Category: Album Reviews

SVENGALI Unscathed – Album Review

SVENGALI Unscathed Album Review Originally Published in Issue 5 Pages 18-19

Dubai’s Svengali have officially released their debut EP, “Unscathed”. A project initiated by Adnan Mryhij and Fadi Al Shami. Continue reading

BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear: A Remarkable Evolution – (9.2/10)

BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear – (9.2/10)

BLAAKYUM Line Of FearWe’ve come a long way from the competent but uninteresting ‘Lord of the Night’. Where the debut draws heavily from every outside influence, ‘Line of Fear’ draws inspiration from within, meaning Lebanese history, culture, and mythos. Where the traditional percussion of the ‘derbakke’ was mostly filler in the debut, it is now a major contributor to the overall mood of ‘Line of Fear’. The overall mood is now enhanced manifold, not just due to the addition of this oriental instrument, but by the perfected alchemy of all instruments with the vocals, providing a solid structure and form, fused with meaningful folk lyrics.

‘Line of Fear’ tackles a schizophrenic society in the grips of an identity and political crisis, religion, rebirth and the ancient origins of Lebanon, namely its pagan patron god. It frenziedly claws to uncover the buried identity of a slumbering, lethargic people who need to wake up and reconnect with their roots.

BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear

For 40 minutes, Blaakyum doesn’t let up, and despite the thrashing heaviness and speed of the genre, manages to deliver an intricately crafted beast that also sounds elegant. Not brutal. ELEGANT; speed, strength, and power are dealt effortlessly, yet passionately. Each of the album’s 8 slabs displays surprising variation, be it in the shifting vocal performance of Bassem Deaibess or the oriental intros that make way for the arsenal of riffs that will unmistakably show up. The cadence alternates between atmospheric oriental breaks and relentless guitar assaults that feel like waves of armies assaulting the citadel of your senses. Baal-Adon is pleased and smiles from his shiny pantheon as Blaakyum wails and roars sonic adoration into his divine ears.

This is, arguably, the first folk-oriented Lebanese metal album that really matters. It easily avoids the stigma of linearity attributed to the thrash genre, by offering a stunning musical, rhythmic, and instrumental variation without ever sounding trite; every arrangement and each break was carefully thought out and planned, resulting into a living, breathing, organic, muscled, world class performance. It is a giant leap in musicianship and content, that comparing the first album to this one, is literally comparing 2 different bands. Get this album, not because it has an exotic percussion instrument. Not because it has great vocals and spotless guitar/bass/drum work, but because it has a soul and for that reason, it will continue to please and impress you for many more listens.

BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear

BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear

You can buy BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear album from:

iTunes | Amazon | Last.fm | NAPSTER

Or from our Merchandise Stand during local events \m//


– Josef ‘Baal Moloch’ Haddad

Article originally published by our contributor writer Josef ‘Baal Moloch’ Haddad on Metal-Archive.

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EDITOR’S PICKS:

Filter Happier Trying To Rush Everything EP Review (8/10)

Filter Happier is a five-piece Post-Rock band previously known as Banana Elephent. Formed in Beirut in 2013, consisting of Elie Abdelnour (bass), Camille Cabbabé (guitar), Elie El Khoury (drums), Georgy Flouty (guitar and vocals), and Ada Harb (vocals and keys).  Filter Happier – Trying To Rush Everything EP was released on July 16th 2016. Read Review  below.

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Mostafa Zaghloul Releases New EP

Egyptian musician Mostafa Zaghloul releases his first EP titled “Ethereal”.

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OMRADE – EDARI | Album Review

Område is a French duo-band formed in June 2014 and composes music with a mixture of many dark styles like: ambient, post industrial, post rock, electronica, and even with Black Metal/Metal influences. The combo released their first opus “Edari” on April 13th of the year 2015 that includes 8 tracks. We were lucky to bump into this exceptional album a while ago and we will share our review below.

 

Omrade coverThis newly released LP takes you on a long ambivalent journey through the many realms of post-rock, with the compliment of both ambience and turbulence. This album can be listened to in the very depths of your despair or at the uttermost peaks of your joy, regardless of the atmosphere of the occasion. Omrade’s Edari consists of an eight-song sequence that can complement the musical preferences of various audiences. In spite of the great musical composition, the poor quality of sound may possibly set the listeners off on the wrong foot. Regardless, the wide variety of emotions felt throughout the duration of this LP truly makes it stand out and lure in audiences of different emotional capacities, whether they would like to rock and roll, bump in the background, or feel happy and sad all at once.

Omrade’s schizophrenic layering of black metal, post-rock/metal, ambient electronica, industrial, and trip-hop styles results in overwhelming song structures and focuses on simple riffs and atmospheres that deliver songs rather than creating trippy soundscapes. Artistic and surrealist sensibility, a great, dark, and psychotic menu expressed in this project.

 

Here is the track-by-track review:

  • Motsogn (5:10):

Driven by brooding drums, ominous ambience, and atmospheric guitar work, the first track surprisingly chills to the bone. It’s essentially something that could fit in nicely on an ambient album.

  • Mann Forelder (5:22):

This track functions in the same uplifting vein as “Motsogn”, but the song introduces the band’s emphasis on ambience this time around. The thrilling rhythm section and soaring textures pave the way here. It makes for a truly warm feeling inside and the touching guitar tone that closes out the song is a homely touch. In addition to quiet electronic drumming and various noises, strings and piano are the dominant presence. It’s a song that requires a fair amount of patience to appreciate, pure Epic Music.

 

  • Luxurious Agony (5:25):

An excellent job of maintaining a singular contemplative mood while employing different elements in songs to make them distinctive, the modulated heartbeat-like sound is juxtaposed perfectly against the calming, yet cinematic background noise. The song makes further use of the simple piano by placing it in the background and giving it some reverb at the end of the track, making it one of the standouts.

 

  • Satellite And Narrow (6:08):

The first change is the greatly increased use of vocals and drums, which shifts the balance away from the ambient leanings of previous songs towards a more energetic, dream pop sound, undoubtedly the most successful track, taking the basic structure and twisting it to get a masterpiece.

 Omrade pic 1

  • Aben Dor (5:27):

The increased presence of vocals means that lyrics play a much larger part; the duo largely contented themselves with vague, poetic vignettes that were entirely open to interpretation, just like listening to a black metal track.

 

  • Friendly Herpes (5:21):

The moody and atmospheric chill of “Friendly Herpes” keeps me coming back to its hypnotic builds and desperate Pain-like vocals. This track transitions perfectly into dark-ambient and the result is the perfect structure.

 

  • Skam Parfyme (6:31):

Opens with some celestial vibes and angelic female backing vox before it goes up the hostility and the pace.

 

  • Ottaa Sen (6:10):

Memorable in approach, emotional vocal style entwining with the cold spoken-word passages of the song, and the latter is an evocative mix of electronica and post-rock, the last track and the last heartbeat, angelic, from within, and…

 

Review Summary:

Not overly experimental, Omrade focuses on songs and keeps it fresh throughout its more than 45-minute length. Their simple take on the avant-garde results in greater accessibility, with an approachability that has the potential for accessing a fanbase that only mildly dabbles in the genre. Good music, good artwork, and good production make this a winner in my book. It’s difficult for me to admit that anyone else can do this as well. However, there is much to love here and I will continue to come back to Omrade’s debut for its straightforwardness, variety, and easy digestibility. So, if you’re ready to submit to the dark and moody, … you are welcome.

Omrade pic 2

Omrade lineup:

Jean-Philippe Ouamer: Drums and electronics

Christophe Denhez: Guitar and vocals

Mixed and mastered by: Edgar Chevalier
Artwork by: Seldon Hunt

I give it 9/10 , simply perfect.

 


Maurice Semaan & Dany Ayash

 

Turn My Gaze Up | Review

Turn My Gaze Up is Pete Barnardo’s solo album; it is a 12-track Christian Rock LP that features the talented and creative Josh Whisker on drums (and Pete himself playing all other instruments). It was released in 2015 under the Come Home record label, and the cover art & design were the work of Ruth Barrat of Red Imagination Photography.

You can buy the album from Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon.  Lyrics are available on Bandcamp (just click on the song name).

Now that the formalities are dealt with, let’s dive in! Having had the honor to meet the guy himself on his visit to Lebanon, I, on behalf of Metal Bell, have the privilege to listen to this piece of art and share my critical opinion of it.  Without further ado, let us start reviewing!

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The Black Dahlia Murder: Abysmal – Album Review

The Melodic Death Metal band known as “The Black Dahlia Murder” have promised us a gruesome unpolished raw album in one of their interviews. That’s what we would expect from a band named after a terrible and nauseating crime. But this is no new band, for they have been around since 2001 and hold 6 albums in their record, with “Abysmal” being the seventh.

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Cradle of Filth: Hammer of The Witches – Album Review

Cradle of Filth is one of those bands that have been around for nearly 25 years, and with a band such as this one, it’s very hard to guess if they can/will be bringing us something new. But fans don’t always accept “new” from bands that have been long in the business, because they want the old savage obscene stuff on the likes of albums as “Principle of Evil Made Flesh”, “Dusk and Her Embrace”, “Cruelty and The Beast”, etc. And that was very evident when the band took a small shift in style on various newer albums

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Ghost: Meliora – Album Review

Ghost is this really strange band that hides behind masks and no one (except for the record company and managers) knows who the members are. But who cares anyway, this has only added more mysteriousness and probably more interest in this band that has risen into mainstream success (?) in a matter of 5 years since the release of its debut album titled “Opus Eponymous”, and the band rode a speeding train to mainstream with its second album “Infestissumam” which was a follow-up success, although it showed a huge shift in musical direction from the previous album.

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Nile: What Should Not Be Unearthed – Album Review

Nile is one of “those” bands that helped define and shape Death Metal in general, and technical Death Metal precisely. Now you see, ever since their formation, Nile have been putting out, and at a very steady rate, nothing but flesh melting riffs and face battering drumming as brutal and fast as the human mind can imagine, backed by the gruesome growls of Karl Sanders, infused with minor sounds and some oriental instruments to give the atmospheric feel of ancient times, especially from the times of the pharaohs, all of which creating a distinctive sound for the band.

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