, blues and of course we incorporate baila and Sri Lankan musical elements to our sound which lends it the unique DNA it possesses. Genre classifications and scene specifications cease to be significant. We are positioned and blessed to be able to draw inspiration from a myriad genres and styles. From our inception we fused a variety of styles into the ‘Metal’ blueprint of ours and somehow through the years (15 to be precise) we’ve grown comfortable and rather experienced in honing a sound that pushes creative peripheries while never losing track of the roots of our sound: Extreme Metal textured and multifariously layered to challenge the listener. What we do is an acquired taste, it isn’t for everyone. But once you connect and relate to what we do, you will endorse our artistry for life. 

You have performed hundreds of shows in Sri Lanka and internationally. What stage do you hope to perform one day and any particular bands you’d like to share the stage with? 

We are grateful for the opportunities we have had; we have had the distinction and privilege of performing at some remarkable festivals and concerts overseas and locally through the years from the Melbourne Arts Festival at the Forum Theater to the SAARC Band Fest in India to us representing Sri Lanka at the South Asian Rock Fest last year in Bangladesh, performing for over 30,000 people at the Army Stadium in Dhaka. Naturally there are so many more places we would love to tour, countries to see, and cultures to experience. The really big festivals: Wacken, Bloodstock, Download etc., all of those would be great. It would be great to be taken out as a support act by some of our heroes. But to be able to organize our own shows and perform very intimate gigs for our Saints in smaller venues is also integral to us. In Stigmata we share a policy that whether we play for 30,000, 3000 or 30 people that we will always deliver the same show of a fucking lifetime.  

Speaking of live performances, any particularly favorite live bands you like to watch on tour? 

Dream Theater, Morbid Angel, Strapping Young Lad, Arsis, Metallica, Megadeth, Lamb of God, Opeth, Arch-Enemy, Flesh God Apocalypse, Black Sabbath, Slipknot… bloody hell RUSH!!!! There are too many. Man, we would have done anything to see Pantera live. Or Queen. Kansas even. Fates Warning with John Arch back in the day! Or Deep Purple or Rainbow in their prime. Judas Priest!!! I’ll stop now. This is one question to which the answer has no limits. We’ve seen quite a few bands and let me tell you so far no one comes close to the mighty Iron Maiden live. Those guys are three times the age of most Metal Bands today and the sheer tightness, cohesiveness and adventure they bleed out on stage is just phenomenal.   

Any last words for the readers of Metality?

Don’t be fooled, it’s you guys who keep the flame of Metal ignited and burning in the warrens of time and space. Thank you for supporting Metality and Metal around the world. If you dig what we do and find yourselves Stigmatized welcome to our humble family. If not – wait till our 4th record is out, you may change your minds \m/ Thank You for the interview, guys. See you at the storm of the century!

Thank you guys, looking forward to a monstrous show in Dubai!


UAE progressive death metallers Voice of the Soul haven't played a show in Dubai since last June, but they'll be kicking off the new year at Metal East Fest on March 6th by JoScene and Metal East Records, headlined by death metal legends Vader. Editor-in-Chief and Voice of the Soul's founder and frontman Kareem C interviewed guitarist Monish Shringi, his own band mate...

Kareem C: Hi Monish…umm…long time no speak.

Monish: Hi Kareem. Yeah, a few minutes counts as ‘pretty long’ in my dictionary. I hope things are well with you.

You must be stoked to play with Vader at Metal East Fest on March 6th. How’ve you been gearing up for both Voice of the Soul’s and Verdict’s sets?

Absolutely! The last month or so has been crazy. It’s also the first time that I’m playing with two different bands at the very same show. Moreover, just knowing that Vader is sharing the same stage as you gives me goosebumps.
With VOTS we’ve never actually been in the same country so we just focus on preparing individually and collectively practicing a day or two prior to the show. Verdict on the other hand has been more conventional as all the members live in Dubai so we jam once or twice every week.

Even though I know, tell us about Voice of the Soul’s setlist. Is the crowd going to hear new songs off Catacombs?

This is the first time we’ll be playing in Dubai since we launched Catacombs in the Middle East, and I’m super stoked to play the new songs where we set ourselves a concrete ground. More importantly, this set list will constitute heavily from the new album. The tracks are more challenging and technical so its going to be as equally rewarding to pull that off on stage.

It’s been a while since Voice of the Soul played in Dubai, but they did play in Lebanon last October. How was Beirut?

Beirut was absolutely fantastic! The crowd was mental and the people there await these kind of shows. I remember the crowd jumping around and stage diving while we played without giving a single shit. With all the political unrest and confusion, metal heads wait for moments like these to come out mosh it out. Definitely playing there soon again!

Voice of the Soul have played shows in Kuwait, Dubai, and Beirut. What country or city is next on your wish list?

Alongside playing shows in the Middle East, I definitely hope we can venture out to India and Europe and check out  the scene there. Playing in a country you’re actually from is definitely a great feeling and I certainly would want to experience that!

With me and Rudy in Beirut, and you and live bassist Bam in Dubai- how do you guys prepare for shows?

Well, I think being in the band for so long and being away from each other has definitely been one of our characteristics. We always start off preparing individually and then jam collectively in our respective countries. Few days before the show, we gather and go through 1 or 2 practices. It’s easier that way because everyone is individually and part-collective ready. So at the end all it takes is one or two rehearsals.

Do you have a favorite song (or more) that you like to perform?

Every song in the new album is fun to play. It’s like every song has something special to look forward to. But if I had to make a choice, Perdition and Pendulum would be my go to at this point.

What are your pre-show rituals?

We haven’t followed any pre-show rituals as such but we individually just venture out, socialise and create a positive energy amongst ourselves. Few minutes before hitting the stage, we’re always together, talking and just boosting each others confidence.

Any final words for Metality’s readers?

Thank you for having me do this interview and I look forward to the 6th of March. It’s going to be one hell of a night not only playing with Verdict and Voice of the Soul but also sharing the stage with close friends and inspiring musicians. We're also really excited about releasing Catacombs in Europe through Hell's Hammer Distribution on March 27th! See you on the 6th!

Stay connected with Voice of the Soul


Benevolent is a band metal fans in the UAE haven't heard of...if they live under a rock. Starting out in Kuwait, the band relocated to Dubai a few years ago and have since then put out The Convenant, their debut album which has received some intense accolades. Kareem C caught up with Benevolent singer and guitarist, Hadi Sarieddine, who has been busy gearing up for Dubai's Metal East Fest by JoScene and Metal East Records, headlined by Vader.

Kareem C: How’s it going, Hadi? Things have been hectic, almost a year after releasing The Covenant. What’s been up?

Hadi: Hey Kareem, how it’s going man? Things are going absolutely great. I can’t believe it’s been a year since ’The Covenant’ has been out, it’s been absolutely incredible.

Stoked to open up for Vader at Metal East Fest?

Vader is a legendary band and it’s an honour to be sharing the stage with them. In our perspective every show that we play carries a lot of importance because it’s about the fans just as much as it is about us the musicians. This happens to be a very special one because we get to share the stage with a bunch of our friends from the scene in Dubai in addition to an iconic band.

What’s Benevolent’s set going to look like?

We’re going to be playing material from ’The Covenant’ on March 6th. The new material has a different flavour for us and is definitely more challenging to pull off live, so it’s a lot more fun!

Monuments drummer Mike Malyan is joining you guys for this show. Well, holy shit. Tell us about how you guys met and worked all this out.

This is the epitome of epic. Mike is one of my personal favourite drummers and the whole thing came about in a really cool way. When we were booked to play EUROBLAST X last October, our session drummer at the time (Rahul Hariharan) couldn’t make it due to other bookings so we reached out to Mike and he hopped on board to play the show with us. Unfortunately we could not make it to EUROBLAST due to visa issues but we kept in touch and it has funnelled down to this show on March 6th. There’s absolutely nothing better than playing music that means a whole lot to you with people who make you want to play the fuck out of your instrument and leave it all out there on stage. This is going to be fun!

Your studio, Haven Studio, isn’t getting any downtime either. Tell us about some of the projects you’re working on at the moment.

It’s been amazing, man. I launched Haven Studio just over a year ago and I’ve been truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing bands and musicians. I am currently nesting it out with AKB, Svengali, Rod Paris, and a couple of other projects. I get to put on a whole different cap with each of these bands and it’s fucking fun digging deep into the stories and backgrounds of all the musicians that I get to meet and work with.

Do you have a favorite Benevolent song that you like to perform live? Why?

There’s something special for me in every track, I’d say that I have favourite moments within tracks so it always changes amongst songs. I think that my personal favourites to play right this moment are ‘Heathen’ and ’The Collector’.

Are you guys going to bring in a bassist anytime soon? What’s kept you guys from bringing one in all this time?

We’re definitely looking for a full-time bassist. I think what’s kept us from this is the fact that we just didn’t meet the right person to get in on the fold just yet. We want a member bassist, not a sessionist. So if you’re a bassist and you dig our material and you’re not in 15 other bands, hit us up!


This is something we can both relate to, having both started our musical journeys in Kuwait. But I could never have imagined myself playing alongside bands like Vader, after starting out in Kuwait where you can only play in your bedrooms and cover Bon Jovi songs at a cafe from time to time.

Yea, man. It’s actually a bit crazy because when you’re living somewhere and you’re LIVING there in spirit and body you don’t really see where you’ll be a few chapters down the road. It’s also one thing to have that tunnel vision and visualise things happening and a completely different thing when they happen. It’s very humbling. Kuwait was good to us, we learnt a lot and just the fact that we made our very first album there is something special to hold on to. I feel like if we were to play a show in Kuwait it’ll be like a full-circle homecoming of sorts!
I think that one of the most important ingredients and elements of being a successful musician is the ability to imagine, visualise, and believe. Those things can really get you places because they activate your inner genius and get you to do what you need to do to achieve those goals and dreams. And when they do actually happen and you’re in that moment it’s a little overwhelming and hard to rationalise. It’s a very humbling and inspiring road. I fucking love every bit of it.

Tell us about Benevolent’s pre-show rituals.

My personal ritual is that I like to walk around the venue as much as I can before the doors open just to soak up the energy and vibe of the place. I don’t like to mingle much the closer the time is to getting on stage just so I can get in the zone. The bands’ ritual is that we huddle up and say a few words about what the show on that particular night means to us. And then we proceed to yelling ‘BENEVOLENT’ on three as a unit. That’s actually one of my favourite things to do as part of the Benevolent journey.

Any final words for Metality’s readers?

I always say this, Benevolent has feelings for Metality. I’m talking legit emotions. You guys have been there from day one and continue to support us, so thank you so much and let’s have ourselves some fun on Friday in Dubai. Huge thanks to all the Benevolent fans for following our journey and being a part of it all. We love you all.

Stay connected with Benevolent:


Aramaic, despite being a relatively new band to come out of Dubai, have managed to develop an ever-growing fan base for their interesting brand of death-doom metal. After releasing their debut EP, The Fallen, the band have put out a new video for The King, and are anticipating opening up for Vader at Metal East Fest organized by JoScene and Metal East Records. Contributor Habib and Editor-in-Chief Kareem C had a chat with Aramaic's guitarist Fadi Al Shami:

You guys are opening for Vader at Metal East Fest on March 6! How excited are you?

Fadi: We are pretty fascinated by the fact that we are sharing the stage one of our idols, as much as sharing the stage with the rest of the bands as Benevolent, Voice of the Soul & Verdict.

Aramaic is a relatively new band to come out of the UAE. How did you guys come together?

The band started of when Michael and I got some jamming sessions together to find not so long after that we shared the same passion to write and compose what  comes later as the idea of Aramaic, the Middle Eastern band that rotates around the roots cultures and civilisation of the ancient arameans where all the band members descend from.

In your last show, you opened up for Indian metal mammoths Demonic Resurrection. Tell us about the show- it wasn’t at The Music Room.
All we can say that the show was a complete success audience, performance and energy wise, Aramaic & Demonic Resurrection gave all what they have on that stage  that night, the crowd was more than amazing, we saw some mosh pits going  around, and in such a  small place it was just a pleasure seeing the horns going up for  both bands.
Talking about a show not in the Music Room, we believe no matter where and what the venue is a band shall always give 200% for the fans who came from wherever  they to show their support.

Click here to RSVP

There’s a huge theme of Levantine and Mesopotamian mythology in your music. Tell us more about your musical (both Western and otherwise) and lyrical influences.

Aramaic is a self-explanatory name striking and new if we can say, as we know alot of the metal bands have addressed a lot of ancient civilisation which tend to a road  end when it comes to, Viking, Roman, Babylonian, Egyptian etc. yet no one had came  near the ancient aramean civilization whther its pre or post Christianity, with its beliefs, habits, wars, and Gods. Although some of the gods name like Nergal Shamesh has been mentioned exclusively in the polish metal scene precisely by  Behemoth & Hate.
Our lyrics are a reflection and merge between the old historical battles and stories  told by the ancient arameans especially the ones that are close to our recent times, you can read a story if you wanna know what the arameans went through our u can read between the lines to understand a present struggle in our world nowadays.

The band’s debut EP, The Fallen, has been well-received. We’ve already heard The King as we anticipate the next release. Can we expect any differences between the two releases or do you see them as continuous?

The first EP, was a huge step we have taken towards sharing our music and thoughts with the metal scene locally and internationally, so much effort was put into it trying  to come up with something unique that the others have'nt yet thought of, in the end  all the band members are from Arabic origins and you can see where all the Arabic tunes came from not to forget the main influences from the western metal bands like Swallow the Sun, Opeth, Behemoth etc. the part that kept the heaviness and the  crushing sound throughout the songs.  That effort  from all the band members  supported by the genius Hadi Sarieddine (Benevolent) who helped shape the  spirit of this album at Haven Studio. The Fallen is but a first step to whats coming  next we are cooking some huge ideas for the new upcoming album.

You guys recently put out a video for “The King”. Tell us more about the video and the song.

A waging war between SENNACHERIB, the King of Assyria, and HEZEKIAH "The Lord of the Land of Judah" a story thats inspired us writing "THE KING". The video was  filmed and produced by CTG Productions at The Sound Of Thunder Gig that took place in Dubai with Demonic Resurrection.

Can you tell us more about your on-stage costumes/clothing?

The theme of the band and its connection with the history was an opened door to come up with a sort of an outfit measured by wearing the old Arabic pants (sherwal) which was the farmers costumes back in the days in addition to the slight eyeliner  that Arab men used as well. Each band presents it's self in a certain image and we choose what suits the band's cultures combined with the Death Doom metal imagery.

Any pre-show rituals you’d like to share with us?
Band gathering with alot of alcohol and positive energy.

How would you best translate “ya leili ya ‘ayni” in English? You cant’ say “my night, my eye”?

The Night has always been that part which people sit back meditate dream think imagine and lay back roaming around every corner of this universe which we think its a flattering moment for the eye and the minds eye to be astonished but the beauty of it. That was Hard to explain!

Any last words for the readers of Metality?
Keep It Real Keep It Metal!

Stay connected with Aramaic


Here's a new metal band fresh out of Dubai, with a couple of familiar faces. Founded by drummer Muhammad Jaber (Chalice of Doom) and  guitarist Monish Shringi (Voice of the Soul), Verdict has one hell of a debut show: opening up for Vader at Metal East Fest on March 6th. Metality writer Habib had a chat with Muhammad about Verdict, comparing Jordan's scene with Dubai's, and what we can expect from the band in the near future.

Habib: Verdict is a new band from Dubai. How did you guys come together?

Muhammad Jaber: 

First of all I would like to thank the team of Metality for the support, it means a lot for us.

 It started in the late of 2014 when I spoke to Monish the guitarist of the Lebanon-Dubai band Voice of The Soul about starting a new project together , later on we got together with talented musicians which they are Ahmad Gameel on guitar and Sabtain Sharif on bass guitar, which eventually led to writing originals and starting a new project titled “Verdict”. 

What are your musical influences?

Musical influences would be many from oriental scales to uprising grooves. We have a quite diverse musical impact, since mostly each member brings something different to the table along with different influences and ideas.

How would you describe a song by Verdict?
Since all the members are influenced differently, music wise as well as lyric wise a typical verdict song can go in any direction. It can have djent, technical riffs or folk oriented patterns as the diversity is quite vast which opens gates to new sounds.

You have played in Jordan before with Chalice of Doom and you’ve experienced the scene there. How does the scene in the UAE differ from that in Jordan?


Chalice of Doom is one of the bands that I will always be proud to be a part of it, as its the same thing for the Jordanian scene which is a lot different than the scene in UAE 

in UAE the opportunities for the musicians is unlimited where they can start their own projects without having that idea that they might go to jail for playing their kind of Metal music, plus the fans of metal music in UAE have the choice to attend 1 to 2 gigs every month unlike in Jordan which it is difficult for us to make Metal concerts in Jordan because our society has this wrong idea about Metal music in general which makes it harder for the musicians in Jordan to make their own projects. I hope that will change someday.

Metal East Fest is organized by JoScene and Metal East Records
Are we going to hear your original material in your debut show at Metal East Fest (headlined by Vader) next month? 

Definitely, we are going to play 4 original songs to play for in Metal East Fest next month along with 1 cover.

Any hints on when we can expect some original material online for us to hear?

All I can say is that we are going to start recording after this event .

Any last words for Metality's readers?

We as musicians and as a band together are trying our best not to stay in a comfort zone, which means we are up to challenge ourselves in beating our own expectations. We are extremely excited to play and show what we have prepared to everyone to hear. 

Stay connected with Verdict:


You’re playing at Resurrection Dubai in March. It’s been a while since your last show. How do shows in Dubai differ from those in Bahrain?

Yeah it's been a while. Last time we played in Dubai was along with Melechesh and Nothnegal.
Shows in Dubai are usually the same as Bahrain. It's the same atmosphere with the same type of music. The crowd interaction might be a little weaker compared to Bahrain but it is more or less the same.

You guys are working on your new album: what can the fans expect? Will there be any major differences in the sound or style from the previous two albums?

Yes! We are working on our third album. It does sound different from our previous album I, Devourer in terms of how the music tends to progress in a way but still maintains the same SIF signature style. I'll leave that for the fans to decide which might be very soon.

Any news on the release date of the album?

Not yet. It's not that easy to write and gather ideas when you have three out of five members working in shift patterns. But nevertheless, we are aiming towards the end of this year.

What are your lyrical and musical influences?

With this album it's safe to say that there are a lot of death metal influences especially old school death metal and lyrically we are drawing a lot from real life experiences and lots of darker themes.

You’ve been around since 2005. How have things changed in Bahrain’s metal scene since then?

It has changed a lot since 2005. I can proudly say that Bahrain's metal scene has grown bigger and raised its standards through the last 10 years. With the ease of recording and promoting through the Internet, it's much easier for bands to spread their name and music around.

Resurrection Dubai is by Resurrection Events


What are some of your favorite metal bands from the Middle East?
Creative Waste, Scarab, Lunacyst, Motor Militia, Kaoteon, Deathless Anguish, Perversion.

What do you think is the most difficult aspect of being an extreme metal band in this region?
The problems we face are most probably finding shows on a regular basis. Unlike Dubai, it's kind of difficult to organize a metal show in Bahrain because of the lack of venues that would accept that kind of event and the strict rules against metal.

Which other bands are you looking forward to hearing at Resurrection Dubai?
All of them really. We've heard some of Devoid's songs and those guys seem pretty tight. We heard some good stuff from people who have seen them performing.

Any words of advice for people who want to start a band in the region?
Just play music you truly love and not  do something you're not enjoying
Because in the end metal is about expression and release, so don't worry about making it big
Because being successful in  music is just playing music. Always get involved and support your peers and help the metal community thrive in this region because we have some amazing musicians and people with amazing talents and need a chance to be part of this .

Is there anything you would like to add for Metality's readers?
Come down and check us out and the rest of the bands destroy the stage and support your local scene. You don't want to miss this event!
Stay connected with Smouldering in Forgotten


Here's a new band to make its way from the UAE. Kaihon consists of guitarists Bam Farra (Apeira, Voice of the Soul) and Jude Mascarenhas, as well as vocalist Lalit Mehta who sang in India-based electro-metal band Frequency. They put out a lyric video for their single Pathological out on Rolling Stone India, and it sounds pretty killer. Pathological was mixed and mastered by Keshav Dhar (Skyharbor) at Illusion Studios in India.

Pathological shows tons of influences from modern metal bands, but isn't short of awesome lead guitar work. It's a fast, in-your-face track that we really enjoyed listening to.

While we all anticipate future announcements, check out debut single Pathological below.



Band: Trepalium
Album: Damballa's Voodoo Doll
Genre: Groove Progressive Death Metal
Country: France
Release Date: February 9th 2015
Label:  Klonosphere/Season of Mist
Reviewer: Ziad Gadou
France is no stranger to the world of metal innovation. From Gojira and Nightmare to Alcest and Loudblast, France has spared nothing in its grandiose range of artists. The Poitou-Charentes’ “Trepalium” provide an explosive, relatable take on the 1930’s boogie feel of swing jazz.  Two installments and almost a hundred shows instilled this band in the underground extreme French metal scene. They have opened for numerous international festivals and played alongside bands like Aborted, Behemoth, Malevolent creation and Krisiun. 

Trepalium’s fifth installment, Damballa's Voodoo Doll is nothing short of class. “Moonshine Limbo” is a margin-defining track to the band’s direction of sound in the album. The dynamic groovy introduction riff will have your head banging and fingers snapping instantaneously. As the growls escalate in pitch and the riffs converge to a darker tone, “Damballa’s Voodoo Doll” takes you through an angry road filled with poly-rhythmic mishaps. “Blowjob on the Rocks” is easily the greatest title for a song I have ever come across. Every track lays down its story and prepares you for the next track with an unparalleled elegance. 

If I could sum up this album it would be in this question.
Have you ever wondered how Pantera would sound like if they played progressive jazz and had Randy Blythe as their vocalist? Fear no more, Trepalium has arrived to answer that very question.
Don’t let the tuxedoes and the saxophones confuse your basic metal instincts. These bad boys will rock your top hat off, probably your mustache too.  


Listen to Moonshine Limbo: 


Album: Garden of Dystopia
Band: Divine Disorder
Release Date: November 3rd, 2014
Label: Inazuma Productions
Reviewer: Habib Tabaja

Powerful, heavy, melodic, and spun with an air of dark intrigue and fantasy, the debut album “Garden of Dystopia” by Kuwait-based band Divine Disorder is a killer album.  Metal fans who lived in Kuwait will recognize a few of them  played for disbanded industrial metal band Positive Poison (Ed's note: major throwback). Featuring a wide array of guest musicians, the album pushes the envelope even further for metal in the Middle East. The album was mixed by Jens Bogren of Fascination Street Studios and was mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima of Tower Studio. Suffocation’s Kevin Talley plays the drums on this album. 

The opening track “Pandora’s Codex” opens with beautiful violins and choir vocals which build up to a heavy start with torrential drums, and an awesome guitar solo by Christofer Malmstrom of Darkane. Clean vocals by George Eliassen are also featured on this track. The following song “Children of Menace” is of even a heavier caliber as it boasts a Death Metal-style opening complete with heavy riffs and drumming, paired with cool synths and epic choir vocals. Karl Sanders of Nile lays down a brilliant solo in the second half of it, and it is a song worth headbanging to, even as it slows down towards its end.  

Another track worthy of note is “The Arcanist”, an even more dystopian and melodic track full of malefice, which has two brilliant guitar solos, the first by the late Shane Gibson (Korn) and the second by Karl Sanders. The drums on this track are particularly wonderful, and its ending is quit eerie. If there is one track with a memorable opening riff on this album, it would be “The Puppeteer”. Another powerful song with an emphasis on drumming, riffs, and growls, and also has clean vocals by Norwegian musician Dan-Elias Brevig
The 8th song on the album, “Animus” has some killer vocals, synth, and guitars, and features a guitar solo by Achokarlos  and the input of a cool instrument called the Theremin, operated by Kip RosserErez Yohanan also does Sound FX on this track. The 11th and final track “Rusted Libra” is the lengthiest on the album, playing out over 9 minutes of the sound that defines Divine Disorder’s Orchestral Death Metal style and approach to music. It features the clean vocals of Egan O’Rourke (Daylight Dies) and Dan-Elias Brevig, as well as the narration of Carlos Alvarez. It also has two great guitar solos by Yossi Sassi (Orphaned Land) and Gus Drax, in addition to a Duduk solo by Gevorg Dabaghyan and a violin solo by Elle Torry. It is a beautiful ending to a great album.

On a sad note, Korn guitarist Shane Gibson, who contributed to this album, never got to see it in its fully-produced form before his passing in April 2014. It is a great additon to the list of works that would immortalize him as a talented and brilliant musician.

This 11-track album is definitely a treat for lovers of various genres of metal, from Death Metal to Power Metal. The cover art by Strychneen Studios also fits directly into the album’s lyrical themes. It has great work on the production and getting all these musicians together in what seems to resemble more the work of a supergroup than it does that of a band. Divine Disorder (as well as their guest musicians) have surely outdone themselves and defined a new sound for the region’s emerging metal scene.

Stay connected with Divine Disorder


Bahrain-based Resurrection Events is organizing Resurrection Metal Night for the first time in Dubai. The event will be at the Music Room in the Majestic Hotel Bur Dubai on Friday the 13th of March. The gig will feature several of the region’s various metal and rock bands: Creative Waste (Saudi Arabia), Devoid (India), Stigmata (Sri Lanka), Smouldering in Forgotten (Bahrain), and Maticrust (Philippines).

Hailing from the region’s most underground scene, Creative Waste from Saudi Arabia will bring their grindcore sound to the heart of Dubai. India’s Devoid, who play a blend of Thrash and Death Metal and have recently released a new single from their upcoming album, are sure to bring further musical chaos to the Music Room. Stigmata, one of Sri Lanka’s heavy metal veterans, will also be taking part in this remarkable event. Also, one of the region’s most extreme bands, Smouldering in Forgotten from Bahrain will add their Blackened Death Metal touch to the show. In addition, Filipino grindcore band Maticrust will put out some heavy tunes at the gig.

A truly unique show that features bands from diverse metal genres from all throughout the region will surely be well-liked by the Dubai metal scene. 

For more details, check out their Facebook event page.


Multi-media US-based Egyptian artist NADER SADEK has debuted the final track from The Malefic: Chapter III, Descent

Nader Sadek had this to say about the song: "Initially for 'Descent'  I had asked Rune Eriksen to write a song that would  be a sequel to " Nigredo in Necromance," a song from our first record, with the exception of a few spoken word lines, an instrumental .  What Rune presented us with was way beyond my expectations and hopes, Multi-layering gives depth and a sense of exploration in the emotion of tragedy and remorse. The structure of the song  also carries you all the way up to the crescendo and then drops; this technique is utilized several times in the song. With the help of Flo Mounier's [CRYPTOPSY] non-static drumming, textures come and go, further intensifying the song. During the mixing stage, we had decided that it would be criminal not to include Carmen's amazing chants, as well as several passages of vocals with Travis Ryan's [CATTLE DECAPITATION] and I. Andreas Kisser's [SEPULTURA] solos give the song an unexpected turn, extending and conjuring warm emotions from an unexpected style, yet fitting seamlessly. We all pitched in on certain aspects of the mix at the Helm of Bassist Martin Rygiel. 'Descent"' is the perfect closer to the demise of the story line, and marks this song as one of our most collaborative efforts." 

In other news, Nader Sadek will be performing at Neurotic Deathfest in Tillburg, Holland (April 17-19, 2015).

Listen to Descent through the Soundcloud player below. We had a listen, and it sounds nothing more than top-notch death metal!


Dubai hard rock band Point of View have once again been busy with renowned guitarist Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal. This year, they visited Bahrain, where they were invited to a guitar clinic and played a collaborative show with musicians from Bahrain's scene. They did the same in Dubai. Contributor Habib Tabaja caught up with Bumblefoot and Point of View vocalist Nik Uzi at the Classic Rock Coffee Shop.

Interview with Bumblefoot:

You’re back in the Middle East. What have you been up to this time?

I went to Bahrain. There’s a wonderful organization there called JamUp that invited us to their first series of events, where we went with them to an autism school and played for the kids. We did workshops, and there was a nice meet and greet at Virgin Megastore. About 200 people showed up and it was great. Then we had a great concert with my buddies at Point of View. We all played a nice show together with a bunch of local musicians from Bahrain. They are a fantastic bunch of people that I had the pleasure of jamming with. After that, we hopped on a plane here to Dubai and played an awesome show yesterday at The Fridge in al Quoz, and today we’re having this great hangout at the Classic Rock Coffee Shop.

Which Middle Eastern countries/cities have you not visited so far but would like to visit next?

It’s the kind of thing were you want to cover every part of the world. You want to go everywhere; everywhere you have been and everywhere you haven’t been to. There’s a definite pleasure in going to places for the first time, where you can make new friends and connections with musicians.
So where do I want to go that I haven’t been already? I don’t know. Call me crazy, but there are a lot of places that I want to go to where the trouble is nowadays, where the fighting is, where people can use music for a moment of relief. So we can give them a moment of something to carry through difficult times.

What do you think of the rock and metal scene here in the UAE and the region?

It’s there! As far as whatever the most popular music genre is in different times across the world, the rock and metal scene is always there. The musicians are always there; everyone finds each other. There are great musicians all over the place. For example, a metal band from Iran would reach out on Facebook and show me the stuff that they’re working on. It’s there, and it’s growing like it is everywhere else. There are always genuine metalheads in the Middle East as the rest of the world. It’s great to know that anywhere in the world you can have a “musical home”: people that you can bond with, who know the same songs as you do, and who always get each other. Music is universal, especially in that sense.

What can the fans expect for 2015? Are there any major projects that you are working on for that year?
Well, if I stick to the deadlines, my new album will be released on February 24th. I don’t even have a name for the new album yet. The mixes are almost done. There’s also a band that I produced, as a recording project, that’s turning into something more which is going to have a release next year. It’s called Art of Anarchy. That should be pretty interesting. We shot some videos for it. It’s going to be an interesting year, 2015, between Bumblefoot and Art of Anarchy and whatever else. I have some mini-tours coming up in February and March. I have some Thailand and UK shows. I have something at a guitar festival in France also. I’m also doing a rock school in the island of Corfu in Greece in August. People can come down to Corfu so I can torture them musically for a week! So we can work on music during the day, chill on the beaches in the afternoon, and then go to different pubs at night and jam. It’s going to be a busy year!

What’s so special about your own hot sauce?

There’s a combination of different flavors and ingredients in there and various levels of spiciness. The strongest one is called Bumblefucked. It contains ginger and tropical fruit. It also has ginseng and caffeine like an energy shot. One little drop of it will set you on fire for a good ten minutes!

Are any bands that have recently caught your attention?

One that’s really caught my attention is a band called Thank You Scientist. They are a phenomenal band. They touch every part of your being. Their music is intellectual, passionate, and melodic. It’s very interesting, and you can’t not like it! Great stuff. To me, that’s the best new band that I’ve heard.

Any words for the readers of Metality?

Thank you for reading this! I hope to get to see you someday. Enjoy 2015! 

Interview with Nik Uzi:

What are some of POV's plans for the near future? Are you guys working on a successor to Revolutionize the Revolutionary?

We’re working on the second album for sure. We have 11 songs ready, but we haven’t started recording. We feel that we haven’t read into the first album enough, even though we’ve sold more than 800 copies of it. We also missed out on an important thing, which is making good videos for the first album. So we want videos to be done for the first album, which will happen in the next two months. Simultaneously, we’ll start gently tracking the new album.

Tell us about what you and Bumblefoot have been up this time. Do you think he'll make an appearance on the new album?

There’s a lot going on between us and Bumblefoot. We’re looking to work more with him in the upcoming year. We’re planning more gigs for the Middle East and in other parts of Asia such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. He definitely is on the second album. He’s playing a guest track with us plus he appears in more than one song which is jointly composed by us. We are collaborating with him on a lot of other things as well. We’re working on some Bollywood projects together, which isn’t part of Point of View. He is like a mentor to us, and we love working with him. He’s going to be a prominent figure in Point of View's work, in anything and everything we do.
I mean, what’s the best you can do as a musician in Dubai eventually? You’ll play a few small gigs and then get an opening slot for some big festival somewhere in Abu Dhabi, and after that what? You’ll get some other small gigs again and that’s the end of the story. We really don’t want to restrict ourselves to this locale, even though the scene here is amazing. We want to grow, and for us to do that, we need to get out of the local scene. Bumblefoot is our opening connection to the West, and he shamelessly promotes us there to other big acts. He loves our music. We’re definitely going to seize the opportunity and see what we can do with this help that we have. He has plans for the West and Asia for us.

What can we expect from the new album? Any hints on a potential release date?

We’re looking at a second half of 2015 release for it. Our sound essentially is standard; it’s a heavy riff-driven guitar sound basically. So that characteristic will remain the same. The first album was rather political. It had a lot of songs about issues that people face in society. The new album is a bit more relaxed; it’s more about personal experiences, and the sounds are more diverse, ranging from alternative to grunge, but still retaining that heavy element to it. I think our style of writing is going to remain the same, although the subjects might change. It will still be that heavy-riff driven melodious album, with guitar solos and vocal melodies.

Any words for the readers of Metality?

Support the scene. I know this is said a lot of times, but after what I saw in Bahrain, I have to say it again. We played a gig in Bahrain yesterday for 800 people. There, we had people who were insisting on paying for the show even though they were offered to be on the guest list. I think that is something that needs to happen in the scene here in the UAE. People should support the local bands. People need to give up a little bit of money to go see a good band. Be true to your music, support the scene, and try to make some free time to go to shows instead of coming up with excuses like “I have a barbeque to go to today”. We need a genuine, supportive scene. In Bahrain, there were people willing to pay up to 250 dirhams for a guitar workshop, which is unheard of here. As far as Point of View goes, listen to our album and go check us out on social media and on our website If you like the music, don’t be ashamed to tell us that you like it. Come to our shows and tell us. Listen to good music; that’s what we are all about! Thank you!