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 HADI SARIEDDINE (BENEVOLENT)



Dubai extreme prog-metallers Benevolent couldn't have been busier this year promoting their impressive full-length The Covenant. They're currently gearing up for Gulf Bike Week 2014 at Dubai Media City. Metalitys' Habib Tabaja met with guitarist and clean vocalist Hadi Sarieddine, and had a chat about the making of the album, future plans, and all the action happening at Haven Studio.

Hey, Hadi! How’s it going?

It’s going great, man. How are you?

I’m good, thank you. Congratulations on releasing your debut full-length album, The Covenant. What was the recording experience like? And what are your expectations for the band after this release?

It was a little crazy. The first thing I came up with was a month after The Divided EP was released, specifically in December 2010 when I started jotting down some riffs, all of which I deleted and threw away because they sounded like shit. In my frame of mind, the first thing that came together was the song The Seeker. After that, I think it was Metamorphosis. Those were the two flagship songs that dictated how the rest of the record would sound like. After Metamorphosis was written, that sound of really dropped tuning and all the celestial sounds in the background set the tone for the rest of album. After that, I wrote Asphyxia, which is my personal favorite on the record. I wrote the lyrics for that song during a period in which I experienced frequent anxiety attacks. The lyrics describe the sequence of events I went through while going through those anxiety attacks, so that song is really special to me. It’s about how everything seems a lot worse than it really is, and how all this imagined peril is believable.

We wrote most of the record between 2011 and 2012, and we sent the music files to Andols Herrick, who recorded the drums on the album. We went over a few different options regarding who will mix and master the record, so we decided that it’s best that we mixed it at my own studio, Haven Studio, which is where I also worked on producing the album. Acle Kahney from Tesseract mastered the album.

As for my expectations for the band after this release, here’s what I can say: When you’re in this whole music thing and your heart and soul are all in it as well, you look at ridiculous goals. Your job is to aim for the ridiculous. Aim for the unreal, and make it real. That’s that attitude that we have. Do we have some specific goals as a band? Yes, we have some short-term goals that we are trying to achieve, but the general consensus is to get that tunnel vision and keep chasing that thing at the end of the tunnel. Chase that bitch like there’s no tomorrow.

What was working with Andols Herrick like?

It was fantastic. He’s an amazing guy, and a lovely person. Very down to earth. We couldn’t believe the fact that he was working with us on our songs. He sent us two videos of him recording the drum tracks over our songs, and we were just sitting there, star-struck.
He is a great communicator and is really into the music we were working on, so that really inspired us.

Can you elaborate on some of your favorite lyrical themes in it?

The Covenant isn’t really a concept album, but we like to think of it as an “audible translation” of a timestamp, of a chapter in your life. An album usually comes together over a year or two, depending on how much time you spent working on it and how fast you wanted to get it done. The lyrics reflect us absorbing all of our daily and life experiences during the period in which it was written.
My favorite lyrics definitely include those of Asphyxia, as I mentioned before. It’s a very personal song. I also like Ascension, because it pays tribute to David Gold. That’s something really special to me as well.
The song Metamorphosis is a song we avoid nowadays, because it’s a really dark and negative song. I was discussing it with my brother Fadi (the growler of Benevolent) not too long ago, and he asked me “What the hell were you going through when you wrote that song?” The song is about somebody who gets possessed and incarnated by Satan, so that person starts to see the world differently. It’s a very dark song. We’re not a Satanic band nor a religious band in any way whatsoever. We stay clear of that. Whatever works for anybody, we’re on board. We don’t judge. We’re cool with everything and everyone. We don’t have that kind of agenda. We just like to absorb personal stories into music with a celestial twist. That’s the general way of the lyrics.



We’re seeing you at Gulf Bike Week this Thursday. What can the fans expect? Are there any plans for future shows in the near future?

There are definitely plans for shows in the near future. Bike Week is going to be fun. This is the second time we play in it. We first played there in 2012. We’re going to be mostly playing stuff from The Covenant, and probably one track from The Divided. It’s going to be a blast. We’ve never played in Dubai Media City Amphitheatre before, so that’s something exciting. It should be fun and pretty heavy.

 Do you have any pre-show rituals that you and the guys rely on for good vibes?

I like to walk around the venue a lot. My personal ritual is to get there early, and not leave the venue, even after we completed our sound check. I like to walk around, soak up the energy, and look at the stage from different places, and just be in that mental frame to imagine how the show will look like to the people. I have this OCD kind of thing where I have to be all the time at the venue before the show.
As for the band in general, we usually huddle up and have an emotional speech before getting on stage.

Your YouTube presence has been on the rise over the past year. How did that happen, and how important is it for artists to be active on YouTube?

I think it’s really important because the aesthetics of a musical product are greatly strengthened by visuals. We can listen to a great song right now and we’ll just say, “Oh that’s pretty cool.” But if we see the musician in action, showing how he works the chords and the instruments, while showing his or her facial expressions while playing the song, it really builds a stronger connection to the listener than would a song without video. It’s more enjoyable that way. People “listen to music with their eyes”. That’s why I think it’s necessary for a musician to have a YouTube presence.

How did it happen? Well it was December 2012, and it was about a year after David Gold passed away, and I had already set in mind a few months before that I wanted to do something to pay tribute to a really good friend who is not with us anymore. So I put together a cover of one of my favorite songs ever, Finality (by Woods of Ypres). I thought that if this tribute is going to reach people, it should be more than just an audio recording. At that time, I had just purchased a DSLR camera but I had no idea how to use it. Fortunately, I was living with my cousin at the time, who is a videographer, so I learned a few things from him. Then I recorded the video by myself and edited it with a video-editing software. The reactions to it were amazing and I had a blast putting it together. I then decided I should do more covers and videos. I tried to do one every month. I’ve done Lethean by Katatonia, Weak and Powerless by A Perfect Circle, and Until It’s Gone by Linkin Park. I’ve also got a Devin Townsend one coming up with a female guest vocalist who totally killed it. There’s also a song by In Color, which is a completely acoustic song. It’s just vocals and acoustic guitar, without harmonies. It’s something really stripped down. Making covers and videos like these is definitely something I enjoy.

You’ve worked on plenty of albums at Haven Studio, such as Svengali’s Unscathed EP and Voice of the Soul’s Catacombs. What’s next for Haven Studio?

I’m working with AKB (Alpha.Kenny.Buddy), a pretty badass Nu-Metal band. I always feel like I’m in the year 2001 when they’re in the room. It’s all straight-up Nu-Metal. Just 4/4 in your face, no bullshit. I love that. They’re really cool people to work with.
I’m also busy recording demos over there with the rest of the guys from Benevolent for the new album.

Was your cat ever part of the recording process? Did he help, maybe inspiration-wise?

Yes! Actually, both of my cats (Bear and Mini), helped massively on the record: [laughs] changing strings, dialing in my tones, and re-recording parts that I couldn’t play in my sleep so it doesn’t mess with my ego.

I’m a huge cat person. I’ve had them with me when I was living in Kuwait, and I got them here with me to the UAE when I moved here. They’re definitely a part of the family, a part of our music, and a part of our lives.


We’ve seen a few posts here and there about new Benevolent material. We know you can’t give away too much info, but how would you describe it in three words?

I don’t know. Those are the three words. It’s in very early phases. I don’t know how to describe it. Every time you really want to do something, you also want to evolve, but not forcefully. We are naturally evolving as individuals and artists. It’s good to be organic and capture that reality and genuineness into the music.

What songs have been on your playlist lately?

I’ve been listening to a bit of Animals As Leaders’ album Joy in Motion. I’ve also been listening to quite a bit of Katatonia, as always. I’ve been listening to things like Creed and Alter Bridge. Some really experimental stuff too. A friend of mine just put me to listen to Gotye’s “Heart’s a Mess”, and it’s been on repeat. I love that song. I listen to a lot of non-metal stuff too, you know.
I just go on YouTube from one song to another, then after 6 hours I end up listening to some band from I don’t know where. It’s like getting lost down the rabbit hole.

Any final words for the readers of Metality?

I just want to say thank you to Metality. They’re always very supportive of us and the metal scene here.

If you’re in town, come down to Gulf Bike Week and have fun with us at our show. If you can’t catch us now, stay tuned for future gigs. Grab a copy of The Covenant; it’s available digitally on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, and Amazon. It’s available digitally on so many places that I can’t keep track of all the sites it’s on. You can also buy the physical CD from our BigCartel online shop. Thank you!


If you haven't had the chance to listen to The Covenant, start off with The Seeker and Radiate!

E.Y.E. - KALLISTI [REVIEW]



Band: Empty Yard Experiment
Album: Kallisti
Genre: Progressive/Experimental Metal
Country: Dubai, UAE 
Release Date: 29th September, 2014
Label: Self-release
Reviewer: Hashim AlNasser

Empty Yard Experiment (E.Y.E) is a Dubai-based musical outfit formed in 2007 whose members hail from Serbia, Iran and India. Bringing with them a unique mix of numerous sounds and styles and citing Tool, Porcupine Tree and Mogwai as some of their influences, they have gone on to open for a number of critically acclaimed international musicians such as Evanescence, Anathema and Metallica and are gearing up to tour the UK this coming December.

When I was given the opportunity to review Kallisti, I was told only 1 thing, "Think Tool, meets Alice in Chains, and Porcupine Tree all mushed up". Having listened to the album almost non-stop since, I couldn't have said it better myself. I always try to go into a listening experience with no expectations, but Empty Yard Experiment easily exceeded all possible expectations I could have had prior. 

Starting off with the haunting piano tones of Sunyata, E.Y.E.'s Kallisti takes you on a 14-track whirlwind of a journey, showcasing the bands genre-spanning sound with gusto. Musically, the album doesn't disappoint. In Kallisti, they've managed to incorporate a number of familiar sounds and styles inspired by their influences while still successfully writing an hour's worth of new and inspiring original material. Whether it's ambient post-rock you're looking for or more hard-hitting prog rock, it can be found on this album. 

The vocals of E.Y.E's Bojan Preradovic ring a wonderful blend of those of Maynard James Keenan and Layne Staley (particularly in terms of their choice of harmonies) while still maintaining a very original sound. I personally am a huge fan of the musicianship of the album, from the guitar parts, to the hypnotic use of keyboard, and tasteful drumming, one thing I've noticed about this band is how 'true to their craft' they are, leaning more towards making the music itself the main experience, rather than covering it up with more 'flashy' guitar lines which I feel would have taken away from the overall experience. The stretches of softer ambient passages placed throughout the album offer a great glimpse into the experimental side of the band and their use of tones and production really pull you in as a listener.

I've always been an advocate for 'less-is-more' in that the more I say about this album, the more I feel I will be taking away from your own experience of it as I feel Kallisti is an hour-long tour de force that needs to be experienced. If I'm to recommend anything else, it is to listen to the album from start to finish with your full attention and without pause. 

 9.5/10

Stream and purchase Kallisti on E.Y.E.'s Bandcamp page.


CONTEST: WIN TICKETS TO THE 2014 GULF BIKE WEEK (UAE)


The 2014 Gulf Bike Week is back in action as of next weekend, and we couldn't be more excited. While there are some bike enthusiasts among us at Metality, we couldn't help but get stoked about the two music stages at this year's event, featuring some of our favorite local metal and rock bands, including Coat of Arms, Tartarus, and Benevolent. Alright, enough talk!

Win 2 tickets to Gulf Bike Week:
Answer the question below and win 2 (yes, 2) tickets to attend one day of Gulf Bike Week with a friend. The competition closes on Tuesday, October 28.

Which is a band performing at Gulf Bike Week 2014?

A. Bloated Arms

B. Goats and Farms

C. Coat of Arms

D. Cats and Yarns

ZAKLON - NIKOLI [REVIEW]


Band Name: Zaklon
Album: Nikoli
Release Date: October 2014
Label: Embassy Row Music (US), Possession Productions (Europe)
Reviewer: Habib Tabaja

The one-man Black Metal project from Belarus, Zaklon, has produced a fourth studio album titled Nikoli (Never). Set for a limited, 1000 copy-release, the album comes with a 16-page booklet containing the release’s lyrics and artistic impressions of the Belarusian fall. The project, which was started by musician Temnarod in 1999, has released 3 other albums since 2010 as well as several demos in earlier years.

The first song, “Atruta” (Poisoned), begins with the sounds of Belarusian nature in the fall and spoken words in the Belarusian language before plunging into a riveting, beautiful Atmospheric Black Metal melody accompanied by Temnarod’s vicious vocals, which suit the song and album quite well. Well-paced guitars, drums, and bass encompass the song’s entire 14 minutes. The track ends on a lighter note.  A great opener to a dark and melancholic album for this fall season.
The next track, “Dolu” (Down), continues to shape further the harrowing atmosphere of the album with faster guitars than the first track and a generally more melodic tune. The vocals are also fitting for the gloomy nature of the song. Some might say it is a bit monotonous or repetitive, but they are missing out on the slow descent into the cold Belarusian forests that Zaklon evokes with their music.
Playing over the sounds of rain, the title track “Nikoli” (Never), is sure to draw you further into the ancient woods of Belarus with a doom-like style that is complemented with fast, melodic guitar riffs and powerful vocals. This heavy tune paints a bleak yet resplendent picture of the Belarusian groves in the fall.

If the previous tracks weren’t enough to throw your imagination into the stark scenery of the Eastern European woods, then the track Sliach (Road) will surely do that for you with its vigorous sounds and guitar play, which also continue with even more impressive tunes in the next track, Ahni (Lights). This musical piece is mesmerizing in a sense that it transports you into the heart of the fall under the grey skies of Belarus. It is also one of the most versatile tracks on the album with great progression and a variety of sounds that lean towards Doom Metal elements. Personally, this is my favorite track from this wonderful album.

It seems that Zaklon wanted to end the album with a quiet, soothing song, and they did that quite well with Dym (Smoke), which is the shortest track on the album and features acoustic guitar and violin sounds as well as a flute. There is no growling on this song, but rather Temnarod’s compelling and resilient speech in Belarusian accompanied by tranquil music that concludes one’s journey into the fall-consumed woods.


Overall, I believe Zaklon did a remarkable job with this release. Despite the tracks being rather lengthy, I did not feel one second of boredom because this album has several elements that eliminate the redundancy some black metal bands are stuck in. Moreover, a unique element of this release is that the lyrics are sung in the Belarusian language, which adds a local cultural element to the music and offers a differentiating factor to it. While the album contained plenty of Doom Metal elements, it still captured the essence of Black Metal in an efficient manner. The album artwork beautifully complements its music. A very impressive piece of Atmospheric Black Metal.

8/10



Listen to Nikoli through Possession Productions' Bandcamp player below:


AT THE GATES RELEASE NEW VIDEO



Gothenburg legends At The Gates return with a brilliant video for the song Death and the Labyrinth from their long-awaited comeback album At War With Reality, which will be released on October 28th on Century Media Records. The video, directed by Patric Ullaeus of Revolver, was shot in the deserts of the US Southwest and features the band's vocalist Thomas Lindberg along with natural scenery shot almost entirely in black and white. The song itself heralds a powerful album that the fans have long been awaiting. Heavy, melodic, and aggressive, it's just skull-crushing. We're already excited about this album, and this video got us more stoked! 

Watch Death and the Labyrinth below!

DEMONIC RESURRECTION RELEASE NEW VIDEO


Indian metal veterans Demonic Resurrection released a new music video for Death, Desolation And Despair off their latest album, The Demon King

Frontman Sahil 'Demonstealer' Makhija commented on the new video to Metality, "The video took a long time to release. The shooting was actually wrapped up fairly quick and though it was just a one day shoot it was grueling to say the least given the location for the shoot and the amount of smoke and heat. So we were actually finished shooting in June itself but then the edit took a while and given that we were on tour it made sense to release it when we got back from the UK. Futher developments lead to a little more delay but we're super happy with the way it turned out. Definitely made the wait worth it."


The Demon King is availaable worldwide on Candlelight Records and Universal Music.


Check out the new video below! 

UNDERRATED: IN FLAMES


In Flames, founded in 1991, are generally known for being one of the pioneers of Melodic Death Metal through their own style that is known as the “Gothenburg Sound”, in relation to their hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. They, along with other bands in the Gothenburg scene (most notably At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and Soilwork), have either further developed this scene or transitioned into a totally different subgenre. In Flames are known for their extremely melodic riffs and menacing guitar solos, as well as the occasional use of keyboards and violins in their songs. With the recent transition of the band into a style unfamiliar to their fans with their new album, Siren Charms, which has received mixed reactions, we take a look at their top 5 underrated songs from previous albums.


“Black and White”, from Reroute to Remain (2002)

Typically considered as their “transitional album” from classic Melodic Death Metal into more of an alternative, modern sound, Reroute to Remain contains several of their most popular songs, including Cloud Connected and Trigger, both of which have produced music videos. Metaphor is also notable from this album among fans of In Flames for including Anders Friden’s clean vocals in the entire song along with epic movie-like drums and violins.

One song that perhaps didn’t garner much attention on this album is Black and White, the final track. It is generally an aggressive, heavy track compared to the rest of the album, and could somehow be the heaviest song on the album. The track begins with what sounds like a cassette tape being abruptly stopped during its playing. Daniel Svensson’s drumming is quite powerful in this track, as well as Anders’ growling vocals that are reminiscent of the previous album, Clayman. Then-guitarist Jesper Strömblad’s fast riffs add an even more bellicose tune to the song. The solo towards the end is short, but also beautiful and suitable for the song. Ander’s clean vocals in the chorus also fit the song quite well. The rhythm of the song generally speeds up and slows down suddenly, which makes it an even more unique song on the album. Lyrically, the song focuses on personal contradictions and an inner conflict.


“Borders and Shading”, from Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004)

Further progressing away from their classic Melodic Death Metal roots, In Flames greatly adds the elements of keyboards and synthesizers in Soundtrack to your Escape. Songs from this album that have received wide admiration include My Sweet Shadow, The Quiet Place, Like You Better Dead, and Touch of Red, all of which have been made into music videos. Dead Alone and Evil in a Closet are also well-noted songs from the album.

However, Borders and Shading isn’t well-recognized on this album. The moderately-paced song packs a punch of catchy riffs, Anders’ screams and Korn-style clean vocals, as well as some nice synths in the background. Its lyrics are dark and appealing to the atmosphere of the album. The progression of the song is attractive in a sense that Strömblad’s heavy riffs kick in at the right moments, reminiscent of their earlier styles in Clayman and Colony. One beautiful thing about this song is Anders’ transition from clean vocals to piercing screams, reflecting the agony and longing portrayed in the lyrics.


“Bullet Ride”, from Clayman (2000)

One of In Flames’ most celebrated albums, Clayman is widely acclaimed by almost all In Flames fans. A set of powerful, melodic tunes that many in the metal community revere, this album contains classic In Flames hits like Clayman, Suburban Me, Only for the Weak, and Pinball Map. The latter two have been made into music videos. It is also considered by many to be In Flames’ last “true” Melodic Death Metal album, and perhaps one of the best.

A song that doesn’t really come to mind when mentioning Clayman is Bullet Ride, although it is the first track of the album. A rather slower-paced track compared to the rest of the album, this song includes aggressive, melodic guitar riffs that characterize In Flames’ style, as well as the significant primary use of Anders’ clean vocals coupled with his screams. An emotional song on a generally belligerent album, it vacillates between soft and heavy sounds, giving the song a gripping atmosphere of personal struggle and insanity.


“Everlost, Part I”, from Lunar Strain (1994)


In Flames’ debut album sounds quite different than the following releases, not only because of Mikael Stanne’s vocals instead of Anders’ but also because of the raw, churning guitar sound that dominated this album. Classic Melodic Death Metal hits from this album include Upon an Oaken Throne, Behind Space, and Clad in ShadowsLunar Strain generally fits the description of a classic Melodic Death Metal album and the Gothenburg sound at a time when the genre was still nascent.


However, Everlost, Part I didn’t receive widespread acclaim like those aforementioned songs. The song has a unique sound to it that sets it apart from the rest of the album. The slow, raw, and doom-like character of the guitars on this song combined with Stanne’s aggressive, screaming black metal-type vocals create a powerful, melancholic tune that captivates the listener. The drumming is excellent and well-timed as well. Progression is also a notable characteristic with the slowing of the rhythm at certain points of the songs. The guitar solo towards the end of the song is beautiful, soulful, and raw though perhaps too short. Another key feature that defines this song is Stanne’s screams at the beginning and the end, plunging the song’s atmosphere into a harrowing chill. Acoustic guitar also plays at the end of the song, which heralds the start of the song’s more popular counterpart Everlost, Part II, which features female vocals and acoustic guitars in its entirety.


“Worlds within the Margin”, from Whoracle (1997)

An In Flames fans’ favorite, Whoracle is still considered one the band’s best-ever releases. Known for its rhythmic and highly melodic sound, this album presented well-known songs like Episode 666, Food for the Gods, Jotun, and a cover of Depeche Mode’s Everything Counts. The third album of In Flames registered generally well with their fans, new and old.

One song from this album that is quite underrated is Worlds within the Margin, a heavy track that clearly demonstrates Anders’ primal growls along with an epic atmosphere created by drums and keyboards. The riffs and chorus are quite catchy as well. The rhythm of this song is quite intriguing with its lyrics and progression. Lyrically, it does a good job in describing some sort of an apocalyptic event regarding the fall of human civilization. Every single aspect of this song is brilliant. A fast guitar solo performed by Strömblad makes it even more epic. Overall, it is a very impressive, headbang-inducing piece of music. 

By Habib Tabaja