Author: Sergio Ashjian

The Present and Melancholic future of Nocturna

Nocturna is one of the oldest bands from the metal scene, and every time they take the stage, they prove that they’re still as strong as they were a decade ago. After a few member changes, they thought they settled down with Anthony Abdo as their vocalist and Sam Baghdo on drums, but unfortunately, their paths have diverged. Both members have decided to move and immigrate to Canada.



Sam was part of many Lebanese bands, and his last show was a well-deserving farewell, as he joined the stage with Armian for one last performance here in Lebanon. He was the drummer of many bands, such as Armian, Adapt, Maysaloon, Prominence, Hatecrowned, and last but not least, Nocturna. His departure to Canada, has left many bands searching for a drummer as skilled as he is, but perhaps this is better for him, since he has more opportunities to grow a larger audience for himself.

He has also left a very special message for us and all the bands he worked with, stating:

“It was my honor to play with many bands in Lebanon as a musician! I got a lot of chances to play with the best musicians in Lebanon, it was truly an honor, I really appreciate it, I love Nocturna, they work hard and seriously to keep their performance as perfect as they can, as for me, it was like a challenge to play with band, the members are very close friends and it’s not easy to get close to them, especially if you are a stranger. The secret is the practice with the talent, if you have both of them you can play with any band, I like Nocturna‘s album, it’s perfect, when I listened to it for the first time, I considered it the best album in Lebanon. Now I will play drums with The Nailheads, and we have a tour consisting of 16 shows around Canada, being a pro drummer isn’t an easy job, you have to practice to keep your level up and also to improve yourself, I wish I had a chance to play with all my friends in Lebanon, each band I played with gave me a lot, and thank you for this lovely initiative, because you work hard to cover all the music events. And of course, as a musician, I respect what you do, cheers!”

 

As for Anthony Abdo, he left us a very heartwarming post on Facebook about his departure from Lebanon. But that wasn’t all he did before setting off, in fact, he orchestrated a metal karaoke night in The Palace, called “One Last Growl”, where he hung out with his fellow band-mates, family and many friends from our scene. He covered Amon Amarth songs, Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir (with his wife Magdalena), as well as covered the songs he composed. It’s definitely important to mention that he also sang Nocturna’s tracks for one last time with Nareg Cherchian. A pleasant surprise was to see the original vocalist of Nocturna, Habib Arbid, sing the very songs he was deeply involved in creating.

It’s safe to say that those 2 amazing artists are moving to greener (or perhaps, more snowy) pastures, and I suppose their departure is for the best, at least now they can show their music to the world without any fear of judgment, no room for the same injustices we face for simply expressing our art.

As for Nocturna, they are deeply saddened that they had to part ways with those amazing artists, and they wish them the best of luck in their lives and musical careers. However, they also made haste in finding a vocalist that fits their haunting ambiance and achingly beautiful melodies, and it is none other than Nareg Cherchian.
As for more good news, they’ve also announced that they have begun in working on their long-awaited second album, and I’m positive that we’re all going to wait impatiently for whatever they’re up to now.
The Present and Melancholic future of Nocturna
As for Nareg, he was actually approached by Nocturna themselves because he was already recognized as one of the fast rising death metal vocalists in the local scene. And of course, he himself had motive to join the band: he loved the band’s material, and wanted to expand on what they could achieve musically, and now, with their current resources, they’re capable of merging the many sides of death/melodic death metal (and perhaps a shade of black would be a pleasant bonus).

One thing that Nareg saw that stood out from the rest of the local bands was “their sense of direction with the music; emotional melodies and sinister symphonies”, as well as he could notice that “the band poured all their emotions into their art”, and all that “spoke” to him on an emotional level, and this gave him a huge motive to step in as their vocalist, Nareg affirms.

As Nareg looks towards the future with the band, he aims for much higher than he ever has, and he hopes that as the youngest band member, he could show how determined he is with the results that the band will surely achieve.

When asked whether he sees himself as an example for all artists that want to convert emotion into art, he replies with “most definitely!”, stating that the love one has for their work procreates determination like no other, and he encourages everyone to be an example of how art should be treated like. As a small tip to get started, he remarks that talent and skill are nothing without constant practice.

Furthermore, Ziad Alam has been announced as the drummer for Nocturna. In the past, he has played with different local bands, been part of Damage Rite and Kaoteon, and currently he’s part of ZiX. In regards to him joining Nocturna, this is what he had to say:

“So i knew the guys from nocturna before joining them and we were friends and their drummer recently left to Canada so we decided to do some jams together and see how it goes… it was perfect from the beginning, we liked the atmosphere and the chemistry was there, so here we are now.”
The Present and Melancholic future of Nocturna
You can follow Ziad’s page here.

Personally, I see that Nocturna’s current lineup will reach new heights, as well as burrow deep within everyone’s sorrow through their music, all while bringing a new age of poetry in Melodic Death Metal.


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Review | Metal United Worldwide Lebanon

The second installation of Metal United Worldwide presents new bands on the horizon, and a well-known one, all while expanding the Metal genre. This year, we heard symphonies, Heavy Metal and Punk riffs, and it all ended with some Thrash Metal.

The show started with Sane Sirens, a Heavy Metal band that covered classic Heavy Metal songs and showed us a few originals. The band seemed to put out a great show as the members weren’t stage-shy at all, everyone seemed to exchange smiles whilst playing the songs tightly, and they called for a lot of crowd interaction when they covered Fear of the Dark and The trooper (although the intro had no bass) by Iron Maiden which the attendees seemed to cheer along the melodies and sing the lyrics with the vocalist. Speaking of which, the vocalist did an amazing job with her stage presence in hyping the crowd up for each song they played.

They also had Anis Mouawad sing 2 covers, which were Killing in the Name Of and Warriors of the World, and no doubt he did a great job as well, and even started the show with an anecdote.

Overall, a few mistakes here and there such as a small solo slipup and a bit of timing issues on bass weren’t that noticeable because they pulled off a great show, but unfortunately they had to backpedal on playing their last song because of time restrictions. Also, having an original named after The Riders of Rohan brings in bonus points.

The band stated: “We’ve enjoyed the concert very much from start to end and the organization was on point. The sound and lighting were amazing and the people behind the show were very professional, not to mention that Phenomy blew the place away”.

Sane Sirens are:

Tatiana Metri: Vocals

Anis mouawad: Vocals


Majd Jadam: Guitar


Bassam Rifi: Guitar


Hassan Ibrahim: Drums


Mohamad Fakhreddine: Bass

And their setlist was:

Light awaits (original)
The Trooper (Iron Maiden)
Killing in the name (Rage against the Machine)
Riders of Rohan (original)
Warriors of the World (Manowar)
Fear of the Dark (Iron Maiden)

 

Next up, we had Armian on the stage and it was… Flawless. The way this band was able to have such breathtaking, shifting atmospheres all while some heaviness from the guitars and drums that made its way through the symphonies and melodies flawlessly was just perfect. Every single instrument on stage had its own moment (and there were a lot) and it all flowed together in a beautiful manner.

They had symphonies and atmospheres that would leave you breathless, and in just a second they shift it to another, as if a huge boulder just left your chest, all while demanding more and more. They were successful in mixing a few dark and gritty elements with its more lighthearted counterpart. The vocals were amazing, the violin was magnificent and the keyboard player was responsible for all those amazing symphonies we listened to. Also, their drummer Sam (who is in many bands in the Metal scene) gave his all in his last show in Lebanon, and it was fantastic. It is noteworthy to mention that they didn’t do any mistakes during their show, and they left me wanting for more, because they only played 4 songs.

The band stated: “All the people were kind and easygoing and all in all, amazing.” And they also said that they weren’t prepared. Although after putting such an amazing show, they seem fairly prepared and ready.

Armian is:

Armen Mardirian: Guitar and Vocals

 
Christopher Vartanian: Bass & Backing Vocals


Sevag Katerjian : Keyboards & Piano


Marian Artinian: Violin


Sam Baghdo: Drums

Their setlist:

Undefiled
Leveling
What if, what is
That fades away

 

The event continued with another new band, Angry Farmers, a Punk band. The band just released their debut album, and it was their first performance, which also means it’s the biggest opportunity for first impressions, and they couldn’t nail it.

 Ignoring the cigarette in mouth and alcohol bottles on stage, they really couldn’t work together as a band, and that’s why everyone was working on his own pace. Random tempo issues, inaudible guitars and bass, the general idea of being a band was clearly misunderstood. However, they did have a good riff here and there ,some grooves were pleasurable, the buildup was nice but alas the execution missed it. Everything was pretty stale up until the 3rd song, which they had to replay a few times because their frontman rudely pointed out that there were sounds issues, so they had to take a long break to fix the problems, even though a few sources indicate the sound wasn’t the issue, alcohol was.

Anyway, even a small buildup can turn into a crash since they took a while to finalize their EQ after finishing their unlikely encore. That being said, we can’t judge too quickly and claim that there is no room for progress, this is still their first performance, although they should’ve known drinking and performing don’t mix well. That being said, they were still being cheered for and even had a person jump on stage and dive in the crowd again. I hope to see them again and surprise me with how good they should’ve been in the first place.  Hope they come back with a blast.

The band stated: “No comments brother, we had a fun night although that technical thing that happened was bad but yeah shit happens, Rock n’ Roll.”

Angry Farmers are:

Dr. H: Bass


Tex: Vocals/Guitar


Joe A: Drums

Their Setlist:

Witches’ Brew
Feminazis
Beer for Breakfast
Witch Doctor
Magick Soup

Last, but definitely not least, Phenomy closed the event with a stellar performance. Everyone in the Metal scene already knows Phenomy, and the way how they incorporate sweet melodies in Thrash riffs, how the bassist adds a lot of flavor to their songs, and the amazing crowd control by their vocalist.

You can easily see the love for their craft through their expressions, and it’s safe to say that they are on the top of scene today. Through their performance, it’s clear that they have formed their own identity and have made something really unique, and that’s what made them so lovable by the scene. As usual, they put on an amazing show, and I think they are always the best option for a closing band because everyone waits for them to dominate the stage in an impatient manner, as well as they have a powerful start and a really heavy finish. Their breakdowns never ceased to amaze the audience, as they always headbanged every time.  Their tribal theme is well noticed with their signature mic stand, the hanging “bodies” and the thrown voodoo dolls at the end of each show. One thing that they always do is hype up the crowd with Sealing Fate, so they added something new to it for a change; the members Loic and Sam went to the crowd and headbanged with them to the music, and that’s a great representation of their crowd interactions.

The band stated: “It was an amazing night for us, the crowd was amazing. We would like to thank Metal Bell and Skull Session for having us united for metal United WorldWide. We would also like to thank our wonderful crew, our fans and everyone that showed up. You guys are the best. Stay tuned for more stuff from Phenomy. See y’all soon.”

Phenomy is:

Rudy Bejjani: Drums


Loic El Haddad: Guitar


Dany Arfan : Guitar


Peter Aoun: Bass


Sam Felfly:Vocals

The setlist:

Chaos Within
Day of Reckoning
The haunting
Under These Ruins
The Mute The Deaf The Blind
Sacrifice
Sealing fate
Dance of The Wounded Souls
Electrified (Encore)

Now before concluding our review, we would like to thank Skull Session with whom this is our first collaboration. We were honored to have one of the biggest organizers and, undoubtedly, most experienced in the scene to handle the organization duty of one of Metal Bell events, and hopefully more to come.

Also on the list of people and organizations who have always been present in support of the scene, we would like to thank the generosity of Instruments Garage for providing us with the drum-set with no charge at all. 

In conclusion, this was another successful event and all the bands and organizers did their best to make Lebanon appear on the Metal compass. New faces are making their way into the metal scene and that means that Metal has truly United us.

Reviewed by Sergio Ashjian.

 

 

                                                                                               

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