Category: Local News (page 1 of 21)

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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WITHIN TEMPTATION Cancels Lebanon Show In Solidarity with Mashrou’ Leila

After weeks of cultural terrorism against local band Mashrou’ Leila (Read our full report here) the Dutch Symphonic Metal Band Within Temptation cancels their scheduled show in Beirut out of fear for their safety and in solidarity with Mashrou’ Leila. Read Within Temptation’s statement below.

Within Temptation Statement

With a heavy heart we must inform you of the following:

As you know, we were scheduled to play the Byblos Festival in Lebanon on August 7th. We have found out that another band called Mashrou’ Leila was pulled from the festival according to the festival committee due to security reasons after religious fanatics demanded their performance to be cancelled followed by violent threats. Apart from the fact that Lebanese authorities at this moment are not able to provide artists the security to perform in peace, we have decided to cancel our show in Byblos in solidarity with Mashrou’ Leila and in support of tolerance, freedom of speech and expression.

For you, our fans in Lebanon, it hurts to make this decision. Our last show in Lebanon is still very vivid in our minds and hearts. We are looking forward to better days on which we will return to you in Lebanon.


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ANGRY FARMERS A New Lebanese Band

“We are Angry Farmers and we play Rock n’ Roll.”
That’s pretty much it!

A Lebanese band was formed last October joining Tex the VocaGuitarist, dr H. (hagop) on bass and later on, after their original drummer’s departure from the country, Joe A. on the drums.

Since their early jams, Angry Farmers didn’t have an interest in playing cover songs, they went straight to the point making music “out of the heart and years of experience”.

When we spoke to Hagop and Tex, they stated that “influencing people, making them play music and express themselves in any way possible are our main, yet most important, goals”.

ANGRY FARMERS a New Lebanese Band

Angry Farmers’ music is inspired by life experiences, love, hate, pain and music genres going from Punk to Grunge Stoner to “real” Doom.

The band has an album ready in their pockets. On April 20th, Witches Brew was released with a music video, followed by Witch Doctor on the 27th.
The album Pest Control is scheduled to be released on May 4th, but Tonight during Metal Night that will take place at The Palace Hamra, the band is going to pre-release it and sell you copies for only 5000 L.L.

ZIX Signs New Record Deal & Releases New Single ft. HANSI KURSCH

There is a great and promising year ahead  for one of the most prominent Heavy Metal acts in Lebanon, ZIX.
On August 30, 2018, Zix announced on Facebook that they have switched from German label “Pure Steel Records” to the international moguls “Universal Music” by signing to their MENA offices. Zix is the second Metal act to sign with Universal MENA following in the footsteps of Ostura (Read about it here). Continue reading

RIP BIG JACK The Electric Warrior

It is with a sad heart that we write this article. One of Lebanon’s earliest Rock and Metal voices passed away. Jack Khatchadourian, mainly known by his stage name BIG JACK, just closed his final chapter on Earth on July 25.

About Big Jack

Big Jack

For those who don’t know, Big Jack fronted one of the earliest Rock/Metal bands in Lebanon back in the late 70’s called “Electric Warriors“. The band went above and beyond by creating the first generation of Rock and Metal scene in Lebanon. Jack was known for his strong vocal abilities and stage charisma and as a great guitar technician. He inspired a whole generation of vocalists who followed his path between the 80s and 90s and still they resonate until today. A true Legend.

Other than being an inspirational Lebanese musician, Big Jack was also known for his humanitarian activities. From a young boy scout, having his guitar on his back spreading joy and doing all kinds of charity work, to a young man using his own Renault 12 station wagon car as an ambulance during the civil war. Jack was a real life super hero.

Big Jack

Eddy: Lead guitar | Ramsey: Drums & percussion | Souhail: Bass guitar | Big Jack: guitar & lead vocal

Electric Warriors

After the band’s inception in the late 70’s, Electric Warriors became a household name in the Lebanese scene. They sold out theaters and became one of the first bands, if not the very first band, to use special effects on stage in Lebanon. Of those legendary concerts were the multi-day shows at La Cite, Jounieh in 1983. The shows were spread into 4 days, from 27 to 30 of December that year.

Check out below some photos from the golden age of Rock and Metal in Lebanon. The photos below are from Electric Warriors from several eras of the band’s life and their shows in 1983 at La Cite Jounieh.

Electric Warriors Gallery

After Electric Warriors

After Electric Warriors went into hiatus in the early 90s, Jack then went into a solo career and worked on a lot of side projects. The most notable was the 2004 song “Rise for the Genocide” by A.R.G.F. that featured many local musicians as a local All-Star song in the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. (Video Below)

In the year 2010, Electric Warriors did a reunion in an attempt to revive the band. They had a show later on in 2011 at FreeWay Center in Sin El Fil with Christian Metal band TAKWEEN.

Big Jack - Electric Warriors

After that, Big Jack went on to form a new band, MARANATHA, a Christian Heavy Metal band, with the youth of his church. In September 2016, he shared his excitement with us that Maranatha will be releasing a full-length. “Soon we have a surprise for everyone. New album release of MARANATHA. Christian metal group followed by a concert”- Says Jack to Metal Bell in 2016.

This news was great for us since Jack was out of the spotlight for many years at the time.

Unfortunately, only few months later, in December that year, Khatchadourian was hospitalized but soon recovered and went back to his home only days later. After that incident, the news of a New Album from the Legendary vocalist were gone.

Big Jack is the father of Chris Khatchadourian, the vocalist of the theatrical Rock band In Sanity Q. The band also shares Electric Warriors’ drummer extraordinaire Ramsey Khattar.

The Metal Bell family would like to send its condolences to Jack’s family and friends.

BIG JACK ROCK IN PEACE \\m//

  • We would like to thank Ramsey Khattar for the information he shared with us about Big Jack, in order for us to complete this article.

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Prominence Introduces New Member

New comers, Prominence, released their first song, four months ago and it features none other than Derek Roddy (ex-Nile, ex-Hate Eternal, Serpents Rise) behind the kit.

Prominence is a new Death Metal band from Lebanon formed less than a year ago. It was gathered by Rock INsight Organization‘s founder and ex-Within Destruction drummer Jack Khamo. After several posts and teasers, Prominence released their first single “Slaughter of Dreams”. The song was composed and written by Khamo himself. But on this song, Jack decided to record the guitar and the bass rather than the drums, leaving that mission to the DW drummer Derek Roddy. Joining him as well on the guitars are guitarists Matt Lawand and Albert Obeid.

As the line up of Prominence was shaky, the band performed with Albert Obeid  during Metal United World Wide Event but as a session guitarist. The band have put up a great show with Albert giving it all on the axe.

A few days ago only, the band announced their newest member, Maurice Semaan, with a post that reads:

“Ladies and gentlemen! We introduce you our new axe-man! Mr. Maurice Semaan! Welcome to the family brother! Another big news coming your way next week, stay tuned and stay metal \m/”

Prominence updated line up is: Maurice Semaan (Guitar), Matt Lawand (Guitar), Sergio Ashjian (Bass), Jack Khamo (Drums), and Nareg Cherchian (Vocals).


“Slaughter of Dreams” featured the legend Derek Roddy ( ex-Nile, ex-Hate Eternal, Serpents Rise) on drums. The song was recorded by all band members (Jack Khamo, Matt ML, Sergio Ashjian, Nareg Cherchian) and our friend Albert Obeid. The song was recorded with Anwar Habib and Triptych Studio.

Prominence was announced to perform in this year’s edition of Beirut Metal Fest on September 7th at Porsche Factory Beirut. The festival will be headlined by Death Metallers Decapitated.


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JAY WUD Tour With SONS OF APOLLO

No one can deny that Jay Wud, the 4-piece band from Dubai, has become a household name in the Rock and Metal community. The Lebanese guitarist and his multinational band have crossed many borders throughout the years.

Jay Wud are no strangers to the international platforms as they performed in the legendary VIPER ROOM in Los Angeles, as well in several festivals in Europe and the region.  Opening for bands like Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, and Skunk Anansie surely made Jay Wud one of the biggest names in the Middle East. And now, Jay Wud Tour with Sons Of Apollo just lifted the bar even higher.

Few Days ago, Jay announced a tour with the super-group SONS OF APOLLO that features Dream Theater’s ex-Drummer Mike Portnoy and ex-Keyboardist Derick Sherinian. Jay Wud will participate in 5 of the 9 shows of the UK & IRELAND 2018 SOS tour.

In addition to the tour, Jay Wud announced in January his participation in the Amplified Festival in the UK on July 8th here.

JAY WUD Tour With SONS OF APOLLO

JAY WUD Tour With SONS OF APOLLO Dates

02.07 Motherwell, Motherwell concert hall
03.07 Belfast, Limelight
04.07 Dublin, Tivoli
07.07 Brighton, The Haunt
08.07 Gloucestershire UK, Amplified Festival (not as part of SOS tour)
08.07 Nottingham, Rescue Room


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Kaoteon Strikes Again!

After much awaited time, the band beloved by the entirety of the local scene, Kaoteon, has finally released a new album. The band has had a great start this year, releasing the album as part of Complexity Fest in the Netherlands. “Damnatio Memoriae” is a twist on death metal, with the wicked elements of atmospheric black metal and the brutality of death metal. Kaoteon has taken on what bands like Behemoth have created and weaved into a unique blend. This separates the band’s release from others and lets it shine out due to the gloomy atmosphere it sets.

Kaoteon Damnatio Memoriar

Formed in late 1998 as a one-man band by guitarist Anthony Kaoteon (and then later joined by Walid Wolflust (also known as Walid Choughari) on vocals, the band has gone through multiple lineup changes often revolving around them. On their latest album, two session musicians, Linus Klausenitzer from Obscura and Fredrik Widigs from Marduk, were featured.

The album, in my opinion, is a great representation of what Kaoteon’s music is all about. Instrumentally, “Damnatio Memoriae” isn’t your usual blast beat only metal riffs, but a balance between the latter and great melody. The bass isn’t following the guitar but rather doing its own thing and the drums are just a complex merge of technicality with a drop of groove. With such a musically diverse-in the sense-background, the vocals cover anything from haunting shrieks to hardcore growls. The album opens up with two emotionally contrasting songs. While “Damnatio Memoriae” starts out with enraged vocals that sear hearts and instruments that roar with uncontrollable fury, the next track “Barren Lands” gives a more openly aggressive sound similar to that of modern black metal artists. And thus unfolds the album as a harmonious combination of total mayhem and melody.

Yet throughout the album, the band keeps the composition and structure efficient with the instruments building up upon each other and aggravating until they all erupted, as the vocals stared in the eyes of “the man” and spit blood onto them. With a consistent nod of oriental background and a touch of progressive music, Kaoteon slowly soared above ending the record with a glorious resurrection of what the band is all about. The album sheds light on themes such as political corruption and religious intolerance, topics to which they have been often faced in their country. And if that’s not enough, the band has released the album on its own with the help of great mixer Daniel Bergstrand.

Support the band and order their album for only 6 bucks!

Kaoteon’s Damnatio Memoriae Tracklisting:

Damnatio Memoriae
Barren Lands
Raging Hellfire
Venom Of Exalt
The Will
Non Serviam
Light Of Compassion
Into The Mouth Of Kaos
A Breath


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Iraqi Dark Phantom Needs Your Help To Tour Syria

Lone survivors of the Iraqi Metal Scene, Dark Phantom, are planning to tour Syria. If you don’t know who Dark Phantom are yet, do check out our interview and article that have all you need to know about them >HERE<. Iraqi Dark Phantom needs your help to finance this tour. It is not not much to ask, the fund-raising is set to collect 1,200 €. Since they launched the campaign until today, they have collected (to date of writing this article) 322 €.

Murad Mohammed, the band’s guitarist and main-man, has written a message (read below) as a description of the purpose of the fund-raising. In this letter, the band’s leader sheds the light on the situation of Metal in Iraq, which is apparently “illegal” and their struggle in having any possibility in performing there.  The band then took the decision to visit their war-torn neighbors for multiple shows. But such shows need funding, hence the “money pot” project.

For Donations: LEETCHI

Or support by buying DARK PHANTOM’S album “Nation Of Dogs” >here<

Welcome to this money pot !

Hello earthlings, We’re Dark Phantom a Heavy Metal band from Iraq, We started this campaign to raise money to travel and tour in our neighboring war torn country Syria and play multiple Metal shows there with our original music, We work full time jobs and are trying our best to support the band and the Metal scene in both Iraq and Syria but our sole effort is not enough and we need financial help, We go through daily struggle to practice as a band wether it’s equipments that are too expensive for us or finding a place to practice since music in these forms are forbidden and prohibited by law and religion, Many times our shows get canceled mostly by the Ministry of Culture! They state that such music cane never be played in here, That’s why we need Metal patriots around the globe to help us out to travel to Syria to make a good impact in the Metal scene and spread the word and the music here in the Middle-east.

Best regards,

Murad Mohammed, Leader of Dark Phantom.

STAY CONNECTED WITH DARK PHANTOM:

FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE | BANDCAMP


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Wyvern’s Guitarist And Co-Founder Marawan Shaaban Dead At 39

Wyvern’s Guitarist and Co-founder Marawan Shaaban Dead At 39!

Today, The Egyptian Metal Scene received shocking news concerning one of the most popular Egyptian metal bands, Wyvern, as Marawan Shaaban, Wyvern guitarist, passed away.

A number of Egyptian metal musicians mourned the death of Shaaban, such as Ehab Khaled Fawzy, Medic vocalist and guitarist, Sayed Ragai, Sinprophecy vocalist, Shung the guitarist of Sand Aura and Ahl Sina, Ismail Attalah Crescent vocalist and Metal Blast Festival team. (see below)

Egyptian guitarist Marawan Shaaban was announced dead today. Metal Bell Magazine learned about the passing of the Egyptian leading guitarist from a post made by Metal Blast Festival.

Marawan has been battling Leukemia for the past year, and he finally lost the battle to cancer. Wyvern are yet to post a statement. Meanwhile, we only wish for Marawan to Rest In Peace and share the grief with his family and friends.

Wyvern’s Guitarist and Co-founder Marawan Shaaban Dead At 39!

Wyvern is one of the oldest Metal bands in Egypt with a huge fan base. “WYVERN was the first heavy metal band to perform in a public music festival in Egypt since the ‘Great Arrest’ in 1997.”

Egypt’s Metal Scene Mourns Marawan Shaaban

-Rana Atef & T.P.


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