SLAYER Guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, Passes Away

At the Age of 49

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At Byblos Film Festival

Interview With Hadi Sarieddine

From Benevolent.



LARS ULRICH Offers Update

On METALLICA's Next Album


June 7th

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Dubai-based progressive death metal band Voice of the Soul have released Catacombs on September 28 digitally on their bandcamp page. The album has 9 tracks, including Pendulum which they released earlier this month on YouTube.

The band also announced their first show in Beirut which will take place on October 4 alongside Lebanese bands Thrashstorm and Deathlam.

Keep up with Voice of the Soul:


Kuwait's symphonic death metal band Divine Disorder have put out their official album teaser, and it sounds pretty exciting! By the looks of it, we're guessing it's going to be a concept album. The band has recently returned from Sweden, where they met with none other than Jens Bogren, who mixed their debut album. We're pretty stoked about this one! Check out their album in the video below.

Stay connected with Divine Disorder:
Official Website


Kerim "Krimh" Lechner is one of today's most impressive metal musicians. While most know him for his incredible drum covers on his YouTube channel and playing with Decapitated for a while and is also a self-taught guitarist and bassist. Guest writer Monish Shringi had a quick chat with Krimh, where they talked about Krimh's new album Krimhera, playing with Decapitated and Behemoth, young artists using crowdfunding to finance their projects, and more. 

How does it feel to come from posting covers on Youtube and drumming for Thorns of Ivy all the way to being involved with mammoth bands like Decapitated and Behemoth?

Well it feels quite weird if I look back but on the other hand, I was working very hard to be at this point. With a bit talent, very hard work and big luck you can reach everything! I am very happy how my life looks like. Of course it has many ups and downs but so far the positive memories and moments are more. I think its important to listen to yourself, take sometimes risks and give it a chance. It can go bad but also well.

Both your solo albums have been crowd-funded. What’s your take on crowdfunding? Do you see it as a new way bands will be funding your projects in the future?

For me being an instrumental solo artist, who is playing metal music, its actually the only smart way to do. My music is very different compared to mainstream metal. There are no vocals, I mix a lot of styles and I never played any live shows with this project. I more or less depend on my online fans. In such situation, crowd-funding is a great tool to get financial support but also have a straight connection with your fans. There is nobody in between and I think that's why many people actually like to support their artists that way. Plus they become somehow “part” of the album.

Hard to say if its the future. I don’t think its possible to be a big successful band without having a record label. I guess everyone knows that record companies have many financial problems nowadays with all the illegal music downloading. But still in my opinion it doesn't work only with crowd-funding to be as big as In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth...
Crowd-funding is perfect for young artists like I am, to get their music and art out there!

What do you think separates Krimhera from your previous release? What would fans expect to be different this time around?

There are differences of course but its still “KRIMH”. Witch means I have my style of writing music and I like to combine heavy and beautiful melodic parts. So thats what people can expect but I would say in general its way heavier than “Explore”. Riffs are darker and stronger witch gives it this “punch in the face” effect. Plus I spend quite some time to write interesting drum beats that work with microphones. Let me explain that: in metal music, drums are usually either half or even fully replaced with perfect sample hits. I don’t like that because everyone uses the same samples and it starts to sound flat and boring. So my goal was to make it the old school way. Spend time finding good microphones and try to play as good as possible. If you write your drum beats with triggers on the kick and than want to go and record everything natural, it eventually might not work. On “Krimhera” there are fast blast beats and double bass parts but I really pay attention to how it sounds in the end mix. We only used EQs, compressors and a bit of room sound for the drums. If a double bass part is too long/fast and it doesn't sound strong played, I am changing it. But let me tell you I am very happy with the outcome and I think people will like it. At least I hope so.
What else is new? Of course we want to get a better sound out of everything but also “Krimhera”  has some specials witch I don’t want to tell right now. You will hear it!

What are some of the benefits of being a solo artist? Do you find it best working on your own?

Solo artist = 100% own ideas and creativity. I don't think there is much more to say about benefits because thats the most important in my opinion. It can get a bit annoying if you have to record all instruments on your own. Recording drums is the easiest for me, obviously. But if it comes to guitars I always feel like dying because it takes sooo long. I am a perfectionist and I have a certain idea in my head. Witch means “it has to sound like that” and I am trying as long as it takes. Till exhaustion! The problems is that I am actually not practicing guitar. I don’t have the time for that and it doesn't give me much pleasure like playing drums. If it comes to recording guitar, I totally suck! Well maybe I should finally learn from my mistakes and start to practice more guitar.  

Are you considering setting up a live band to promote Krimhera on the road?

I am thinking about this. I would have more than enough material to play a live show. I am just not sure where to search for musicians because I live in Poland and Austria. There are a couple of questions signs still in the room but lets see what 2015 brings for my solo project.

You've played for two of the biggest metal bands Poland has to offer: Behemoth and Decapitated How was your overall experience? While you only recorded with Decapitated, you played live shows with both. What were some differences that you experienced working with the two bands?

I can tell you, I learned so much with both bands even if they are different. I wouldn't be the same drummer if I haven't played with Decapitated and Behemoth. Vogg told me a lot what to change and how to do it better. During the time my playing develop and changed 180 degrees. With Behemoth it was the same. They taught me how the “visual” effect of a live show can change the overall view. With all the fire, outfits and makes a big impression for the audience. In Decapitated we could wear whatever we wanted but it was important to play well. That was somehow our only way to get peoples attention. I don't want to say the guys from Behemoth are bad musicians. Not at all! Their music is quite hard and complicated but they have a total different approach if it comes to live shows.
Another difference would be that we played way bigger shows with Behemoth. They are the biggest polish Metal-band right now and there is some sort of pressure in the air. I mean, I am probably the only one who pressures myself but its because I know what festivals they play and how big name Behemoth has. It was a great experience to play in front of 20 000 people and feel the fire on stage. It was magical and I will never forget that. And thats the cool thing because no one can take away your memories!

Since you’ve toured with both bands, tell us about some of your favorite (and worst) moments of touring so far in your music career.

People that don’t have a lot to do with music think, every musician is a rockstar with a rockstar attitude and rockstar life. Well, let me tell you, maybe 20% of this is correct! I experienced both sides. Fancy 5 stars hotel in Japan, single room, good payed shows, own crew, but also sleeping with 7 people in a van in the middle of nowhere, no cash after 1 month tour, no shower, bad or no food and the list goes on and on.
Both is part of the business and both have something. I like it! Thats how it looks like and I am fine with both sides. I said before there are more positive memories and I want to keep it like that. One of my highlights and best moments ever was the Asian tour with Behemoth. There was too much cool stuff to explain everything in one interview but let me tell you this: paragliding in Himalaya, driving on an active volcano with an old US army Jeep, 5 star hotel single rooms, see thousand years old temples, cultures and religions,....

What have you been listening to in your spare time these days? (Both metal and non-metal)

I listen almost no metal in my spare time. Right now I listen a lot to Karnivool, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, The Intersphere, If these trees could talk, Sia...

Apart from music, what are some of your other interests?

My girlfriend, family and friends, sports, good food and my fat cat! :)

What advice would you give to a young drummer?

Like Tim Yeung once said:
Practice, Passion and Patience! I think that tells it all. And most important: music is not a competition. Its about having fun and love what you are doing no matter what other people say or think. Do your thing but do it with 100%!

What are your future plans? Are you going to spend more time on your solo material, or are you considering being involved full-time with bands again?

I am doing a lot of things right now. My solo project, session jobs in the studio, play live with bands and giving drum lessons. Of course I am open to play full- time in a bigger band but its easy to say and not so easy to find one. I am a positive thinker and I keep playing music no matter what happens. “Still stand means death” so I keep pushing forward with my own solo project or session work or as a full time member in a new band.

Any final words for’s readers?

I hope I wasn't talking too much boring bullshit for you guys. :) (Ed note: No, Kerim. You certainly weren't!) 

Stay connected with Krimh

Check out Krimh's playthrough of "Es Regnet Staub", one of our favorite tracks of Krimhera!


Dubai metal band Voice of the Soul have released the track list and album art for their upcoming full-length, Catacombs, which will be out on September 28, 2014. Catacombs features 9 tracks, following up to Voice of the Soul’s 2011 EP release, Into Oblivion. Daylight Dies’ bassist/vocalist, Egan O’Rourke, features on the closing track of the album, Images Subside

Frontman Kareem comments, “I’m really pleased that this is all finally starting to come together, and I look forward to releasing Pendulum in the next week to give our listeners a taste of what the album has to offer.” 

Album art by MHD Graphics
1. Desolation
2. Perpetual Deception
3. Pendulum
4. Quarantine
5. Cold Rupture
6. The Mist
7. Perdition
8. Defiled
9. Images Subside

Catacombs was recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered at Haven Studio.

Album art was designed by Hamood Hallak of MHD Graphics.

While we wait for Voice of the Soul to release Pendulum, check out their album teaser video below.

Tartarus - Of Grimness and Atrocity (EP) review

Band: Tartarus
Album: Of Grimness and Atrocity (EP)
Genre: Black Metal
Country: UAE
Release Date: July 31st, 2014
Label: Haarbn Productions
Reviewer: Karim Tarek
Rating: 8.5/10

Hailing from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tartarus is one of the newest Black Metal bands to the Middle Eastern scene. With Zymolust Ravenson on guitars and vocals, Kris Kudla on guitars, Rippon "Obscurus" Madtha on drums, and Bader "Ghocifer" Nauman on bass duties, Tartarus was founded back in 2013 and have only just released their first EP this month.
Entitled “Of Grimness and Atrocity”, the 5-song EP that resembles quite a head start for such a promising band that seemingly has a lot to offer in the future. 

The EP starts off with a mystic intro track called “Seeshot” that delivers nothing more than an ambient noise accompanied by some indistinct high-pitched speech that gets you excited and tingled knowing that there is some serious blasting on its way to your ears.

The second track of the EP is called “Axes (of Hatred)”. It starts off as a typical mid-tempo Black Metal song with some very wise placements of drum lines and vocal efforts. After it had given you the impression of a mediocre non-aggressive Black Metal endeavor, there comes the first blast beat line of the EP that would normally render you hopeful of a more aggressive, fast-paced release, but then again “Axes (of Hatred)” further advances with the same original pace it started off with, which personally made me doubtful of my prospective level of enjoyment of the EP.

The following two tracks “Cosmic Storms” and the title track “Of Grimness and Atrocity” came to negate such theory of the EP being rather mediocre and generally mid-tempo. Reminiscent of the golden era of Black Metal, the early 1990s Scandinavian wave, Tartarus managed to change the direction of the EP to the better throughout those two particular tracks. Drumming turned out to be pretty bestial, just like pure Black Metal percussion should be, along with riffs that sounded like they came straight from hell. Moreover, the two tracks managed to capture the evil quintessence of genuine Black Metal, reflecting obvious influences by legendary bands like Dissection, Emperor, and Lord Belial.

Adding a cherry on top of the cake, Tartarus ended the EP with a cover of one of Black Metal’s timeless songs and Emperor’s all-time gem, “I Am the Black Wizards”. The cover was pretty simple, precise, and consummate in terms of the delivery of all the main elements that made up such a track that nears perfection.

All in all, Tartarus is a very promising band that brings back memories from an era that is typically a favorite for diehard Black Metal fans, adopting all the grimness, evil, and genuineness of the genre. Having covered an Emperor track hints that they are following the right influences. I personally enjoyed listening to “Of Grimness and Atrocity” and I believe that it reflected a huge amount of potential that the band could achieve in their promising future, raising the bar of expectations for yet another release. 

Highlights: Of Grimness and Atrocity

Follow Tartarus: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube


Lebanese metallers Blaakyum will be opening for Epica tonight at the Byblos International Festival, and they couldn't be more excited. After interviewing Mark Jansen from Epica yesterday, Kareem C talked to Blaakyum's frontman Bassem Deaibess.

Hey Bassem how’s it going? Must be excited to be opening up for Epica tomorrow night at Byblos Festival in Lebanon.

It is indeed exciting to finally be able to perform in a festival on the Lebanese soil; actually I am wondering how will that experience be? How will it feel? Will it be similar or different than big festivals in Europe? But the thrill of doing this in Lebanon, along with the burden of meeting the expectations of people and yourself, for some reason, I feel an obligation to have this show the best we ever did, it is like a duty, this is my country and I want to give it the best we can.

Not many heavy bands play at the Byblos Festival, but we’ve seen bands like Scorpions and Nightwish play, and now Epica. For such a popular festival in Lebanon, it must be good news to metal fans and bands such as yourself and Blaakyum.
Of course any news is good news when it comes to having any kind of bands related to Rock and Metal on a Lebanese International festival, now sadly we would not at the moment dream of having Slayer or Testament or Hypocrisy for example on such festivals, I think this is far-fetched, but indeed Byblos have been doing a great job keeping some Metal elements there. I have no idea how will people react to us, since we will be our normal metal selves we will not compromise in our show, and definitely looking forward to see the people and the organizers reaction to some of Epica’s more heavy songs… Maybe this will pave the way for heavier and more “uncommon” bands to come later. Fingers crossed.

What can fans expect from Blaakyum’s performance tomorrow night? Are we going to hear some new tracks in addition to some songs off Lord of the Night?
Well taking into consideration that most of our fans will not make it to the concert, of course many will do but not the majority, and that more or less we will be performing for a new crowed, we will be performing mostly from our debut album, we do have a surprise ready though, and there will be probably two songs performed from the new album.

You’ve been working on a second album. How’s the process been so far?
Terrible hahahaha… Well we have completed the composition of the second (and even more, probably some of the third album) We were supposed to enter the studio last month, but we are delaying that till we find a way to fund the recording process.

What have you been listening to lately? Does what you listen to influence the writing process?
Sometimes I just stop listening to music all together, of course I do have my daily dose of Classical music, Metal, and some of the Arabic music I enjoy, lately I have been into experimental Jazz especially the oriental stuff and unbelievable talents such as Ibrahim Maalouf… But since few months now, I have been hooked up on Thrash metal again, my all-time favourite Metal genre, I have been slaying my ears with Onslaught, Testament, and a bit of the few Black Metal bands I like, Immortal and Behemoth, and of course Death Metal always have a share, Vader I must say. But the daily dose of Classical music is always a must. I think everything influence the writing process, although lately nothing is more influential than the anger I feel…  At a point where I wish my music can actually kill those immoral creatures (they are not even humans) that are making us suffer… Anyway I will try not to fall into negativity so yea, everything is influential.

Blaakyum have played many shows in Lebanon and abroad while touring. What was your favorite performance in Lebanon thus far and why?
I do not want to talk about the guys, personally and I think it is the same for my Brother Rabih who is our lead guitarist, our performance in Sour was the one we enjoyed the most, the sound was surprisingly amazing, and the atmosphere, and the fact that we were playing in the south… it was just really enjoyable.    

Any final words for’s readers?
Thank you for for the support and for your readers I can say Metal has never died, they keep saying it is dying, for hell’s sake that must be the longest death process ever, so Metal is always alive and has become a classical musical genre, thanks to you… So keep it up.

Thanks for talking to us, Bassem! See you at the show!
Metal on mate \m/

Stay connected with Bassem Deaibess and Blaakyum:


Epica will be playing their first show in Lebanon on August 2nd at the Byblos International Festival, a year after Nightwish played there. Lebanese metallers Blaakyum will be opening up at the show. Our Editor-in-Chief, Kareem C caught up with Guitarist and backing vocalist Mark Jansen, and talked to him about their latest album The Quantum Enigma, playing Lebanon for the first time (and their previous shows in Dubai and Tunisia), and moving forward with Epica's long and lasting career. 

Hi Mark! How’s your tour going so far?

Mark: Very well, we play a lot and the responses on the new songs are overwhelming. So needless to say that we are very happy about all of that.

Your upcoming show at the Byblos Festival in Lebanon will be your third show in the Arab world, having played in Tunis and Dubai before! What are some of Epica’s memorable experiences being there?

Mark: Our show in Tunis I remember as if it was yesterday. We were the first international metal band to play in Tunis and many of the fans who attended the show were crying of happiness. It was avery special occasion for fans of heavy music and us. In Dubai we played at a metal festival, very well organised and I remember that I went out jogging but that it was extremely hot haha.

Tell us about the writing and recording process for your latest album, The Quantum Enigma. While it’s certainly well-received, what were some of the new approaches and differences that were taken with this album?

Mark: We started writing about 2 years before the recordings took place. Some of us started writing a little later. When we had enough songs we started to work on each others tracks in small groups and short sessions, that's when we made the final selection. When we were satisfied we started rehearsing the tracks with the band and worked on the little details. Right after that we experimented with the sound, different amps, drum kits, microphones to see what were the best combinations for the best possible sound. When that was done we started recording. The producer is Joost van den Broek, in the past he played keyboards in After Forever. He played an important role in all this as supervisor, creative ideas and work/team spirit builder. The mix and mastering were done by Jacob Hansen, Joost van den Broek and our input. Jacob did put a great basic sound which we all loved right away. From there on we only needed to fine-tune the rest. The differences compared to the previous album are that the guitars sound heavier than before. When we play a heavy riff it does sound very heavy now.

In a previous interview with Epica, Simone said that she currently has been living in Germany. Does having one or members in a different location make things more difficult for the band?

Mark: It's more complicated but not impossible. I live in Sicily (Italy), Simone in Germany, Isaac in Belgium and the others in the Netherlands. However it's only a 2 hour flight away from each other so nothing is impossible :)

What have you been listening to lately? Does what you listen to impact the material you release? Would this apply to The Quantum Engima?

Mark: Lately I haven't been listening much music. I spend a lot of time on my hobby, cycling. It's been a very hectic period with releases of Epica (DVD and TQE) and my other band MaYaN, so I needed some rest, also from listening music. But from what I've heard I like the new 'Stream of Passion' album.

Do you have a favorite song off The Quantum Enigma?

Mark: Not really, I like the album as a whole. It differs day by day which ones are my favourites.

What’s your favorite metal festival to play in?

Mark: Graspop - Belgium. Very well organised, good food, great crowd and cool bands.

What are some of the things you love and hate about touring?

Mark: I love meeting new people, experience different cultures and habits and escaping from daily routines. I dislike when there are stressful moments like a bad organised show or missing my home, my girlfriend and my cats and dogs.

What have you heard about Lebanon, and is there anything you’re looking forward to doing there during your stay?

Mark: In the Netherlands or Italy Lebanon is mainly in the news about conflicts in the Middle East. That's sad because this way people get a one-way view and get scared to travel to Lebanon. As I travel a lot I know how to interpret those news items and I know that reality is often very different from what's been shown on tv.  I look forward to see Lebanon the way it is and meet its people.

Any final words for and its readers?

Mark: Thanks for reading this article and for the support for our band Epica!

Thanks for your time, Mark! Looking forward to catching your show in Byblos!

Mark: See you there!

Stay connected with Mark Jansen and Epica:

Aramaic - The Fallen (EP) review

Band: Aramaic
Album: The Fallen (EP)
Genre: Oriental Doom/Death Metal
Country: UAE
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Label: Self-released
Reviewer: Karim Tarek
Rating: 8.5/10

Having been away from the scene for quite a long time, mainly for study duties, it is naturally very hard for any new material to grab my sincere attention and interest towards it, which was exactly what happened Aramaic’s debut EP entitled “The Fallen.”

Hailing from Dubai, UAE, one of the region’s most musically flourishing at the time, Aramaic are an Oriental Death Metal quintet comprising Serge Lutfi on vocals, Fadi Al Shami and Ahmad Rammal on guitars, Rafic JR Abi Saleh on drums, and Michael Al Asmar on bass. The band’s name suggests high influence by the ancient Aramean mythology that roots in the Middle East.

Although the band started a couple of years back, their debut EP is to be released tomorrow and we were lucky enough to receive our press copy for review. The EP consists of three tracks with an approximate playtime of 20 minutes. 

With a highly impressive artwork, that kind of brings Behemoth to the back of my mind, “The Fallen” starts with the title track which has the most oriental vibe of all three tracks. It somewhat signifies an adaptation of old school Death Metal with its downbeat aggression and its punishing heavy riffs. In a nutshell, the lyrics tell an incomplete love story that leaves the lover angry 
and hateful.

Entitled “The Pledge”, the following track came downright faster, more vigorous, and less bleak. It is a war-themed track with fast drum lines, angry dual vocals, and chaotic riffs that gets you pumped during live performances. Although it is the shortest track on the EP, it combines all the elements of the catchiness and solidness of Death Metal music. 

The EP closes with final track called “The Summoning”, one that has a more oriental tinge than its antecedent, and a more epic feeling than the rest of the EP. What is special about this track in particular is its tempo swings; it goes from slow and grim to fast and violent to mid-paced and epic in smooth transitions. To me, this track resembles the Doom Metal influences that the band possess.

Overall, “The Fallen” is one of those EPs you would wish were longer. It showcases the outcome of years of work and dedication from one of the region’s most promising bands. With its high musical and production quality, it will no doubt soon become a fans’ favorite. Moreover, I personally believe that Aramaic will be one of the most important bands in the Middle East if they would continue what they started with the same level of dedication and eagerness. 

Follow Aramaic: Facebook, Bandcamp, Youtube


Time for another interview with a band from this year's Dubai Rock Festival's lineup. After interviewing guitarist Matt Asselbergs from French band Nightmare, we move on to Portugal's Heavenwood. Ricardo Dias is Heavenwood's guitarist and primary songwriter, but also sings for the band. The band was formed in 1996 and has played extensively across Europe (they even played at Wacken). Heavenwood released their fourth album, Abyss Masterpiece (which we reviewed here) in 2011, and are now working on their fifth record. Kareem C had a chat with Ricardo about the new album and playing Dubai for the first time.

So tell us what’s been going on with Heavenwood these days? How’s the new album following “Abyss Masterpiece” so far?

We have been working on our 5th album " The Tarot of the Bohemians -  Part I ", Meanwhile we were at the studio we recorded the advance song " The Juggler ".
This new album will be more structured, some times more aggressive or technical but never forgetting our melodic reference. We will continue having Orchestral melodies, not so present during all the songs as it was on "Abyss Masterpiece". I feel that we "orchestrated" much more the words for the new album..
The lyrics are strong, deep and very introspective. The lyrics will demand some occult and spiritual background to understand the real meaning of them.

This is your first show in Dubai. How excited are you guys? What are you most looking forward to about Dubai Rock Festival 2014?

We feel great and very anxious about it, It´s wonderful, and it´s an honour. I do think that the blend of cultures on this Fest is fantastic, Each band will represent their culture on stage.
Excellent professionals and excellent bands will justify everyone to run to this exotic metal fest!

Which band on the lineup are you most looking forward to seeing?

Nervecell, the others i can check them perhaps on tour in Europe, I´m an old fan of Loudblast since "Disincarnate" album…perhaps one of the first Portuguese with a Loudblast musical experience back in the beginning of the 90´s. 

Heavenwood have had a long history of touring. Any interesting stories you’d like to share with us?

We toured with In Flames and I remember when they show us on cassette the demo from the first Hammerfall album, When i listen to it i remember i compare it with Running Wild but i said to them " This is gonna be a success worldwide, just like you guys." In Flames are one of the biggest metal acts in the world.

What can Dubai’s metal fans expect from Heavenwood’s set?

We will play some strong songs from every Heavenwood album, we will play also the new song "The Juggler", from the new album

Any last words for’s readers?

A strong Portuguese metal hug to all and check Heavenwood if you´re enough of listening only to technical stuff!