The final band in the Metal Bell 6th Anniversary lineup is Qantara, a local band with a genre of their own called MetalFlow.

Qantara is a bit trickier to define than other bands we’ve written about before. For instance, when asked how the band started, they replied: “There isn’t really any singular point that we can reference as the “beginning” of the band, nor a set of events. A lot of people are involved in the band, a lot of those people have nothing to do with the music, nor of the performances. A lot of people and events were such a challenge that we also owe credit to them for “making” the band, and more importantly, some people were such immense pools of support.”

In short, however, one can say that the band has been in the making for many years, experiencing many changes in their lineup and musical approach throughout.

But there is one point in time which we could consider as an objective starting point, or at least as Qantara’s official introduction to the local Metal scene: on April 4th, 2015, the first Lebanese edition of the W:O:A battle, which allows the winning band to perform at the Wacken Open Air Metal festival, took place at The Quadrangle, Hazmieh. That night, local bands Turbulence, Blaakyum, and April competed, with Blaakyum emerging victorious.

While the jury was deliberating, the crowd was given one final treat to top off the event: a guest performance by Qantara who, at that point in time, were mostly unknown to the scene save for some teasingly enigmatic Facebook post.

After a pinch of initial cynical doubts, the crowd was taken aback and seemed to enjoy the show with wild abandon, despite the fact that the band solely performed previously-unheard original material.

On that note, when asked if the band would ever perform covers, they replied: “Well we tend to ask for what purpose would we cover songs? We are not out to play the tracks people are used to, and the songs they know and love. We want to offer something that people still haven’t formulated an opinion about, something they still haven’t felt, simply something new. If we are to “cover” songs, we would disassemble them, and rebuild them in our interpretation, basically still offer people something fresh. We are not implying though that bands who cover songs are in any way at fault, covering songs is a very technical challenge if one wants to honor the song they’re covering.”

And, well, that mentality seems to have worked out for them so far.

After that initial debut, they partook in Metal Bell’s event New Blood on July 11th, 2015 at Metro al Madina, then finally in Metal Bell’s event Drastic Measures on December 12th, 2015 at The Quadrangle.

For about three years, that was pretty much it for Qantara. They would sometimes post various forms of content on their Facebook page, but otherwise they did not partake in any public appearance whatsoever.

That is, until November 7th, 2018, when they had their first ever album release. Their album “Dirt” saw the light of day at a place that has now become a recurrent part of the band’s history: The Quadrangle.

The event did not, however, include a performance, and tomorrow’s concert will thus be the band’s first time on stage in almost exactly three years.

Now that we’ve covered Qantara’s curriculum vitae, let’s move on to some facts about their identity as a band.

First of all, let’s take a look at their name. When asked about that, they replied that the band has taken many names in the past, some of which are still used to this day as the butt of some inside jokes amongst the band’s members. As for “Qantara” (or قنطرة, which translates to arch or vault), it refers to “a gateway, a door; a structure that implies a transition of states… Quite simply, it is not where you are right now, it is where you intend to go (or be taken), and that is the basic idea behind it.”

Now onto the genre which they define their music as belonging to: MetalFlow. That name is the product of the band’s many efforts to label their music by stapling together many names of genres that seemed appropriate but turned out too ridiculously numerous, which was because so many different influences came into play at once. Eventually, they realized that “the common ground between all [their] musical influences is the fact that they all make [them] ‘flow’ in a certain way, they make [them] move, and transport [them] into a certain trance.” Thus, MetalFlow would be “the genre that incorporates the general ambience of ‘meditative’ music (or ‘Trance-y’ music) with the sharpness of Metal.”

And on the subject of Qantara’s many influences, when asked what the most prominent were, they replied: “That’s impossible to answer. Musically there’s a ton, and for varying reasons. Socially and ideologically there is a million. We can’t just say “this artist or person has inspired us the most”. In fact, most of our inspirations come from people we meet on the streets, just people. It is thought that one can only get recognition and be inspiring because of their choices and actions, or maybe morals, but most people who we felt inspired by are just friends and family, mentors and grandparents. Sure there are a million artists and writers and thinkers who inspire us every day, but we do not feel we owe anything to anyone… Part of the human experience is to be inspired and inspire back, there should be no admiration for it.”

That pretty much wraps up the ideological viewpoints of Qantara for now. If you’d like to see how those words transcribe onto the stage, pass by Metro al Madina tomorrow!

When asked for a statement regarding Qantara’s appearance at SledgeHammer Production and Metal Bell’s upcoming event, they replied: “It’s going to be AWESOME!  Metal Bell is 6 years old already! We have to make it a very happy birthday and we will! It will be memorable, the people are gonna be awesome and sweaty like hell and we’re all gonna blow out the candles with the wind generated by the headbanging throughout the night! Be there!”

They also added: “We send you all our love and appreciation for your constant support and involvement. We thank you Carmina for this interview, as well as Metal Bell of course. We wish you a happy birthday, and we are confident that with love and support, and with all of us being open to disagreement and celebrate our differences, this scene has the potential to really set the standard for the region, we all just have to work on the same team.

Thank you all and hope to see you on Saturday, December 15th, at Metro al Madina, and to join us to celebrate Metal Bell’s 6th birthday and just an awesome night together.

All The Love,
All The Time.”

If you’d like to see what kind of sound could come with all these bold statements, check out the band’s Soundcloud, where you can find the entirety of their recently-released album “Dirt” as well as tracks from their yet-unreleased album “Seven”. You can also check out their Facebook page for a wide variety of content.

Current Lineup:
Eztse Nugra – Drums
Ghonzor غصط – Vocals
HassaK – Bass
Duktur Dusar – Guitar
Brounzar Ci’40 – Guitar

Discography:
Seven (Full-Length Album; Unreleased)
Dirt (Full-Length Album; 2018)

Qantara, we welcome you back to the stage and avidly hope to see you on there much more!