Category: INTERVIEWS (page 3 of 3)

The Brave Phantoms Of Iraqi Metal

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

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 KirkukIraq.

  • 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”.

DARK PHANTOM COVER album

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?

Metallica’s collection.

  • 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?

Bandcamp since we don’t have a label yet.

You can find it here:
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.
Dark Phantom Links:
– Facebook Page: Dark Phantom.
– YouTube Channel: Dark Phantom.
– Bandcamp: Dark Phantom.

-Lilas Mayassi

Read More by: Lilas Mayassi

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The Brave Phantoms of Iraqi Metal – Dark Phantom Interview

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Interview With Roy From ROCKRING

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.

Metal Bell Stand

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<

Useful Links:

Rock Ring


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