Category: ARTISTS

Qantara | A Gateway Made Of Sound And Silence

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!

GORILLA WARFARE | Born From College Campus Jams

Next up on our list of Metal Bell 6th Anniversary bands, we have Gorilla Warfare, a young local Heavy Metal band.

Gorilla Warfare started off in AUB, where its members played some music for fun and ended up deciding that they enjoyed it.

Each of the band’s members has their own personal set of influences and musical tendencies:

  • Their vocalist, Shadi Shaar, is very passionate about vocals and practices them daily. His favorite bands are Alter Bridge, Dio, and Judas Priest;
  • Their lead guitarist, Simon Semaan, loves Dream Theater, Opeth, and Avenged Sevenfold;
  • Their rhythm guitarist, Layan Bedran, is a Metalcore enthusiast who enjoys writing “epic riffs”;
  • Their bassist, Mostafa Itani, is a huge Iron Maiden fan and knows all of their songs by heart;
  • Their drummer, Omar Captan, is known by his bandmates as an awesome person and an awesome drummer. He’s also known for getting injured a lot.

The name Gorilla Warfare was born from a joke. When they first started performing, they had a second guitarist whose name was Jad. Both Jad and Simon Semaan were relatively beefy guys, and their fellow band members teasingly drew some resemblance between them and gorillas.

The band focuses mostly on covers, and will be performing songs by Dio, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, and Megadeth (however, their last song isn’t confirmed yet – we’re in for a surprise!).

They do have some demos of original material ready. However, they are not planning on remaining together after the upcoming event, which will be their final performance as Gorilla Warfare. They cannot currently find enough time to practice. Also, they have noticed that the Heavy Metal genre isn’t generating much enthusiasm these days and are thus a bit bored. Some of the members might start something new in the future, but nothing is confirmed so far. Let’s hope to hear more from them soon!

When asked for a statement regarding Gorilla Warfare’s appearance at SledgeHammer Production and Metal Bell’s upcoming event, their vocalist Shadi Shaar replied: “We are honored to play at this event and very excited to give our best at this show and have a great time.”

Current Lineup

Shadi Shaar – Vocals
Simon Semaan – Lead Guitar
Layan Bedran – Rhythm Guitar
Mostafa Itani – Bass
Omar Captan – Drums

Gorilla Warfare, we do not want to bid you farewell but look forward to sharing one last show with you!

PROMINENCE | A Melting Pot Of Death

Introducing yet another one of our Metal Bell 6th Anniversary bands: Prominence, a Death Metal band from Beirut, Lebanon.
Prominence was founded by Jack Khamo in 2017. Shortly after their inception, they were part of the Rock Insight event That One Night III at Metro al Madina on November 11th, 2017, and on May 5th, 2018, they partook in Metal United World Wide, an event organized by Sledgehammer Productions and presented by Metal Bell Magazine, which also took place in Metro al Madina.

On February 4th, 2018, they released their first ever single: “Slaughter of Dreams”. The song featured the legendary Derek Roddy on drums. Roddy was previously part of the American Death Metal band Nile, the American Death Metal band Hate Eternal, and more.

After the release of their single, the band went through a change of lineup. Maurice Semaan joined as their new guitarist as well as composer of their originals following “Slaughter of Dreams”. Nareg Cherchian, their vocalist, became responsible for the lyrics. As for the rest of the band, Serge Ashjian took over the bass, Monir (Matt) Lawand the rhythm guitar, and Sam Baghdo will be on the drums during the upcoming Metal Bell 6th Anniversary event.

Each member of the band has his own distinct musical influences. Consequently, the original material that they are working on strays away from “traditional” Death Metal towards something more multidimensional.

They are currently working on their EP titled “Sepulchered”. Two of its tracks were already recorded: “Sepulchered in Slumber” which was released on YouTube (watch video below) and Facebook in September, and Voices Reside, which was recorded in late November and will be available on YouTube after December 15th, 2018. Stay tuned for that!

In November, following the aforementioned release of “Sepulchered in Slumber”, the band was asked to be featured on USA’s Licking County Metalheads podcast, on which they had rave reviews, and we quote: “it has been a long time since they had listened to an actual lead in a metal song”. The band was asked to be featured for a second time with “Voices Reside”, during which they were lauded even further.

Prominence is managed by Maggie Varbedian of Sledgehammer Productions, the latter being co-owned by Maurice Semaan. As we have already mentioned, Sledgehammer Productions are the organizers behind the upcoming Metal Bell 6th Anniversary event.

When asked for a statement regarding Prominence’s appearance at SledgeHammer Productions and Metal Bell’s upcoming event, they replied: “Prominence are very excited to be part of this celebration, and to have the chance to perform both their songs from their upcoming EP “Sepulchered” for the first time on stage. They wish Metal Bell Magazine a happy anniversary, and a successful journey ahead.”

If you’re curious about the kind of sound that these boys will be dishing out, check out their aforementioned track on their YouTube channel: Prominence Official Lb.

 

Current Lineup:

Nareg Cherchian: Vocals
Maurice Semaan: Lead Guitar
Matt Lawand: Rhythm Guitar
Sergio Achjian: Bass
Sam Baghdo: Drums

Discography:

Slaughter of Dreams (Single; 2018)
Sepulchered in Slumber (Track from the upcoming EP “Sepulchered”; 2018)
Voices Reside (Track from the upcoming EP “Sepulchered”; 2018)
Prominence, we’ll be seeing you on your path towards prominence!

Article Photo Credit to Beirut Metal Fest


UPCOMING EVENTS


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Sound Of DeGeneration | Tastes Like Vintage Leather

The Metal Bell 6th Anniversary act whom we will be introducing next is Sound of DeGeneration, a Heavy Metal band from Lebanon.

Sound of DeGeneration has been around the scene for quite a while, but a fair share of changes has occurred since their initial inception. They originally appeared in 2011 under the name “Calling Earth” with founding members Ossy Mash (guitar and vocals) and Ramzy Alaeddine (guitar). A bunch of additions and removals took place until the band’s lineup stabilized in 2012 and their name was changed to “Rebellion”.

As Rebellion, they wrote five original tracks which they performed live numerous times alongside covers of classic Heavy Metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Dio, Metallica, and more. They often took to the small stages of pubs and bars as well as some bigger music festivals.

Unfortunately, financial and personal circumstances as well as the departure of Alaeddine who sought to pursue his career elsewhere halted the band’s project of recording their debut album, and ultimately their activity in general.

However, in late 2017, a call from Hisham El Hajj Boutros (the band’s bassist) encouraged the four remaining members to get back to it, and finally resume working on their long-abandoned album. The latter includes eight tracks and is now in its demo stage, awaiting mixing and mastering before its ultimate release.

Around that time, they also decided to change their name to S.O.D, or Sound of DeGeneration. They felt like that name better represents the message behind their band and their music, which is to “bring back the good old Rock and Heavy Metal of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s [that is] now destroyed by the new media”, as they put it. The name originally came from one of their original songs, and will also be extended to their self-titled debut album.

In 2018, the band started to push towards hopefully getting a label, and their new website www.soundofdegeneration.com is coming soon. Stay tuned for that!

When asked for a statement regarding Sound of DeGeneration’s appearance at SledgeHammer Productions and Metal Bell’s upcoming event, they replied: “It has been almost two years since we last performed at Metro al Madina. For us, this place feels like home and to be a part of Metal Bell magazine’s event makes us feel like we are with our family. We miss our fans and believe that they miss us too. We are ready for this night and we will make sure it will be a night to remember. As always our promise to the fans is ‘WE WILL BE HEAVY’!”

If you wish to take a sneak peak at what these Heavy Metal Men can do, check out their Soundcloud account for a taste of their Heavy material.

Current Lineup:
Nigol Ozz – Vocals
Ossy Mash – Guitar / Back Vocals
Samer Rkab – Drums
Hisham El Hajj Boutros – Bass

Sound of DeGeneration, take us back in time!


UPCOMING EVENTS


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Avelyntale | The Return Of Lebanese Symphonic Metal

On Saturday, December 15th 2018, SledgeHammer Productions are organizing an event in order to celebrate no less than Metal Bell’s 6th anniversary!

While we all wait for the chance to partake in the celebration, we will be providing you with information about all the participating bands.

First up, we have Avelyntale, a relatively new local Symphonic Metal band.

It all started when Anthony Abdo (whom you might know as local Melodic/Fusion/Technical Death Metal band Nocturna’s vocalist), his wife Magdalena Eid Abdo, and Mood Yassine (whose talent on the keys has been around the local scene for a while, most notably with local Progressive Metal/Rock band Turbulence) were gathered at the Bach Music Institute.

Pretty much out of nowhere, each one of them started expressing their own preferences regarding Symphonic Metal. Magdalena favors female-fronted bands, such as Nightwish, most notably with their first vocalist Tarja Turunen; Mood, who has more of a Progressive background, sets Epica at the top of his own list; as for Anthony, he refers to himself as having a more “aggressive” background, and his favorite Metal genre of all time is Orchestral Black Metal, with bands such as Carach Angren, Dimmu Borgir, and Graveworm.

All it took after that was a subsequent pregnant pause that gave birth to the idea of them teaming up in order to perform the songs that they all love.

As such, Avelyntale is currently a covers-only band, since their main objective was essentially to garner enjoyment from performing as aforementioned. The thought of diving into the realm of musical creations has most definitely crossed their minds, especially since each one of their members would technically be capable of orchestral composition. However, they admit that they currently lack commitment, and would only be up for starting something if they were certain that they would all be up for finishing it.

That being said, a concept that would engulf the yet-unborn songs already exists. The name of the band, Avelyntale, translates to “the tale of Avelyn”, with the latter being an undefined character who could pretty much represent anyone in the band. So, when they do make the step towards composition, they will recount their own daily lives and the problems they encounter within them through the voice of Avelyn.

When asked for a statement regarding Avelyntale’s appearance at SledgeHammer Production and Metal Bell’s upcoming event, their guitarist and vocalist Anthony Abdo replied: ”It’s been a while that Symphonic Metal has disappeared from the local scene; people miss it. They should come to Metal Bell’s 6th anniversary and rock with us!”

 

Current Lineup:
Magdalena Eid Abdo – Vocals (Mezzo-Soprano)
Mood Yassine – Keyboard
Anthony Atwe – Bass
Rudy Fares – Drums
Anthony Abdo – Vocals (Guttural)

Avelyntale, we can’t wait to witness your tale unfolding before our ears!


UPCOMING EVENTS


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At The Gates | To Drink From The Night Itself

Swedish melodic death metal pioneers, At The Gates, are preparing to release their second album, “To Drink From The Night Itself“, since reuniting in 2010 , on May 18 via Century Media Records. Continue reading

Legendary AC/DC Guitarist Confirmed Dead

 

 

Malcolm Young has unfortunately been reported dead. The legendary rhythm guitarist and co-founder of AC/DC was reportedly announced dead at 64 after a long battle with dementia. His family, who lovingly surrounded him as he passed away, have released a statement:

”It is with deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of Malcolm Young, beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother. Malcolm had been suffering from Dementia for several years and passed away peacefully on Saturday with his family by his bedside. Renowned for his musical prowess, Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many. From the outset he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans. Malcolm is survived by his loving wife Linda, children Cara and Ross, son-in-law Josh, three grandchildren, a sister and a brother. While thanking all for their overwhelming support and heartfelt condolences, the family ask that you respect their privacy during this time of heartbreak and grief. For those wishing to send messages to the family please visit the Sydney Morning Herald tribute site for Malcolm Young which will be available later today. The family have asked instead of flowers to send donations to The Salvation Army.”

Malcolm has been one of the most influential guitarists for almost 50 years, known for writing some of the most recognized riffs. Musicians all around the world have paid tribute to him online.

The Classical Legacy Of The Orient And Neoclassicism In Odious’ Music

Odious is one of the well-known Egyptian Black/Death Metal bands and is also one of the leading and early Black Metal bands in Egypt. The music of Odious is based on combining the basic folk riffs and oriental instruments with pure extreme Black Metal music. Through this article, I will attempt to give you a complete image of the full journey of Odious.

Continue reading

Roy Khan

Roy Khan 2018 updated profile

Roy Khan 2016Roy Sætre Khantatat (born March 12, 1970), is a Norwegian singer-songwriter. Commonly known as Roy Khan or simply Khan, he was the lead vocalist for the symphonic power metal band Kamelot from 1997 to his departure in 2011. He co-wrote most of Kamelot’s songs with the band’s guitarist and founder Thomas Youngblood during his tenure. Prior to joining Kamelot, Khan was lead singer for the Norwegian progressive metal band Conception from 1991 until 1997 when they disbanded. Continue reading

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