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.



LARS ULRICH Offers Update

On METALLICA's Next Album


June 7th

Latest Posts


Legions of Aramaic, rejoice!

Dubai-based oriental metal band Aramaic recently recruited Hendrik "Tempest" Woydnyski (of Maat) as their new drummer. This new addition comes after Aramaic's guitarist Fadi Al Shami contacted Hendrik back in January, as Fadi thought Aramaic's music could provide the proper platform for Hendrik to express himself freely beyond the drum kit.

The Berlin-born Hendrik has had a passion for drumming in heavy and extreme music from the young age of 6, primarily inspired by the many bands his mother listened to, such as Megadeth, Guns 'n Roses, and Type O Negative. He later discovered and developed a powerul love for a different style of drumming after listening to Annihilator and Dimmu Borgir among many other extreme metal acts.

Hendrik's other band Maat, significantly influenced by Behemoth and Nile, was formed in 2010 with with Kris (Thot) and Franko (Scaradeus) and has supported bands such as Six Feet Under, Anaal Nathrakh, Dark Funeral, and Entombed in live performances. They released their first album ‘As We Create The Hope From Above’ in 2014 and have been enjoying successes and meeting and working with musicians across the globe since.

Hendrik is definitely a fantastic addition to the Dubai metal scene and will surely contribute towards their growth both musically and geographically, beyond the region.

Check out this playthrough video of Hendrik rocking the drums to Aramaic's "The Pledge":

You can find Aramaic on Facebook here, and Maat here.


by Habib Tabaja

One of the few bands that I never get tired of listening to is Dark Tranquillity. They are one of the three Melodic Death Metal bands that defined the Gothenburg sound, and now carry it on with an electronic twist so full of energy and talent. They’ve been at it since 1989, and are still going strong today with their 10th studio album Construct, which was released in 2013. Of course, that means one has a trove of their songs to explore, but there are definitely some of them which aren’t quite well-known but are definitely worth listening to.

“At Loss for Words” from Haven (2000).

Being an album that marked Dark Tranquillity’s new focus on the addition of keyboards and electronic elements to their music, Haven contained some well-known songs such as “The Wonders at Your Feet” and “Rundown”. However, a song I believe that is also worthy of note is “At Loss for Words”, which not only features Dark Tranquillity’s mesmerizing new electronic music elements but also soothing piano that contrasts with the fast, heavy riffs. Mikael Stanne’s vocals are also wonderfully striking throughout the song as they transition from aggressive growls to raspy intonations.

“Inside the Particle Storm” from Fiction (2007).

Fiction was noted by many as the album that defined the band’s current sound. It also contains some of their most popular songs, such as “Misery’s Crown”, “Terminus”, and “Focus Shift”. Although overshadowed by these tracks, “Inside the Particle Storm” proves to be a notable Dark Tranquillity song. The intro is slow yet gripping with its synth, guitar, and drums. Its lyrics revolve around a nuclear holocaust and the End of Days, and Mikael Stanne does really well in painting that harrowing atmosphere with his vocals. Alternating between fast and slow sections, the song progresses beautifully and has one of the best Dark Tranquillity guitar solos that complements its ambience.

“Cathode Ray Sunshine” from Damage Done (2002).

A powerful album, Damage Done pushed the musical boundaries of Dark Tranquillity further as they became even more melodic and heavy. Hits from this album include “Monochromatic Stains”, “The Enemy”, and “The Final Resistance”. However, there is a fine track that usually goes unnoticed when one mentions this album, and it is “Cathode Ray Sunshine”. Melodic guitars, heavy riffs, and a fast rhythm make it a brilliant song along with Stanne’s vocals which always seem to flow accordingly with the riffs. The song itself constitutes a complete headbanging experience.

“Still Moving Sinews” from The Mind’s I (1997).

I don’t know why, but I see The Mind’s I as Dark Tranquillity’s “least-noticed” album, even though it contains some of their more popular tracks like “Insanity’s Crescendo” and “Hedon”. When I go through this album, one song that always stands out is “Still-Moving Sinews”. It gives the same vibes as their previous album, The Gallery, does. The guitars in it are also a bit different from the rest of the album. If The Mind’s I has to have a “trademark” Dark Tranquillity song, it should be this one.

“On Your Time” from Projector (1998).

Although Projector presented a significant departure from their original Melodic Death Metal sound, Dark Tranquillity diversified their musical footprint with this album. “ThereIn”, “Auctioned”, and “Dobermann” are the generally recognizable tracks from Projector. Apart from those, the song “On Your Time” proves to be an excellent demonstration of the band’s new style for that album, incorporating Mikael Stanne’s new operatic baritone vocals with his growls. A great drums-dominated opening begins a musical journey that is fraught with heavy, melodic guitars, giving you that “pumped up” feeling. I think it has the best of both the classical and the then-new Dark Tranquillity sound.

“With the Flaming Shades of Fall” from Of Chaos and Eternal Night EP (1995)

Often coupled with the band’s prior release in 1993 Skydancer, the Of Chaos and Eternal Night EP was released twice. And, perhaps for that reason, its songs are overshadowed by those of the Skydancer album. Perhaps one song that usually eludes some fans of the band is “With the Flaming Shades of Fall”, a gripping tale about the change of seasons embellished with mythological delight. The opening of the track features impressive guitar and drum work; Sundin and Jivarp demonstrate the band’s efficacy in painting a mental picture of the song’s theme. Stanne’s screams and growls are passionate and full of emotion. The main riff and bass lines repeated throughout the song are another reason to enjoy this musical work.

“Shadow Duet” from Skydancer (1993)

The band’s first full-length album Skydancer featured current vocalist Mikael Stanne on guitars and In FlamesAnders Friden on vocals. Characterized by raw guitar double-guitar sounds and a female guest vocalist, Skydancer perfectly captures the early years of the Gothenburg metal scene. Memorable songs from the album include “A Bolt of Blazing Gold” and “Alone”. One impressive, underrated song among Gothenburg metal fan circles is “Shadow Duet”, which features both Friden and Stanne on vocals in a truly dark medley of growls and guitars. Wonderful bass lines and drumming complement the song’s remarkable guitar riffs and alternation between slow and fast-paced parts. Occasional acoustic guitars and Mikael Stanne’s clean vocals complete the formula for a brilliant early Melodic Death Metal song.

“Cornered” from Exposures: In Retrospect and Denial (2004).

A compilation of both new bonus tracks and older Dark Tranquillity hits, Exposures features a bevy of the band’s diverse sounds. It contains many fan favorites, such as “Static” and “No One”. However, one song I find also worth mentioning from that period is “Cornered”. It packs a punch of heavy electronic influences, keyboards, fast melodic guitars, and heavy drumming. The progression of the song between louder and quieter parts is delectable accompanied by Stanne’s well-timed vocals.

“Dry Run” from Character (2005).

Often considered the “transitionary” album between the band’s styles in Damage Done and Fiction, Character features more piano tunes and synth to create a dark yet energetic ambience to Dark Tranquillity’s music. Songs associated with this album include “Lost to Apathy”, “The New Build”, and “Out of Nothing”. A song I felt that didn’t garner much attention is “Dry Run”. The track has a catchy chorus, aggressive vocals, and a perfect keyboards and piano addition to its powerful, fast guitars. Jivarp does an impressive job on the drums as well.

“The Emptiness from Which I Fed” from The Gallery (1995).

The Gallery is greatly considered Dark Tranquillity’s most significant contribution to the original Gothenburg metal scene, along with In FlamesThe Jester Race and At The GatesSlaughter of the Soul. It features all the classical, defining Melodic Death Metal elements: a female guest vocalist, torrential drumming, and double guitars. Well-known and revered songs from this album include “Punish My Heaven”, “Lethe”, “The Gallery”, and “Of Melancholy Burning”. Often less mentioned, “The Emptiness from Which I Fed” is one of my most favorite Dark Tranquillity songs. Everything about this song is incredible: the drumming, the melodic guitars, the vocals, and the poetic lyrics. Niklas Sundin does some of his most impressive work in this song. Also, Stanne’s screams are at his most powerful and passionate here. It surely is a must-listen song for any Melodic Death Metal and Gothenburg scene fan. 

In conclusion, it is safe to say that Dark Tranquillity are a band that have continuously formed depth and diversity in their musical works, ranging from lyrical themes to the music itself, as demonstrated in the above list. They are a band that are still putting themselves out there today and are, without a shadow of doubt, a band that one should look out for in today's world of metal. Their discography is a musical journey definitely worth exploring and re-visiting. 


Album: Luminiferous
Band: High on Fire
Label: eOne Music
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Reviewer: Alex Ghali

Hello, freaks and geeks! It’s time for another album review! Today’s offering comes to you from the slimy, crusty streets of northern California, where goodness dare not go. In case you’ve been living under a rock, denizens of that realm, High on Fire released their 17th album, Luminiferous, not too long ago. Like their previous works, this one is ugly in all the right ways.

Born out of the ashes of the phenomenal Sleep, High on Fire have evolved from your average Stoner/Doom outfit (not to say that they were ever average) to the hard-hitting tsunami of sludge you hear today. Don’t believe me? I’ll let this review do the talking.

The Black Plot
Where other bands start their albums off with ominous, slowly growing intros, High on Fire waste no time by instead opening with a menacing riff to set the stage. Their hardcore and thrash influences are prominent in the frenzied rhythm section, and Matt Pike’s vocal work takes on a more melodic but snarling tone. At 3:53 the song comes to a seemingly abrupt halt, only for the silence to be broken by the filthy, twisted wailing of the concluding guitar solo.

At 0:00 you’re greeted with a merciless double-bass barrage that opens up for the mid-tempo onslaught that is Carcosa. It’s a deceptively complex number: the guitars pound steadily on in groovy stoner/doom fashion, with the vocals layering on an old-school heavy metal feel à la Dio or Grand Magus. The guitar solo brings more traditional blues influences to the table, fragmenting itself to keep your head spinning as you try to catch up with the mid-tempo madness.

The Sunless Years
With melodic riffs, bass lines and vocal work, The Sunless Years brings some order to the chaos that is a bad acid trip. Chock-full of references to conspiracy theories and related delusions, this track’s frantic guitar solo and oppressive closing section drive home this sense of slowly growing madness.

Slave the Hive
More hardcore thrashing to be had in this no-nonsense banger. Slave the Hive comes with a shouted chorus and a mangled guitar solo and angular riffs that would make Discharge and the progenitors of the Bay Area metal scene shed tears of pride.

The Falconist
Slow and melodic, this is the album’s ballad. Bassist Jeff Matz is a rarity among his peers in the genre: instead of slavishly chugging along with the main melodies he instead opts to harmonize with it, and supplements them with well-placed flourishes that showcases the band’s creativity.

The Dark Side of the Compass
This is the nastiest bowl of auditory gumbo you’ve ever had, or the greatest aural orgy that ever was. This is what thrash, sludge, and death metal would sound like if they all gangbanged heavy metal and it gave birth to their child. Pike harmonizes beautifully on the chorus with a wailing guitar, a rarity in any genre (if it’s ever done right).

The Cave
The Cave starts out with a snaking, ominous bassline played in a Hellenic scale. Perhaps it’s an allusion to Plato’s allegory of the cave, but philosophy is for another day. This song is angular, bluesy, trippy, and melodic when it needs to be, setting you on a journey through cobwebs and sinister, subterranean mists in search of an answer to this album’s madness.

This is the title track in one word: chaos. It track begins with a double bass avalanche that leads to a relentless D-beat earthquake. Matt Pike shrieks his lungs out like the hounds of hell are mere inches away from ripping him a new one, while distant cities smolder. Why are cities burning, you ask? Because fuck ‘em, High on Fire says.

The Lethal Chamber
This monolith of doom begins with sinister intentions and ushers the end of Luminiferous. Here the band winds down and returns to their stoner roots as they chug on to the apocalypse, using that last bit of energy to end on a thunderous note (well, it’s really a fadeout, but you get me).

Final thoughts: Production-wise, Luminiferous’ sound is a little lighter and less murky than its predecessor, De Vermis Mysteriis, but does that make it any worse? Absolutely not. With bottomless reserves of energy, influences from all over and beyond, and a drive to keep pushing the envelope, High on Fire deliver solid work yet again with Luminiferous, and already have this fan excited for the next album.

Favorite Tracks: The Cave, The Falconist, The Sunless Years


Benevolent’s guitarist and clean vocalist Hadi Sarieddine  released his own ambient rendition of In Flames“With Eyes Wide Open”, from their latest album, Siren Charms. This song is his 11th cover, added to a collection of covers of bands such as Dark Tranquillity, Defontes,  Katatonia, and Woods of Ypres. The cover was self-produced at Sareiddine's studio, Haven Studio.

Hadi commented on the release, saying that “Doing those ambient covers has allowed me to discover and push myself not only vocally but also from a production standpoint in addition to learning a whole lot about songwriting”.

Check out the cover below:

Social Media links:
Visit Hadi’s Youtube Channel here.
Hadi's Facebook here.
Hadi's Instagram here.


Lebanese rock and metal fans: take note of this upcoming show at Beirut's Metro al Madina this Saturday, July 11th. New Blood, organized by Lebanon's Metal Bell magazine, will feature a slew of bands from various metal subgenres.

The lineup includes April, an ambient progressive metal band who released their latest EP earlier this year. Also performing is progressive and djent band Qantara, who play a wide range of musical styles. Having recently released their debut album, progressive metal band Shadowalls will also add their tunes to the night's lineup. In addition, thrash band Madjera will offer their talent to the crowd. Progressive thrash guitarist Nareg Vassilian will also contribute to this wide array of performances.

The organizing looks top-notch for this event. It might be one that you would regret missing out on -  try not to miss this if you're in Beirut!

Check out the event's page on Facebook here.
Watch the promo video for the event here.


Band: Tengger Cavalry
Album: Blood Sacrifice Shaman
Genre: Folk Metal
Release: May 18, 2015
Label: Metal Hell Records
Reviewer: Ziad Gadou

What started as a Western phenomenon in Europe has now proceeded to become a global movement. Metal is now cross-continental. It has reached all possible geographic and cultural borders, crossed them and is recruiting armies of musicians to fight for its voice, and theirs. Tengger Cavalry, a Mongolian folk metal act (yes, the Genghis Khan Mongolia), brought their horse-head fiddles and Mongolian lutes to the metal equation.

The multitalented diversity of Nature Ganganbaigal leads this quintet on a journey of exquisitely unfamiliar ground. Metal audiences first witnessed them when they opened for Turisas in Beijing after 4 years of annual studio releases and almost no live performances. The success of their second installment led them to play Beijing and New York’s Strawberry Music Festival.

Blood Sacrifice Shaman, the band’s fifth release, comes to solidify Tengger Cavalry’s spot as one of the most different and diverse acts the international scene has witnessed. “Hymn of the Mongolian Totem” fairly introduces both the heavy, that audiences hunger for, and the Shamanstic folk that is the banner this band single-handedly carries.  “Tengger Cavalry”, “Horseman” and “Hero” are guaranteed to get you moshing in smiles to the heart-warming Dombra playing of Mural and percussive brilliance of Kai Ding. If Braveheart was based in Mongolia, “The Native” would be its central soundtrack. A great feature this album encompasses is its great production. Every instrument enjoys its own freedom to soar to its listeners in a clear and coherent co-existing atmosphere. “The Wolf Ritual” is my personal pick off the album.  I think it provides the perfect balance between the heavy and the beautiful, in terms of time given to each and the justice that the production provides to each of these two factors.

Tengger Cavalry's Blood Sacrifice Shaman is a masterful record, a statement, and most of all an impressive achievement added to the young resume of Mongolian metal. I expect to hear from this band a lot in the coming few years. Their sound captures what any culture, tradition, and/or metal enthusiast would like to add to his playlist. Mongolia is back on the global conquest.  This time it is not for land or fame, but to dominate your ears and hopefully your local stage.


Tengger Cavalry is on Facebook here.

Nature Ganganbaigal – Guitar, Throat Singing, Horse-head Fiddle
Xin Wang – Horse-head Fiddle
Mural – Dombra
Wei Wang – Bass
Kai Ding – Drums

Could The Book of Souls Be Iron Maiden's Best Recent Effort?

by Alex Ghali

Alright, freaks and geeks, better late than never! In case you missed the news, Iron Maiden are putting on the final touches for their upcoming release, The Book of Souls. Nope, not “Still working on it,” nor “Heading back to the studio”! It’s full steam ahead for the legends, and they’ve announced a release date: September 4th of this year.

What’s more, they’ve even revealed the album art and track listing for Book of Souls. While the names of each track should strike fans as more cryptic and gripping than previous releases, the duration of each track is even more noteworthy: Maiden has enjoyed a reputation for composing lengthy epics, but they really seem to be pushing the envelope this time.

The shortest track, Tears of a Clown, is roughly 5 minutes long, while the title track, the album’s fulcrum, clocks in at 10:27. As the band knows how to end an album, it’s fitting they follow their tradition of making the last track the longest and most metal: Empire of the Clouds clocks in at a monstrous 18 minutes. This, combined with The Book of Souls being a double album, makes it the band’s most ambitious effort to date (maybe more so than my favorite Maiden album, 1986’s Somewhere in Time).

Another detail that sets this album apart from the rest of its catalogue is its context: for those of you haven’t heard, frontman Bruce Dickinson had undergone treatment for tongue cancer, and recently came out with the good news that it’s been all quashed. This may have had an impact on the recording process, but it most definitely will show on tour. In any case, we’re going optimistic and see this as Bruce and the band’s return to kicking ass. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see, but here’s what the band had to say:

“We approached this album in a different way to how we’ve recorded previously.  A lot of the songs were actually written while we were there in the studio and we rehearsed and recorded them straight away while they were still fresh, and I think that immediacy really shows in the songs, they have almost a live feel to them, I think. I’m very proud of The Book Of Souls, we all are, and we can’t wait for our fans to hear it, and especially to take it out on the road next year!” – Steve Harris.

“We’re really excited about The Book Of Souls and had a fantastic time creating it. We started working on the album in late summer 2014 and recorded it at Guillame Tell Studios in Paris, where we’d done the Brave New World album back in 2000 so the studio holds special memories for all of us. We were delighted to discover the same magical vibe is still alive and very much kicking there! So we immediately felt at home and the ideas just started flowing. By the time we’d finished we all agreed that each track was such an integral part of the whole body of work that if it needed to be a double album, then double its going to be!”-Bruce Dickinson.


Metality's editor-in-chief Kareem C spoke with Deicide's frontman, Glen Benton, as he was tracking vocals for Nader Sadek's new release.

-Will you be playing any live shows with Nader Sadek? 
That's something that we'll have to work out in the future.

-Would you consider playing a show in Sadek's home country of Egypt? 
You have alot of people wanting me to play there, but probably not.

-What was the process of working with Nader Sadek in the studio? 
Relaxed and no pressure.

-What was your first impression when  you heard about the project, and, now that you've worked with it, what are your thoughts?
Obviously, I thought there was substance or I wouldn't have gotten involved. Good stuff.

-Is your collaboration  with Sadek your final one or will you record more albums with him? 
That's entirely up to him.

-Sadek has alot of different kinds of art work, and not just music. Have you seen it? And what do you think? 
I haven't seen much of anything to be honest.

-With Sadek using different musicians on each album, how do you feel about this?
I think it will add a different dimension for sure.

You can follow Nader Sadek and his project updates on Facebook here.


Album: A Shade of Red
Band: Coat of Arms
Label: None (Independent)
Release Date: 20 April 2015
Reviewer: Habib Tabaja and Kareem C

With a new, different sound, the UAE/Qatar-based industrial/metalcore band Coat of Arms have redefined their musical direction in their third album, A Shade of Red. The successor to 2013's Suns and Satellites boasts 10 tracks and more overtly social lyrical themes.

 A Shade of Red seems to predominantly carry djent influences, most notably those of Periphery, aligned with more metalcore-style vocals and breakdowns. A Shade of Red’s opening track, "Silence the Sensor", was released a little before the rest of the album. It’s no short of groovy riffs and tons of electronic synth and noise to give the track an extra punch. Bailouni’s vocal-range has definitely widened, and listeners familiar to Coat of Arms will recognize his catchy clean vocal melodies in the chorus. Silence the Sensor’s straightforward song structure doesn’t apply across the board though, with some songs such as Trade Lie Census throwing a few curve-balls, which is always good.

The band also demonstrates their softer side, which is evident in the song "Shelter" that is devoid of any growls/screams. In this song, vocalist Mohammad Bailouni exhibits a wonderful range of clean singing accompanied by electronic keyboards and progressive metalcore riffs, along with several djent-like elements. I would call this the most metalcore song of the album (in a good way).

Another track of note is "Never Been Clear", which is the final song on the album. A more djent-inspired track with fierce vocals and fast-pased riffs, it demonstrates the diverse musical elements of Coat of Arms as a band that incorporates several genres. In addition, the drumming is on-point and sets the rhythm of the song. A quiet, ambient interlude occurs towards the second half of the song, accentuating the immersion of the music. It is definitely my favorite track from this album, in a sense that it shows what Coat of Arms is all about.

Overall, it is a solid, powerful album with significant progression from Coat of Arms's previous work. It's a generally wonderfully-written album. A great addition to this year's metal releases from the region.

Score: 7.5/10

You can find Coat of Arms on Bandcamp here and on Facebook here


Egyptian artist Nader Sadek will be playing his first show on home territory on April 19 at the El Sawy Culturewheel in Cairo to promote newly released EP The Malefice: Chapter III. But hold up, didn't Sadek confirm a complete lineup change recently? He did, and he's already found replacements. He's already announced some of the new members. Two words: holy shit.

Glenn Benton tracking vocals with Jason Suecof and Nader Sadek
Hannes Grossman, known for his involvement with Necrophagist and Obscura will be behind drums, and Mayhem's Atilla Csihar will be handling vocals. Also on vocals is Seth Van De Loo, who some will recognize as Deicide's live vocalist a few years ago on a tour where vocalist Glenn Benton couldn't make it. New Obscura member Tom Geldschlaeger will be playing guitar alongside Orestis Nalmpantis. Dimitri Khouri plays bass. Also making a rare apperance on vocals is Nader Sadek himself.

Egyptian deathcore band Mephostophilis will be opening up. All proceeds from ticket sales go to the orphans of Naga Hamadi. Click here to RSVP.

We'll be catching up with Nader Sadek very soon, so watch this space.


Album: Theory of Mind
Band: Svengali
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Label: None (Independent)
Reviewer: Habib Tabaja

When I first heard their 2014 EP Unscathed, I knew that Dubai-based band Svengali have a lot of potential and that they’ll put out even more fantastic stuff in the near future. They actually did. Svengali was formed in 2013 in Dubai, and has come a long way since. Theory of Mind is audible proof of that progress and achievement. The 13-track debut album, mixed and produced by Haven Studio’s Hadi Sarieddine (guitarist of Benevolent), has had its artwork and album cover beautifully done by Ishtar Al Shaybani of Ishtar Couture.

 In general, the album contains plenty of elements that remind me of Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Slipknot, Behemoth, and some electronic influences. To me, they brought out the best of those elements and added to them their own twist, emotion, and style.

Theory of Mind begins with “Lucid”, an acoustic instrumental with a hint of suspense that sets the tone for the rest of the album. I feel that Khalid Al Temimi’s drumming is heavy and powerful throughout the album, particularly in “Deny”, “Floodgates”, “Laced in Sin”, and the interestingly-titled “Inertia (Part 1)” (a hint at a possible second part?). In terms of guitar work, my favorite riff was in “Sink or Swim”, which is absolutely eargasmic and out of this world, along with an unforgettable chorus. “Pray for Sanity” has a killer opening and the most brutal vocal work by Adnan Mryhij, and heartfelt, beautiful singing by Fadi Al Shami. So much emotion was poured into this album in general and the aforementioned song in particular. The catchiest tune of Theory of Mind in my opinion is “Blindfolds”, complete with brilliant lyrics and headbang-inducing riffage. “Thirteen Suns” is also a treat for heavy music lovers. The Bassist Ali Square and rhythm guitarist JM also do one heck of a job on the entire album. “Resonate” is a wonderful closing track, complemented by a motivating atmosphere and riveting chorus “We are the fearless ones!”

With that being said, I do think some things could have been done better on the album. A ballad or acoustic song could have been included to add in on the variety of sound that we saw back in the Unscathed EP. Some songs do seem somewhat similar to each other for the first-time listener, but the album differentiates itself as one listens to it more. The heavy and hard-hitting tunes might need to be balanced out by the band's softer side that we have seen before, or perhaps with more diversity in the heavy tunes themselves. 

Regardless, I could say that the more you listen to Theory of Mind, the more you’ll like it. What I also enjoyed in Theory of Mind are the lyrics and their uplifting, positive theme. The contrast of that with the music and the clean and heavy singing all precipitate in a debut album beyond expectations. It is a huge step up from the Unscathed EP. Truly, Svengali have really outdone themselves this time, and have set a standard not only for themselves but for the entire scene in the region. 

Score: 8/10

  You can listen to the full album here.
  You can buy it online from their Bandcamp page.
  Check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.



The Asian and Middle Eastern metal scene melted into a brutal and unforgettable night of musical mayhem in Dubai’s Music Room on Friday, March 13th. Resurrection Metal Night, organized by Studio 77 of Bahrain, featured 5 bands from the region: Maticrust (UAE/Philippines), Smouldering in Forgotten (Bahrain), Devoid (India), Creative Waste (Saudi Arabia), and Stigamata (Sri Lanka).

The venue was already packed when UAE-based Filipino grindcore band Maticrust began playing their set of brutal and fast-paced songs, which included both covers and original songs. The covers they played with their own style included “Deceive” by British band Extreme Noise Terror. Their original songs also were also appropriate for the heaviness of the night’s bands. “Identify and Attack”, “Forced Patriotism”, and “Die in Vain” preceded their final song, “Their Lies”. Maticrust set the stage for the epicness of the following bands. A fitting overture for an unforgettable night.

Maticrust - Photo Credit: Chris Barnett

Up next were Bahraini Blackened Death Metallers Smouldering in Forgotten, who are forerunners in the Arab Extreme metal scene. Darkness and despair descended on the Music Room as the band began their opus of doom and destruction along with the crowd’s moshing. They began their set with their renowned song “Dread Messiah” off their 2010 album, I, Devourer, as well as the title track. They continued their set with a particularly powerful group of songs such as “Siren of Truth” and a cover of Venom’s “Black Metal”. They had brought so much dark yet positive energy to the Music Room by the time they played their last song “Reborn as One”. A captivating, immersive set indeed from one of the region’s most extreme and underground bands.

Smouldering in Forogtten - Photo Credit: Christ Barnett

After that, India’s Death/Thrash band Devoid proved to be no less brutal than the other bands. Their electrifying performance was essential for Resurrection Metal Night. Playing tracks from both their debut album A God’s Lie and their recent EP The Invasion such as “Brahma Weapon”, “Possessed”, “Battle Cry”, and “Grand Design”. They also played a new song called “God Complex”, from their upcoming album. The stage lights that set in during their turn on the stage perfectly complemented the mood of their music. A moshpit was more than necessary. They concluded their set with a cover of a Slayer classic, “Disciple”. A powerful and energizing performance by a promising band from a country that is producing plenty of talent in the metal genre.

Devoid - Photo Credit: Munem Qureshi (Team MQ Photography)

Hailing from the region’s most underground scene, Saudi Arabian grinders Creative Waste were ready to lay waste to the Music Room with their crushing tunes. Emphasizing the grindcore concept of the microsong, the band were able to play 13 songs in their set while keeping up the energy of the crowd that was already drained by the previous bands’ performances and accompanying moshing. They played a mix of songs from their demo, their debut album, and their upcoming release such as “Opposing Reality”, “Slaves to Conformity”, and “Divide and Conquer”. The new songs they included in their set are “Enemy”, “Retribution”, and “The Illusion is Real”. In addition to being one of the few grindcore bands in the region, Creative Waste proved to be excellent representatives of the Saudi metal scene abroad.

Creative Waste - Photo Credit: Chris Barnett 

 Resurrection Metal Night was concluded by an epic performance from Sri Lanka’s metal veterans, Stigmata. Celebrating their 15th anniversary with their first performance in Dubai, they put out a brilliant, mesmerizing set full of guitar solos, sexy bass lines, and varied vocal techniques and ranges. Appealing to a varied audience of music lovers, Stigmata brought the best out of their musical influences in their set, beginning with their song “Jazz Theory”. They also played songs such as “Our Decay” and “Lucid”, and instrumentals like “Andura”. They also performed Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Blitzkrieg” and Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” in their own unique style, and ended their set with the epic “March of the Saints”. At one point, their vocalist Suresh de Silva said that he was told by someone in the washrooms between songs that their band is not metal at all, so the band decided to prove him wrong with their performance, because it was surely metal as fuck!  “Metal is all about expressing yourself!” said Suresh, and his band did just that. A magnificent set from an underappreciated scene.

Stigmata - Photo Credit: Chris Barnett 

Overall, Resurrection Metal Night was a treat for the lovers of metal (and its various subgenres) in Dubai and elsewhere in the region. The bands were friendly with their fans and provided an extremely positive atmosphere. It was one night full of musical chaos and ingenuity. Here’s to hoping Dubai sees more shows like this that showcase diverse talents from across the region! 


After Ascendent came away with a win at the UAE's Wacken Open Air Metal Battle, Lebanon's three bands are performing tonight, where one will join Ascendent in Egypt. We had a chance to talk to the three bands; Blaakyum, Lebanon's oldest active metal band, has also won the Global Battle of the Bands years ago and performed in the world finals in London. April have been regular performers in Lebanon but have only recently put out their debut EP Archives Of The Mind. Turbulence have been performing Dream Theater covers for a while, but have now opted to focus on their original material. Metality talks to Blaakyum frontman Bassem Deibess, April frontwoman Rach, and Turbulence guitarist Alain Irahim.


Hey Bassem! You released Lord of the Night back in 2012. When can we listen to some new material? And can you give us any hints on the release date of your new album or any other details?
Our material are ready and we are so eager to go to the studio, but it has been almost a year that we are struggling to finance our studio entry, and till now it hasn't happened. The economical situation has taken its toll on the band, with two members now married and engaged and having to fend for their families... We hope within the next two month to be able to enter the studio and start recording... We really hope so because we are so eager to do it.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Yes we do, we try not to be late to the show...Not really we just watch the other bands cheer for them and have a good time till our time comes and we go on stage.

What does your set look like for the Wacken Battle of the Bands?
Mostly we will showcase our attempt to be original through our oriental tunes, in these tunes we are focusing on being as original as possible, in a time where every note and every innovation has been played and made before, our oriental tunes are a bit different than the rest of our music which is sometimes more conservative, so we will perform a bit of everything.

You guys have been around since 1995 and are the oldest active metal band in Lebanon. How do you think the scene has evolved and changed since you guys started- and where do you see it going?
This is a long question to answer, the scene has been evolving alright, but it has been passing through ups and downs, lately it was in a steep down phase, and today with 2 major events in one week-end, and other promising organisers on the rise, it seems the new dawn of Lebanese Metal is starting to shine. Needless to say, today things are much easier than in the past, maybe that is the passion that drove us in the past, in the 90s internet and social media was practically none existent, the community was more organic, the arrival of the social media today was a double edged sword, it made communication easier, but it killed the sense of community, and the metal scene finally seems to be going back to organic live meetings and gatherings rather than the virtual ones, which I think will do really good for the scene... time will tell... but one thing is still constant, we do have still great bands and new great bands form everyday, this scene might have been sleeping, but it is far from dead... and the next few days will be the proof.

What are some of your favorite bands from Lebanon and the Middle East?
I do not know about the rest of my band mates, but I miss some bands like Kaoteon, and mostly Damage Rite (previously known as Postmortem) I was a huge fan. InnerGuilt are back and that is so exciting to me as I am a big fan of their music. Also I am anticipating Nocturna's album. As for the Middle Eastern Bands, I like Blind from Cyprus, and Mezarkebul (Pentagram) from Turkey, and recently I have been digging the music of Voice Of The Soul, as well as the new uprising Dubai based band Ascendant, these guys have something original going on. And we should not forget the Lebanese-Dubai Based Prog-Thrashers Anuryzm.... We really have a lovely scene... I would have mentioned The Hourglass, but that would not be my place, as I am a member, but I miss the guys, the war in Syria has shattered us, but I hope we do a comeback soon.


Tell us about how Turbulence started and came together. Last time we checked, you guys were playing Dream Theater covers! 
It all started with a track called "Solar Chain" that Mood sent me, shortly after we had started talking on Facebook. In a nutshell, today that track is on our upcoming debut album "Disequilibrium" and is called Richardson's Nightmare (after a few major changes to it). We discovered our mutual love for Dream Theater and thought we'd share it with DT fans in Lebanon who might never get the chance to see them live. So we made it our purpose and sole goal for 2 years to try to bring the DT show to Lebanon! And throughout our DT nights, we were "testing out" some of the guests that performed with us, and we can say that we have reached the perfect recipe: Owmar El Hage - Lead Vocals. Alain Ibrahim - Lead Guitars & Back Vocals Mood Yassin - Keyboards & Piano Charles Bou Samra - Bass Guitars Sayed Gereige - Drums

Could you tell us any new details on your upcoming release (Disequilibrium)?
Sadly because of financial obstacles, the album took us almost 2 years to complete. We are now at the mixing stage, followed by mastering and printing. And then the release concert we've been very eager to throw. It's going to be sometime around June 2015 if everything goes as planned and, we have a huge surprise lined up for that concert, we'll talk about it when the time comes!

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Yes we kinda sit together, go through the songs in our heads and out loud, while we express our enthusiasm towards the upcoming show!

What’s your take on the current Lebanese rock/metal scene, and where do you see it going in the future?
I think with the recent concerts taking place, and especially the metal battle, things are looking really promising. The battle has brought back together some of the biggest names in the metal and rock scene like Marc Bassila, Bahij el khatib etc.. And its amazing because they are united now to give a chance to the winning band and its beautiful. We can actually feel the spirit that used to exist years back, so we're pretty excited about that, because it has been on the top of our achievements list.

What are some of your favorite bands from Lebanon and the Middle East?
Some of our favorite bands are Amadeus Awad's projects and Michel Labaki from Lebanon, and we are actually fans of April, pretty talented people over there. As for the rest, we love Laço Tayfa and Orphaned land.


Tell us about how April started and came together.
April started off as an acoustic duo back in October 2010 covering Celtic rock tunes, to gradually morph into a progressive psychedelic metal band by 2012. With the sole change of members on Bass since, from Charbel Hajj to Remy Hachem, the band in its current line-up (Richard Samia on Guitars, Raffi Nordiguian on Keys, Naseem Raad on Drums and Rach Bassili on Vocals) has been composing and producing originals and gigging across the country in both April-exclusive gigs and festivals/public annual events. We have traveling plans together too.

You recently released your EP Archives of the Mind. Tell us about the EP and how you guys are going to promote it.
'Archives of the Mind' is our first attempt at originals' composition and home-self-production. We were experimenting in different sounds and eventually found ourselves integrated in a psychologically-oriented concept in sounds and themes - the EP was born. We already have physical copies of the CD in different sales points and will soon be available online, in parallel with an "Archives of the Mind" mini-tour in Lebanon and hopefully the region.

What can the fans expect at the Wacken Battle in Beirut?
Just be there people, come - listen - watch. With support, not only expectations of an amazing performance are met, all standards will go beyond that. Together, we can recreate history.

What’s your take on the current Lebanese rock/metal scene, and where do you see it going?
It is almost like a mine-field, you know. Quite unpredictable. Anything can happen. It is a widespread known phenomena when it comes to how unstable our metal scene can get; or any scene anywhere for that matter! There are efforts, seen and unseen, for its persistence and revival and that is what we appreciate, support and advocate in each step we make. Though we were always detached from that fluctuating situation, safe to say, we are blessed with amazing supporters (musicians and non-musicians) who have not failed us in their continuous support, we have had a remarkable attendance turnout in each event, considering that we are not sponsored at all, and the majority of the attendees are not exactly fellow metal musicians. Something big is happening to the Lebanese rock/metal scene. Wait for it.

What are some of your favorite bands from Lebanon and the Middle East?
Naming isn't our favorite part haha! We're a bit old-school when it comes to that, it is always good to pay respect to those bands the likes of PostMortem, The Kordz, Oath To Vanquish, Communion, Nightchains, Void, Red, Negative (-) name a few. Tanjaret Daghet, Turbulence, Shadowalls, Episode, eye, WKBL, Mario Agostine, Michel Labaki, Alan Azar...and many many more of currently active bands/artists.