Since 2011, war has greatly ravaged Syria’s cities and villages, claiming the lives of almost half a million individuals and leaving several other millions internally displaced or seeking asylum abroad. In light of this human tragedy, we wonder as metalheads: what has become of the Syrian Metal scene? “Syrian Metal is War” tackles the issue at hand. Continue reading
After a while in the dark, ASCENDANT shed some light about their upcoming album “A Thousand Echoes”. Ascendant took a brief recess before they came back co-headlining shows with some international acts. And today they are revealing to Metal-Bell some interesting news about their debut album.
The Heavy Metallers decided to release the album during their upcoming show supporting Lacrimas Profundere on May 12th at The Music Room. We did this awesome and cool interview with the band who were very generous to open up with a lot of interesting information about the album. (Read below)
Thrash Metal seems to still hold ground onto our Lebanese metal bands. But, it is only when it is crossed with Death Metal that we get this nostalgic wave of brutalness we once had in our music back in the day. And what more of a nostalgic feeling can you get when the band, Damage Rite, was created by Post Mortem’s JM Elias.
Damage Rite have released their debut album, “The Dehumanizing Factor”, on February 28, 2017, after 8 years of releasing their first single, “Whispers of Ages”, and here is what the band said about that:
“It took a while for the band to engage in the recording process due to line up amendments that occurred during the precedent years which led to the absolute and current arrangement designed to bestow the thrashiest and deadliest tunes, to fulfill the rights of the listeners to undergo on a metal experience like no other”.
The news already sounded brutal to our ears, but what about the actual music?
“The Dehumanizing Factor” starts off with the intro track “Dehumanize”. The sound of someone marching with a danger alarm soon turned into some Thrash riffing that clearly tells us there will be no mercy on our ears.
The second track is the released single “Whispers of Ages”, aggressive and fast, along with angry growling, showing how Death Metal is largely incorporated in the Thrash sound.
The album continues with “Cities of Blood”, “Homicidal Death Machine”, and “Oppression”. Tracks of tight changing rhythms, technical sounding solos, yet with a taste of melody, and not to forget, some rhythm breaks one can’t help but headbang to.
Track 6 is the album track, it pretty much sums up the sound of the album and includes the same theme from the album’s intro.
Last three tracks from the album are “Set Apart”, “Chaos of Souls”, and “Thy Will be Done”.
The lyrics match the album title, they question morals, purposes, truths, and you guessed it… blood and war.
To sum it up, “The Dehumanizing Factor” is a solid release, one we guarantee you will love; it is straight harsh and in your face brutal. However, one thing might stand in the face of this album breaking through. It is common among such genre: the lack of a definitive idea that separates it from the rest. Therefore, if Damage Rite can get their hands on that, we’ll be waiting for something big coming our way.
Total rank: solid 90/100
Favorite track: Set Apart
You can buy the album from Damage Rite’s Band Camp.
It was a very exciting moment when, during last September’s THRASH MERCENARIES TOUR, we contacted Blaakyum, who were part of the tour, to ask them if they would be able to pass a few questions we prepared as an interview with Onslaught. But Blaakyum’s frontman, as well as their manager, proposed to do it as a video interview, instead of a written one, with Bassem Deaibess volunteering to ask the questions prepared on our behalf and to film the interview on his mobile phone. (Watch Video Interview Below)
An interview with Onslaught
Onslaught is a band that would “never compromise [their] artistic integrity in any way”. We got a lot of insights from Sy Keeler and Nige Rockett about the inside world of Onslaught. Covering many subjects starting with the then ongoing tour, Nige and Sy explained how important it is today for a band to tour and why. They also shared with us some funny, beautiful, and life-changing stories they have faced during their life on the road; some were weird though.
Talking about their composition and the band’s sound, Nige was surprised that some people are “anal” about what tuning the band can use for a thrash Metal song.
“when you look at Testament, Kreator, Overkill, ourselves, everybody is making some of the best music they ever created.” – Nige
The interview also covers the band’s influences, which start with Punk and end with Prog, the recording back in the day versus the recording procedures and costs of today, ending up with information about the upcoming releases. So enough with me blabbering about the interview, you can watch it below:
For the first time in the Middle East, Metal Bell Magazine is proud to present “Roswell And Orchestra”.
Many musicians will be joining the Lebanese Rock band “Roswell”, where some of the most successful songs from the band’s 3 albums will be performed, in addition to some famous Rock covers with a classical music orchestra. Special guests will also be joining the stage next to the band and the orchestra. Continue reading
Remember when we shared the story about little Reinabelle who was born blind last March? At the time, 8 local bands and artists ( Violent Peace, Aces High, Eden, Napview, Homesick, Colorblind, Grey Groove, and Ghiya Assaad) gathered their forces for a unique fundraising event, Rock For Reinabelle, at Quadrangle Hazmieh to help gather the required money for the operation. Here’s what happened:
Reinabelle arrived with her parents at Beirut airport at midnight, returning from the USA where she had a successful eye surgery. She was born blind, and today, she can see, giving many others who were born blind hope that, one day, they too, will be able to see.
Many Lebanese followed Reinabelle’s story and sympathized with her, either through praying or donating money. The cost of Reinabelle’s surgery in the USA was around 250,000 USD, which was collected from different fundraising events, including Rock For Reinabelle.
The call for donations was made on February 7, 2016: “A two-month-old girl who was born blind needs a cornea transplant surgery within one month to avoid damage to the arteries and nerves of the eyes. The surgery costs 200,000 USD, and the parents’ friends have decided to open a bank account for anyone wishing to contribute and help Reinabelle”. Subsequently, a fundraising campaign was launched, with the participation of many media outlets, in addition to schools and educational and social institutions.
On April 23, Reinabelle underwent surgery in both eyes, and the treating physician in the United States reported that the surgery was a success, and that Reinabelle needs a few days to open her eyes.
For the first time, she will be able to see the faces of her mother, her father, and her brothers… and life.
Roy Khan Returning To Music Seems SOON? We previously did a full investigatory article about Roy Khan’s whereabouts (here) 2 years ago, following it up with another statement from Roy himself about a possible return to music (here). It turned out that what we reported was mostly true.
UPDATE 2018: ROY KHAN Releases First Solo Song in April 2018
Dark Phantom is a multi-ethnic band probably new to our ears, but they have been around for a while, playing the music they love in an oil-rich nation of turmoil and everlasting war, defying the reign of extremism and various death threats from Islamists who equate ‘metal’ with Satan worship.
Dark Phantom’s inception attempts started back in 2007. But with the hard situation especially within the areas controlled by Al-Qaeda, the situation was violent and playing music was a crime. The band then struggled to fit in, even in the Iraqi music scene. With all these efforts, they tried to keep the faith and compose their own music, but to no avail.
“This was for survival, without any developments in the level of art.” – Dark Phantom.
In 2009, the band took the bold decision and stood up in front of all disbelievers and started a serious project: DARK PHANTOM. They started composing and recording their own music. The quality of the recording wasn’t pleasant, so the band took it on themselves to learn and evolve their recording techniques. They upgraded their home studio with some proper software and hardware after a lot of research, until they got what they needed at the time.
The band’s first public show was in 2011, fighting against all atrocities, hate, anti-metal music laws, and terrorism. The band was surprised that people, fighters like them, showed up and gave them support they didn’t expect during the gig. Following that show in the city of Kirkuk, the band received several threats, and was asked to shut down all their activities.
Dark Phantom didn’t surrender to the situation and kept working on their album that was supposed to be called “Beta” at the time. The band’s reputation started to propagate, leading them to perform at 3 concerts in 3 different cities. Then in 2013, the Phantoms faced another challenge; the original vocalist and the drummer left the band for safety reasons, and the band then welcomed Mir and Mahmoud to replace their predecessors respectively. With that addition to the group, they defined their style as Thrash Metal and started the album composing and recording process all over again.
Today in 2016, Iraqi heroes “Dark Phantom” have completed and released their album under the name of “Nations Of Dogs” that will be soon reviewed in details by Metal Bell Magazine.
Meanwhile, we conducted an interview to know more about the brave phantoms of Kirkuk–Iraq.
How and when did you guys start Dark Phantom?
After 2003, we started listening to metal music. Cousins Murad and Rebeen got together with a couple of friends from college and started the band, firstly playing thrash/death covers before beginning to write our own material. Murad met Sermet at college and he started learning bass, our old drummer on social media, and Ehsan at the music center as vocals.
What does your music talk about and what does it mean to you?
Our lyrical theme is about war and corruption basically in our country Iraq. This chaotic situation naturally has a huge influence on our music. And it is about our life in Iraq, as well as religion/criminals who kill and slay people in the name of God.
How do you define your sound?
We collected all that we like individually and came up with our sound and we call it Thrash-Death Metal as it’s like a mixture of both genres.
Tell us more about the recording process of your album” Nation Of Dogs”.
We recorded the album in Murad’s bedroom using simple recording tools. It was released on May 8, 2016.
All songs lyrics by Mir Shamal
All songs music by Murad, Rebeen, Mir, Mahmood
Mixed and mastered by Mir Shamal
Album cover art by Ece Baş
What was your first album on cassette, vinyl, and/or CD?
What difficulties do you guys face living in such a tormented place?
Religious conservatism, social taboos, and repressive governments mean most metal is viewed with suspicion. Also, there are no metal venues.
Who are your favorite artist and your influences?
Metallica is our idol. As for influences, we are greatly influenced by Slayer and Lamb Of God, etc.
What are your plans for the future?
We have never played outside of Iraq, and that’s like a dream to us. We need a visa to travel or some sponsor. Just bring us to play even for free, because we don’t look for money, we just want to play on a big stage.
Can you describe the Iraqi metal scene?
There was a small number of metal bands in Iraq and most of them left the country while others remain underground. Some people listen to metal and know what it is, but the majority see us as Satanic and don’t know what we are talking about.
Do you easily get to find a venue to play metal?
We have played a few gigs though it’s very hard to do that here because there is no space to play music, but we still try and do our best.
If you were to choose one record label to get signed with, who will it be?
Metal Blade Records, it’s one of our dreams.
Where can we buy Dark Phantom’s “Nation Of Dogs” album from?
In conclusion, Dark Phantom is one of the many struggling bands in the Middle East, and one of the very few active in Iraq. We will be getting back to them soon enough. We will also be covering some bands from Syria. Stay tuned for our review of the great album from Dark Phantom, “Nation Of Dogs”, soon on Metal Bell Magazine.
Following last year’s Summer Fusion, we teamed up this year with RockRing to keep you updated on everything that is going around. As a starter, here is an interview with Roy Naufal, founder of RockRing Lebanon.
1- So, Summer is back and the Fusion is in the making. How excited are you about the 5th installment of Summer Fusion?
Nothing is more exciting than getting the music scene into one place in a unique fun atmosphere that doesn’t just revolve around getting a ticket and watching bands. Summer Fusion has more of a friendly community vibe, and since it’s an all-day event by the pool, everyone gets a chance to mingle around. The water games and bungee jumping will definitely add a new twist to the event!
2- How was last year’s comeback? Was it as you expected it? Did you face difficulties especially that there was a 5-year gap?
It was great. We were not sure what exactly to expect in terms of attendance after a 5-year gap, but the event proved well worthy and everyone who was there had a blast, and those who weren’t regretted not coming. This year, we’re hoping for an even better event and we are improving it on several levels and already preparing for 2017.
APRIL‘s performance from last year’s Summer Fusion. Check out this great performance and give them a shout-out in the comments
3- Last year’s Summer Fusion had what I believe to be the least amount of attendees among the other Summer Fusions. But it definitely made some noise, and this year, there is excitement all around. Are you expecting to break previous records with this year’s edition?
In the past, Summer Fusion and the previous events we did grouped a whole community under one umbrella. When there was an event, everyone was there without the need to even tell what the event was; people knew RockRing’s events and what kind of fun atmosphere they would expect when they come.
Commercial mass advertised events gather up a lot of people but who are very ‘disconnected’, so there’s no ‘friendly vibe’ in such events, whereas our events are more community-based so there’s a more friendly feel to them; it’s not only about the event and who’s playing, it’s also about hanging out with friends.
After a 5-year gap, this community needs to be ‘reconnected’. From last year to now, there has been a lot of activity and the event itself had caused enough noise to make 2016 bigger than 2015. We also connected with a lot of the community and people are aware of us and what we do, so we’re expecting a steady crowd growth in the coming events – we also have plans for several upcoming events such as Global Battle of the Bands and possibly international artists.
Our Stand at SUMMER FUSION 2015
4- According to your experience, how much has the scene changed (since 2006 when RockRing started and 10 years later)?
Mainly, the music community has become disconnected because there are no real hangout areas for music lovers, and medium-scale events are nonexistent. It’s either small pub events or big scale events like Byblos Fest. Our role in the past was that middle ground which connected everything together, and that’s what we’re trying to establish again.
5- What to expect from Summer Fusion this year? Will any new ideas be implemented into the festival?
We’re adding a more ‘summer’ twist to the event; other than the bands, there will be many more activities on location such as water games, possibly bungee jumping, and a few other things.
Check Out Our Review of Last year’s Summer Fusion >Here<