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In anticipation of their March 8 performance dubbed "The Resurrection" with their new line-up and opening act FreeFall at the Quadrangle in Hazmieh, Lebanon, our managing editor Habib T interviewed Lebanese heavy metal band Aces High's lead Guitarist Omar Jauhari.

Habib: How did the band come together?
Omar: Nizar Masri and I had formed the band about a year ago, experiencing many line-up changes while performing with different people at almost every show. Our band was on a break for a few months during summer before finishing up its new line up sometime around late December. Hrag Meguerdichian (Vocals) and Joseph Abi Rached (Bass) joined the band along with its original members Omar Jauhari (Lead guitar), Joseph "Dave" Sadek (Rhythm guitar), and Nizar Masri (Drums). Our new line-up has really set the bar, with a heavier and more engaging sound.

What inspired you to make this band?

Our passion and love for the genre of Heavy Metal and the fun of jamming and performing together inspired us to make this band happen. 

Are you working on any originals?

Yes! We have 5 originals written and done, and we will be playing 3 of them at the show we're headlining on the 8th of March at the Quadrangle.

What can the audience expect at your gig on March 8th?

We want our audience to have the night of their lives! Our aim is to have everyone enjoy our heavy and melodic riffs, intense drum beats, and powerful vocals. We will make sure everyone is not going to be able to stop headbanging and singing along with us to our covers and originals. We love to communicate with our audience and headbang with them to our impending breakdowns.

Name your top 5 favorite bands and tell us how they influenced your music.

Our top 5 favourite bands are Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, Metallica, Five Finger Death Punch, and Pantera. We love to have a variety in our taste in music, and it influences us to play songs from different subgenres in the Metal.

Do you have any interesting/fun routines you do before a live performance as a band?

Well considering this is the new line-up's first show, there aren't any certain routines we have before a performance at the moment. Although, whenever a show is close by such as the one at Quadrangle, the whole band meets up to have a meal at my house before the show since I (Omar) live right next to the venue.

Any words for the readers of Metality?
We want to thank the readers of Metality for giving us the opportunity for this interview, and we hope to see you at the show this Wednesday headbanging with us!

You can find the event page on Facebook here.


Ahead of his performance with Nader Sadek and several Lebanese metal bands at the Metal Gathering on February 11th at Metro al Madina hosted by Metal Bell Magazine, our editor-in-chief Kareem interviewed drummer Derek Roddy. Derek will also be hosting a drum clinic at Ashrafieh's Instruments Garage on the same day at 12pm!

Kareem: You’re playing in Lebanon for the first time ever with Nader Sadek soon! How are
you feeling? We’re looking forward to having you here.

Derek: I’m very much looking forward to it. My great grandfather was Lebanese so it will be
great to be able to see the beautiful country for the first time.

Do you have a favorite song by Nader Sadek that you enjoy playing?

Oh man, haha… they’re all pretty fun but of the ones we’re playing I’d say
"Deformation" and "Entropy" are 2 of my favorites.

How’d you and Nader get together? Are you recording any new material with him?

Nader and I started playing together in 2014, but we’ve known each other a good
while, back in my Hate Eternal days. We had lost touch for a few years but good
to be in touch again and playing. It’s nice to be able to do gigs and not have to
make such a big commitment to touring, etc with a full time band. Owning my
own Reptile Business makes it hard for me to break away for long periods as I
need to be home for my animals. So it works out perfect.

What are some of the other music projects you’ve been working on these days?

I’ve got several bands I’m working on locally right now, as well as some bands that
never got finished recording, etc haha. It’s hard to get everything done when
time is so limited but, at the moment I have my “Florida Death Metal” band “The
Great Die”. A progressive metal/extreme metal band named “Black Curtain” and a
Prog Rock band named “Life Ever After”. In addition to those, I also have a 4th
Serpents Rise album in the works, a re recording of the "Council of the Fallen” that
Kevin Quirion (Deicide) and I recorded many years ago and a few other
surprises. So, I’m looking forward to 2017 being a busy year musically.

Tell us about an embarrassing, but memorable, moment that happened while on

Well, don’t have too many of those but there were always funny and exciting things
happening around us when touring. Gear defects are always fun. haha….such as
beaters coming out of your pedals mid song, or stands breaking and cymbals
flying down at you during a set. Or how about the drum throne sliding off the back
of the riser while you’re on it! yeah, thats happened. Haha.

What advice do you have for young drummers who are trying to improve and master
the instrument?

To master? Simple… Play, play, play it’s the only way. And play with people. Get out of
your bedroom or practice area and playing and connect with other musicians.
That’s what makes you good.

What’s your warm-up routine or pre-show ritual?
Water and stretching. Haha.

What have you been listening to lately?

“Free Salamander Exhibit” release, Anything that “Virus” (Norway) has out…..just
killer. “Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum” another one of my favorites.

What have you been doing these days outside of music?

A lot of outdoor things like canoeing, hiking, biking, the beach, swimming, etc…. Since I
live in South Florida, we have beautiful weather all year round so, I get outside a
lot. Haha.

Any final remarks for Metality’s readers and metal fans from across the Middle East?

Can’t wait to rock with my metal brothers and sisters. I’m excited to play for you all.

Thanks for your time, Derek! We’ll see you soon! Cheers!

You can find Derek on Facebook here.
You can find the Metal Gathering event Facebook page here.


As part of Metality's interviews with the bands performing in the upcoming Metal Gathering on February 11 at Beirut's Metro al Madina organized by Metal Bell Magazine, our managing editor Habib T chatted with Kareem, the guitarist and vocalist of Lebanon's Voice of the Soul, who will share the stage with Nader Sadek: In the Flesh, Slave to Sirens, and Within Destruction.

Habib: You’re sharing the stage with Nader Sadek for the first time I believe? How does that feel? What can we expect?

Kareem: Yes, it will be the first time. I’m pretty excited. As some folks here knew, we were supposed to share the stage together a year or two ago, but due to an emergency it had to be postponed. All in all, I’m glad it’s happening again. I’m looking forward to checking out Derek Roddy in action with my own eyes, as well as the two opening bands, Within Destruction and Slave To Sirens. I always like checking out new bands that the scene has to offer.

What can you tell us about the recent change in your line-up?

Yeah, so Rudy left the band recently, and we wish him all the best. We had an incredible two years with him. He is a fantastic multi-instrumentalist and any band that works with him is going to have a great time.
I’m really excited to have Bachir Ramadan on board though. He’s an old friend, who is obsessed with playing the drums. Fans in the UAE will know him from his days with Perversion, and folks in Lebanon will know him from his time with Weeping Willow. You’re going to get to see his spin on Voice of the Soul’s songs on Saturday. Really happy with how things have been going so far!

Is there any routine you usually follow to get ready for a show?

A glass of red wine, some relaxing music, and sometimes a walk. I like to have a quick warm up on the guitar 30 minutes or so before my set starts, and make sure it’s tuned up nicely. Also: breathing exercises. Worst thing is feeling like you have to puke halfway through your set.

What have you been listening to a lot lately?

When it comes to metal I’ve been listening to Trees of Eternity’s long-awaited debut album, Hour of the Nightingale. Aleah (RIP), for such a modest human being, has one of the most beautiful voices out there, and comes up with incredible melodies. Juha is one of my favorite song writers, and Kai Hahto? Legend. What a beautiful album. I’m also enjoying the new stuff Mastodon are putting out, and I love the new Testament album.Otherwise, I’m listening to a lot of Low, The National, and A Perfect Circle.

Where do you see the Lebanese metal scene heading after this show?

I really hope we see it moves towards coexistence, mutual understanding, and the end of this immature factionalism. It’s a shame. There is a lot of potential, but there is a lot of internal bullshit that needs to be cleaned up.

Any words for Metality readers?

If you’re in Lebanon, stop by and say hello at the show! And thanks to everyone who keeps supporting Voice of the Soul and local bands they like through and through. Take it easy!

You can find Voice of the Soul on Facebook here.
You can find the Metal Gathering event page on Facebook here.


Ahead of the Metal Gathering event on February 11th at Beirut's Metro al Madina, organized by Metal bell Magazine and headlined by Nader Sadek: In the Flesh, as well as Voice of the Soul and Within Destruction [Lebanon], our managing editor Habib T chatted with all-female Lebanese Thrash band Slaves to Sirens about their upcoming performance at the event as well as the band itself.

Habib: How was the band formed? And why the name Slave to Sirens? What inspired it?

It all started when Lilas (rhythm guitarist) wanted to do something new, which led to the idea of an all-female thrash band! After a long time searching for members she met Shery, who is now our lead guitarist, at a protest against the government regarding the garbage crisis in late 2015, and later on the girls joined to form S2S (Slave to Sirens).
We chose this name because first, we liked the way it sounds, and the second reason would be the meaning – In Greek mythology, Sirens were beautiful yet dangerous creatures that lured sailors to their doom with their enchanting voices and music, causing ships to crash on the reefs near their island, capturing some as slaves - and that is what we are trying to convey through our music.  

How does it feel to be sharing the stage with some of the top acts from Lebanon and the region?

It’s pretty exciting. We are always looking forward to sharing the thrill of the stage with bands from our local scene and the region, as well as establishing new friendships along the way.

What are you bringing us next after this gig? Can we expect any original material or an album release soon?

Well, there will be a video released soon from our first performance during Phenomy’s album release night, which was on November 1, and of course new originals will be added to our upcoming gigs. Something will definitely be coming by summer, so stay tuned! 

Tell us about your sound, and your musical and lyrical influences.

S2S members have different musical backgrounds, so our music is a mix of all our influences from Progressive metal to Death or Black metal, but of course we mainly focus on the almighty Thrash. As for the lyrics, they are always dark, angry and criticize human nature, but we do leave some space for our listeners to interpret them the way they want to.

What are your favorite recent metal releases?

Lilas: Among the recent releases in 2017, Kreator’s new album “Gods Of Violence” is my favourite so far, also there are bands I'm anticipating like Overkill’s “Grinding Wheel” album out on February 10th.

Being an all-girl band and I hope this isn’t a question you get too often, what advice can you give to rocker and metalhead girls in Lebanon and in the Middle East in general?

Just never give up on their dreams; let their voices break the walls of silence and social oppression.

What about advice for up-and-coming bands in the scene?

We don’t really find ourselves in a position to give other bands advice, considering the fact that we are still relatively new, but one thing that we always tell each other is to focus on the music, focus on the material and forget everything else!

We look forward to seeing you at the Metal Gathering at Metro al-Madina on February 11. Any words for Metality readers?

First of all we’d like to thank you, Metality, for taking the time to interview us, and to the readers: Let’s make this metal scene we have great again! February 11th will be “the day we wreck havoc on the ships of your hollow minds; be there, be many and become a Slave To Sirens!”.

You can find Slave to Sirens on Facebook here.
You can find the Metal Gathering event on Facebook here.


In anticipation of their appearance the Metal Gathering on February 11th at Beirut's Metro al Madina alongside Nader Sadek, Voice of the Soul, and Slave to Sirens, our managing editor Habib interviewed Lebanese metalcore band Within Destruction

Habib: So how did Within Destruction come about as a band? Did you guys know each other before it was formed?

Within Destruction: The band started off with the idea of Jeanpierre Saoud, our guitarist, who teamed up with another guitarist and they searched for a drummer and two vocalists (clean and growls). They got Charbel Maroun, our current bassist, and then added Ziad Mehieddine as a 3rd guitarist. Due to certain circumstances the vocalist and the guitarist had to leave the band, and we had to change the other vocalist due to a change in the band's style. Within Destruction was left with Jeanpierre Saoud, Charbel Maroun, and Ziad Mehieddine who were close friends way before the idea of a band came up. Malek Haddad later joined us as a vocalist and we all seemed to click at once, as we started working hard and writing originals with harmony and ease, of course with the help of our previous Drummer Jack Khamo. We recently changed drummers while staying in good term with Jack. Now our drummer is Nizar Masri, a very talented young drummer.

What can the fans expect regarding your performance at the Metal Gathering?

We're going to play 5 of our originals, 3 of which were never heard before. We promise our fans amazing melodies and neck-breaking breakdowns.

How does it feel sharing the stage with Nader Sadek and other talented musicians?

Having to play along such amazing headliners is beyond what we thought we'll ever achieve. It's a huge honor.

What would you say would be your top 5 musical influences?

Our top 5 influences are As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red, Amon Amarth, Lamb of God, and Bullet for my Valentine.

What have you been working on lately? Is there anything you’d like to tell the fans regarding new releases?

We've completed 9 originals and we recorded a demo to be completed soon. Our main focus now is the Metal Gathering.

Do you have any pre-show habits that would help you get ready for the show?

We always sit together and chill out, and try to relax before rocking the stage. Then, we rehearse our parts to ensure that we deliver our best. We try to keep focused on the main goal: DESTRUCTION!

What do you expect for the Lebanese metal scene after this show?

After this event, and every other event, we wish to deliver our message by playing our music. The songs we write are from the heart and we want people to hear our sound and not just the instruments. Metal-core in Lebanon faces some prejudice and generalization due to some cheap international bands. We would like to change peoples' way of viewing this style and enjoy this genre. We also would like to have more support from the local scene.

What have you been listening to lately? Anything you would recommend to your fans?

We have discovered Northlane not long ago, and we recommend everyone to listen to them because they give out a great message. Also, we never stop listening to Architects, August Burns Red, As I Lay Dying and A Day to Remember. They have a special place in our hearts.

Any words for Metality readers?

To all Metality readers, we want you to show up February 11 and help us rise with the scene. Enjoy life and always be profound and honest with what you love, and do what you love!

You can find the Metal Gathering event on Facebook here.
Check out Within Destruction's Facebook page here


Our editor-in-chief Kareem C had a chat with the UAE and Qatar-based musician Naser Mestarihi about his band and their latest album, Praed Street. 

Kareem: Hey Nasser! How’s it going? 

Naser: It’s going pretty good so far, we’ve just played our last show for the year and we’re kicking back during the winter break to recharge and prepare for the release of some new singles and more activity in 2017.

How’s Praed Street been received so far? 

Critically we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the press, fellow musicians and our supporters. During the summer the album ranked 9th in best selling records by a UAE music act so I’m very pleased with response so far but we’ve still got more work to do to get the music out there to those who haven’t hear it yet.

Let’s talk about your second LP, Praed Street. What would you say is the biggest difference between that and 1987, or your self-titled EP? 

Praed Street’s a major departure in terms of song structures and styles incorporated on the new record. For instance, there are more mid-tempo grooves, acoustic guitars, I took a different approach on the leads, less frantic shredding and more focus on getting some feel in there. i channeled my Michael Schenker influence on this for sure to give the leads more soul, it’s still got some shred but i wanted the leads to be meaningful. My love for metal music is also prevalent on the record on tunes like Fire, Birmingham Kiss and Prevail.

The production on this is also something I’m proud of, it was mixed and mastered at Hertz Studio, the Wieslawski brothers did a fantastic job and also I got to give Cobus some credit for his incredible drumming on the record.

What was the writing production process like? How did it differ from previous releases? 

The writing process was much more relaxed, I wrote half the record in London and the other half out here. I then sent the music tracked, demos with guide tracks over to Cobus in LA who wrote the drums in a matter of weeks.

There were a lot of spur of the moment ideas that i would come up with during tracking sessions in the studio and working with my producer Bader Al Sada was liberating cause he’s a musician too so he would be very supportive with picking the best licks or vocal parts.

You’ve played a couple of shows so far. How’s that been? When and where are the other shows scheduled? 

We actually just played our fifth show of the year a couple of weeks ago. The response at every show, well most shows, has been incredible, especially considering that the setlist predominantly features tunes off Praed street, which the audiences seem to really dig. We are currently working on scheduling shows, our focus now is to play in other parts of the Middle East region, fingers crossed if we can work it out with our peers we hope to get something rolling in 2017.

Do you have a favorite song off Praed Street? If so, what is it, and why? 

It’s definitely a battle between Winterburn and Birmingham Kiss. The former encompasses all my musical styles, it also discusses a topic I guess everyone can relate to and I hope will help people who are down on their luck feel empowered.

Birmingham Kiss is a tribute to Sabbath and musically is just so much fun to play. it’s the only song I’ve written that doesn’t have any solos, I went for powerful grooves, I wanted a song that had a riff o’ rama vibe with a lot of cool interludes.

Your bandmates are not based in Doha - how do you guys practice before shows? Do you do a quick run of your set a couple of times before the night of your show? It seems to be more common among bands, because it’s hard to have everyone live in the same place these days.

It ain’t easy man, I fly out to Dubai to rehearse so we usually have around two rehearsals right before shows but the guys (Vivian and Ziad) are total pros and we tend to nail song after song during rehearsals.

Our setlist has expanded to around an hour and a half so we got a bunch of material to pick and choose from so it’s great to know I can rely on my boys to get the songs and be right in the pocket whenever I’m back in town.

What’s Doha’s music scene like? Nervecell played there several years ago, but we never got a full glimpse of whether there are many local bands, club venues…etc. What’s your take on it? 

To be quite honest the band’s based in Dubai and most of our activity is focused on doing stuff there. We don’t really focus on the Doha scene.

What have you been listening to lately? Any favorite albums of 2016? 

Ah man, tons of records. Currently I’ve got everything from Zappa, The Allman Brothers to Night Demon playing.

I’d say my favourite records of 2016 are definitely Hardwired to Self-Destruct, my good friends Thrown Into Exile’s Safe Inside, Spiritual Beggars’ Sunrise to Sundown, I really dug the new Ghost EP that came out this year and I’m really stoked to get the new Testament record.

Other than music, what have you been up to?

Just working out, trying to stay in good shape and being healthy and long boarding haha.

What’s the most important advice you’d give to a young musician trying to improve on their instrument and perhaps try to break into their local scenes in Doha or Dubai? They’re two scenes you are very familiar with. 

The most important thing is to practice, never stop practicing, learn as many styles as possible. Explore music, buy records and embrace diverse genres, it’ll help you write and be original. Never give up no matter how bad the odds are, cause being a musician in this day and age is pretty tough regardless of where you live, just stay persistent, work hard and good things will inevitably happen.

Thanks for chatting with us, Nasser! Any final words for Metality’s readers? 

It’s always a privilege, thank you.

Support independent music and I wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!

Check out Naser's page on Facebook here.


Our editor-in-chief Kareem C interviewed Ascendant's drummer Aram Kalousdian as his band prepares for JoScene's Metal Mania II show, also featuring Steel Engraved, Voice of the Soul, and Alpha.Kenny.Buddy on the 25th of November, 2016, at Dubai's Music Room.

1.     Hi Aram! How’s everything going as Ascendant prepares for Metal Mania II?

First, allow me to thank you for having me on We are very excited to perform for the first time at Metal Mania II with great bands like Voice of the Soul from Lebanon, AKB from Dubai and Steel Engraved from Germany. This show also marks our return after being far for a very long time off the stage, due to recording our debut album and other circumstances.

2.     You guys usually perform a lot! Do you have pre-show rituals to prepare you and keep you pumped? 

Well, we haven't performed since early 2015, and that's why Metal Mania II is important for us. I have personally been performing for many years on big stages with many bands, which has allowed me to gain amazing experience and self-confidence on and off-stage. Of course, warm-ups are due before any show will help me to be pumped and ready to rock, and as Ascendant we already have the great harmony between the band members and that’s helps us to rock the stage.

3.     What’s your favorite Ascendant song to perform live and why?

My two favorite songs to perform live, are:
"Walls between us", because of the drumming and "Fog of war" because of the story/message behind the song.

4.     You’ve been involved in both Syria’s and Dubai’s metal scenes. What makes them different? 

I’ve been in Dubai for almost 4 years and I can say that Dubai is the best place in Middle East to have the opportunity to meet metalheads from different nationalities. As a person who likes to socialize, it gives me the chance to interact with local musicians who come from all over the world, as well as the chance to open for international metal bands when they perform in Dubai. Needless to say though that the scene is still somehow limited compared with the activities held.
In Syria, the Metal scene was quite big in the late 90’s and early 2000. My last show was in 2007 with The Hourglass in Aleppo, after which no metal concerts were organized. And recently due the war, many Metal heads left the country but still some underground metal gigs are happening in calm cities like Lattakia.

5.  Ascendant released a couple of songs, False Illusion and Fog of War. When will we expect an EP or album? 

False Illusion was our first single released in 2013 on our YouTube channel recorded live at The Mix studio and Fog of War was our first demo recorded in different studios and released in 2014.
The band already finished recording 8 tracks and we are in the mixing process. Release date will be early 2017.

7. Any final words for Metality’s readers and those attending Metal Mania II?

Stay tuned for updates on the album launch date! We promise you a special night to be remembered. Meanwhile, see you at Metal Mania II at Music Room. We will be performing a new song never played live before.

Check out Ascendant's song Fog of War here:

You can find Ascendant on Facebook here.
You can find the Metal Mania II event page on Facebook here


As part of our coverage for JoScene's event "Metal Mania II" on November 25th at the Music Room - Dubai, Metality's managing editor Habib T interviewed Voice of the Soul's lead guitarist and vocalist Kareem Chehayeb.

1. Kareem! It's been a while since Voice of the Soul has performed live in Dubai. What do you expect from this gig? Got anything special in store for the audience?

It has been far too long! Well, I’m really excited about sharing the stage again with my friends from AKB and Ascendant, and Steel Engraved were supposed to perform a couple of years ago. Thankfully, Dubai will get a chance to properly see them perform.

Well, we’re really excited to finally showcase our new album “Catacombs” in Dubai. Our set list will primarily consist of songs off the album. We also have Michel Maalouly joining us on bass. We’re very excited about having him on board with us.

2. Your debut album 'Catacombs' has been received quite positively since its release in 2015. Anything you can tell us about your next release?

Thanks! I think with every release we want to keep building on the strong elements of our previous release, and so on. But of course, influences and ideas develop over time with musicians. Due to the issues we faced as a band, we’re focusing heavily on giving Catacombs the exposure it deserves through some shows now, but the new album is a slow work in progress. It’ll happen though.

3. Speaking of Catacombs, what's your favorite song to play live from that album, and why?

Pendulum for sure! It’s difficult to pull off as a band live…so sounding super tight playing that song is very satisfying.

4. VoTS's members have been living in different countries for a while now. How do you overcome the distance and work together?

Yeah, we’ve had it worse in the past. Right now, most of us are in Lebanon, and Monish recently moved back to Kuwait. Thankfully, we have tools like Skype, GuitarPro, We Transfer, and WhatsApp to make life easier for us.

5. As part of the Lebanese metal scene, what do you think would revive it and make it more active?

I think it’s too factionalized, sort of like the politics. There is too much judgement on sub-genres and what not. While the Dubai scene faces its own problems too, there never would be an issue about - say, a death metal band sharing the stage with a nu metal band. I mean, look at the Metal Mania II lineup, you have nu metal, death metal, heavy metal, and power metal. It’s a nice diverse lineup. I’m not sure why some folks find that to be a problem. I think that’s how we can gather numbers, be able to have larger shows, expand networks of lovers of heavy music.

6. Any words for the readers of Metality and to the people who will attend Metal Mania II? 

Thank you!
Always a pleasure chatting with Metality who have supported us since day one during the good old days of My Space! Those attending Metal Mania II, we look forward to seeing you. Come say hi and have a drink with us. Don’t forget to wear a VOTS t-shirt if you have one to get your discount on a copy of Catacombs. We can’t wait to finally play some of these new songs live in Dubai!

Check out Voice of the Soul's playthrough video for 'Pendulum':

Don't forget to catch Voice of the Soul and other great bands on Friday, November 25 at the Music Room, Dubai, in 'Metal Mania II' hosted by JoScene!

You can find Voice of the Soul on Facebook here.
You can find the Metal Mania II event page on Facebook here


In anticipation of JoScene's upcoming event Metal Mania II at The Music Room, featuring Germany's Steel Engraved, as well as local acts Alpha.Kenny.Buddy (AKB), Voice of the Soul, and Ascendant, Metality's editor-in-chief Kareem C interviewed AKB's bassist Ali Square.

1. Hey Ali! How’s it going? Tell us about how things have been going since Violent Asymmetry has been released?

Hello there! Things have been great in the UAE music scene. Lot of great bands with great music and we are happy to be a part of it.
We have got a lot of positive feedback and support from our friends and few fans from outside the UAE, and a majority of them are so happy that we brought back NuMetal music back to life.

2. What makes Violent Asymmetry different than your self-titled release, which came out about two years ago?

Well the production is top notch thanks to Hadi Sarieddine at Haven studio. As our producer, Hadi knew what we were looking for and captured the sound and the vibes of AKB. Plus the songs are groovier and more energetic!

3. What’s your favorite song off Violent Asymmetry, and why? 

My favorite song from our album is Dropping Dead Weights. Because it has the old school NuMetal feel, and we simply enjoyed jamming the song in the rehearsals. Great song to headbang to!

4. You guys are prepping up for Metal Mania II alongside Steel Engraved from Germany, Voice of the Soul, and Ascendant. How stoked are you guys?

I’m sure the guys are super stoked. They are happy that JoScene gave them the opportunity to showcase their songs in such a great night alongside some of the greatest metal bands in the region. Most of all, I’m personally super excited to see Voice of the Soul after a long time being absent from the scene and of course Ascendant with their classic heavy metal tunes and great melodic stuff!

5. Tell us about one of the funniest or most embarrassing moment’s AKB experienced while performing live.

I have great memories with the guys and every moment was great and amusing, but the funniest moment was when Salman the guitarist fell off the stage at our second gig back in 2011. It’s still a funny memory to this date between us and our friends (laughs).

6. Let’s be honest here. You’re an awesome bassist. What’s the biggest mistake beginner bassists make when trying to learn or master their instrument?

Honestly speaking, and I’m not trying to be humble or anything, there is so much to it that I need to learn and I still consider myself as a beginner musician. But there are few things that I have learned from greater bass players in the region and YouTube videos and a little bit of my own personal experience, which are:

A- The tone of your bass guitar is very important, besides skills and techniques.

B- Feel the music that you play and express your emotions and energy live on stage!

7. I’m not going to take up any more of your time. Any final words for Metality’s readers and those in Dubai before Metal Mania II? 

Again, I’m super stoked for Metal Mania II; it is going to be a great night for all the music lovers. Thank you so much for this interview. My last words would be...just shut up and play louder and faster goddamn it!

For a taste of AKB's tunes, here's their music video for their song "Dropping Dead Weights".

Don't miss out on AKB and other awesome bands at JoScene's Metal Mania II.

You can find Alpha.Kenny.Buddy on Facebook here.
JoScene's Metal Mania II event is on Facebook here


Album: Prepare To Die (EP)
Artist: Tyranny Rising
Label: Self-released
Release Date: July 10, 2016
Reviewer: Kareem Chehayeb

Dubai’s young death-metallers Tyranny Rising have put out a killer debut EP which has certainly raised the bar in a scene that has been relatively quiet lately. The band consists of Borna Fana on vocals, Bassel Fahel and Marco Ferrer on guitar, Franz Cabrera on bass, and Raymond Ferrer. Prepare To Die was recorded at Dubai’s Haven Studio and produced by Hadi Sarieddine.

Tyranny Rising’s debut EP brings together the best across the extreme metal subgenre. The opening track, Go For The Throat is a catchy and raw opener that is guaranteed to open up a moshpit at any venue. It brings the best out of your favorite death metal and thrash songs with a modern twist; think of (successful) supergroups like Bloodbath and Witchery.

But that doesn’t mean that Prepare To Die is nostalgia-inducing casual listen. On the contrary, the rest of the album reveals a wide variety of influences from more modern bands, such as Job For A Cowboy, The Black Dahlia Murder, and more. Closing track Venture brings out that diversity, and it also brings out the awesome vocal range of Borna, who isn’t shy to add some low growls and screams to his usual mid-range voice. I love the lead work I heard on Venture as well, so I hope to see and Bassel and Marco venturing higher up on their fretboards.

Overall, Prepare To Die is a great listen. These guys are talented, and have tons of potential. Each song comes with its own unique identity, but has enough in common to fit well together in this EP. Tyranny Rising are still a young band, so we’ll see where their sound goes with future releases, but this is clearly a promising sign. It’s certainly a nice change from what I believe has been a generally lackluster period in the Middle East and North Africa’s extreme metal scene.

Prepare To Die is available for free or “pay as you like” on Tyranny Rising’s Bandcamp page.

Keep up with Tyranny Rising:


A while ago, the Swedish band Frantic Amber was interviewed by our new contributor Fonda!

A little background on the band first: Back in 2008, an all-female band was established in Sweden, having the musical approach of melodic death metal. Through the course of time and some band member changes, they currently have a male drummer to complete the band. They had played in a lot of shows such as the Wacken Metal battle, Swedish Rock Festival, Grindhouse, Carpe Noctem, and so on!

Fonda: Hails Frantic Amber!

Frantic Amber: Hello Fonda and Metality readers!

Did winning several awards open doors for new opportunities for Frantic Amber? What did you do to celebrate it? 

Yes definitely. One thing leads to another as they say! We got to play on bigger stages and got our name out and about. The celebration itself is being on stage for example when got picked to play at P3 Guld Awards, Sweden Rock Festival and when we won Wacken Metal Battle and got to play at the Wacken Festival.

I know that you have shared the stage with a lot of great musicians. But, can you tell me a specific band in which Frantic Amber actually felt honored playing with them on the same festival or event? (I am picturing you squealing like a crazy fan deep inside when you saw the band). You can answer individually.

Elizabeth: Behemoth! I’m a huge fan of them and feel so honoured to have performed on the same stage as them.
Mio: Mother's Finest at Sweden Rock Festival 2015. Met them at the same hotel we were staying at and got a picture with the singer.

Who are some of the artist or musicians you want to collaborate with?

Mio: Devin Townsend would be awesome to work with, and also Peter Tägtgren.

Elizabeth: I would absolutely love to put together a huge production where we collaborate with professional ballet dancers on the stage and a symphony orchestra playing along with the band in the orchestra pit. I would then want to do both vocals and be dancing.

Since you all came from different ethnic backgrounds, ever thought of writing songs in Swedish, Danish, Japanese or Colombian Spanish?

Elizabeth: I mainly write lyrics in English since it’s always been my natural choice of language for expressing myself lyrically. I’ve been actively writing lyrics since I was 15 years old and have accumulated a lot pieces, mostly in English and some in Swedish, Danish, and German. But for Frantic Amber, English is our language since we want to communicate with our audience worldwide.

In making your music videos, do you also input your ideas depending on the content of your songs?

The video that has the most lyrical influences is Ghost. We were recording in an old broken-down mansion without electricity so we filled the entire room with candles. In the side story we were all portrayed as ghosts. The lyrics are an abstract depiction of wandering through the darkness, to feel invisible and insignificant but at the same time frustrated and angry. Truths are revealed from the core and forces in the darkness represents the subconsciousness tearing at it.
Our other videos were mostly based on cool ideas and don’t have ties to the lyrics specifically.

Do you believe that there’s an advantage by being a female in the metal scene? And have you ever experienced any sexism?

When we first started and released an EP and the video for Wrath of Judgement we were met by a lot of mixed feedback. It was either love or hate. The haters were brutal and sprinkled with sexism, but we chose to focus on the good. It’s become better with time and it feels like the metal scene is getting more used to female metal musicians.
It’s fun and exciting to show people that we can deliver both brutality and melody just as good as any metal band with all-male members. It’s important to focus on the music and not on gender. We just do what we love and salute the fact that more women are finding their way to the stage.

Mac, being the man in the group, if there’s an actual catfight between the lovely women, are you the type of referee who stops the boxing match or, the one who says ‘Round 2! Fight!’ hehehe?

Mac: I would probably be smart enough not to get in between.

Ever thought touring outside Europe like US, Asia or even places in the Middle East like Dubai?
We would of course love to travel far and wide to tour and hope to find serious bookers all over the world that wants to bring us there.

Elizabeth, you used to be a ballerina. Have you tried incorporating some of those ballerina moves with hard rock/metal music? Would you mind sharing with us a video if you actually did that already?

Elizabeth: Yes, I’ve definitely thought about it a lot, but never recorded anything...yet. I probably will someday and I’ll share it with you all on YouTube!

Mary, you love Math and Physics.. 8989 / 6 = ? (No calculator please! Just kidding). So I presume you like sci-fi movies? Ever thought of being a professor or scientist before?

Mary: I started studying a Technical Physics program at college and wanted to specialize in math, but my life turned into a different direction, and the music got a whole other meaning to me. Recently, I picked up my studies again but changed program to Computer Science and plan to finish my Bachelor's in a little bit over a year or so.

Mio, which type of motorcycle do you have? Since when have you started learning martial arts? You grew up in Sweden, but can you speak Japanese?

Mio: I have a Suzuki DR650 and a KTM 525 Desert Walking with extra big tank. Both bikes are good for driving day-trips on gravel roads.
I have practised Karate (Goju-ryu) and Kung Fu (Choy lee fut), but because the band and work take a lot of time, I unfortunately do not have the time to continue.
I was only 4 years old when my family moved to Sweden, and there were not many Japanese people around to maintain the language. So, I understand Japanese at the level of a small child, but find it harder to speak.

Madeleine, you are into video games like me. Have you been to Comic Con? Are you able to play on piano the full soundtrack of Mass Effect?

Madeline: Yes, I don't play as much nowadays but when I do I enjoy playing games such as Diablo or Mass Effect. I haven't been to Comic Con, but I have been to only a smaller one in Sweden. It would be very fun to go the really big conventions abroad.
I only play the keyboard sometimes at home and teach myself through YouTube videos, so I'm not there yet, but maybe someday I will be able to play the whole thing.

Mac, you are into science, wildlife and history, so do you enjoy travelling to places that have historical monuments, literature, and the like? Name a place that you enjoyed visiting. And oh, what’s your famous recipe?
Yes, I love traveling in general, especially if it gives me a new experience. Angkor Wat was an awesome place to visit.
Funny, I hardly ever cook by recipe! I am more like a MacGyver of the kitchen: I improvise a lot!

Now let’s play a game. Describe another band member in one word and say why you used that word.

Elizabeth describing Mary: A great leader and a strong person. She sets high goals and achieves them with passion and drive.
Mary describing Mio: Strong-minded and dedicated to everything she does. Perfect skills both musically and in organizing.
Mio describing Madeleine: A bit shy. Committed, hardworking, always tries to do her best, and open-minded to develop herself and her playing.
Madeleine describing Mac: Calm and collected. He has a very positive and relaxed view on life and shares his positive energy with others.
Mac describing Elizabeth: Positive. Always the happy, cheerful Lizzy, spreading her happiness all around!

Thank you once again for this opportunity! We do hope to see Frantic Amber in this part of the world soon!

Further band contact: | | |


Album name: Soul Searcher
Band: Griever
Label: Independent
Release date: May 27, 2016
Reviewer: ThatDisgruntledDude (Metality contributor)

Soul Searcher’ is a 6 track EP by Griever, a 5-piece metalcore band hailing from England. Their sophomore effort combines machine gun staccato riffing, elaborate solos and the usual fare of clean and guttural vocals that you’d expect from a metalcore record.

Soul Searcher is a well-constructed blend of old school melodeath metal and modern metalcore, and 10 seconds into the EP, and you know that these guys grew up listening to In Flames, As I Lay Dying, Soilwork and the like. The music is stellar, and everything flows together seamlessly (a little too seamless for my taste, but I guess that’s the industry norm nowadays.) The production is top notch, the musicianship is virtuosic, the hooks stick; in fact, everything is executed close to near-perfection. But I still think that this record is mediocre at best.

Why the harsh words? What’s my gripe with this band?

Everything about this EP should tick all the right boxes. I really enjoy the songs, and I can definitely groove to them, but what I love and what is also Soul Searcher's biggest crutch is that they wear their influences a little too evidently on their sleeve. You’re able to pick out and identify the various bands that have been thrown into the mix when coming up with these songs. Imitation may be a form of flattery to an artist, but how long can you sustain that before you bring in your own true offering?

Obtaining a sound that defines you isn’t easy when you’ve got giant sized shoes to fill, but the world has so many copycats that it’s almost indiscernible and nigh impossible to tell apart most bands nowadays.

Unless you’re a Gojira or a Converge, odds are that you’re going to be overlooked. If, and it’s a big hypothetical IF, Soul Searcher was to be released somewhere in the early 2000’s, these guys would have been up there with those bands, and definitely a big league player.

But this is 2016. The metalcore era has come and gone, and while many bands such as Killswitch Engage and Unearth are still around, not much has been done to break the mold. Everything about Griever tells me that these guys have what it takes to be the next big thing out there, and that they have everything that it takes to take the metal scene by storm, but they’re still a long way off, and it’s not going to be easy carving their own niche.

Here’s to hoping that Griever’s next record pushes the boundaries and brings in their own take on the stagnant metalcore genre, instead of sticking to tried and tested formulas.


You can find Griever on Facebook here.


by Habib T

The last show of the season in Dubai before the relative silence of the hot summer months, JoScene’s Blast Night III at the Music Room on June 3rd proved to be a fantastic way to end the gig season. The show was well-organized, as is usual with JoScene, in addition to this time’s fruitful collaboration with Metal Bell Magazine. DJ WYNN also played a sweet combination of metal between the sets and before the show started.

While the show was dominated by the Lebanese thrashers Blaakyum and InnerGuilt, local bands Svengali and Pull Box effectively demonstrated the energy and talent of the local metal scene.

The female-fronted Pull Box provided the opening for the show with their nu-metal and punk-like metalcore original tunes, such as “Edge”, “Overdose”, and “Why”, in addition to their cover of “Tainted Love”. While the music of this band is not my particular cup of tea, I appreciate and love their dedication and energy on the stage. The band, as usual, played with great enthusiasm, and set the stage for the increasingly violent melodies that will progress through the night.

Svengali, photo credit: Manu Anand

The stage was then taken by UAE metal scene warriors Svengali, who again proved to be a crowd-moving favorite that got the moshpits going. They played a collection of their older and newer songs, including my personal favorite “Conquer” with its uplifting atmosphere and energizing synths. They also performed headbang-inducing tunes such as “Sink or Swim” to which the crowd sang along, “Laced in Sin”, “Blindfolds”, “Floodgates”, and “Free Fall”. As usual, they had great interactions with the crowd and really got them going with several rounds of moshpits. Svengali is definitely one of those bands whose live shows should not be missed, especially considering the fantastic experience they always give the audience.

After that, it was time for Lebanese band InnerGuilt to unleash chaos from the stage, and they did so beautifully despite some sound issues. They performed a riveting mix of thrash and death metal, which was received by headbanging and moshing from the crowd. Powerful vocals and brilliant yet brutal guitars were demonstrated in the songs they played such as “Terrorized by Silence”, “Burned of Guilt”, “Through Narrow Corridors” as well as their own killer takes on Sepultura’s “Troops of Doom” and Gojira’s “Lizard Skin”. It was my first time seeing them live, and they are definitely great representatives of the Lebanese metal scene with their unforgiving musical brutality and uplifting energy. You definitely do not want to miss out on any performance by these talented and dedicated musicians.

Blaakyum, photo credit: Metal Bell Magazine

Finally, Lebanese metal veterans Blaakyum brought their brand of thrash metal with classical Arabic music elements to the stage. Having seen them open for Epica in Lebanon’s Byblos International Music Festival back in August 2014, they proved to be yet again powerful ambassadors of Lebanese metal to the world. The crowd moshed and headbanged to a set of Blaakyum’s finest tunes, such as “Lord of the Night”, “Wicked Revelation”, and “Crossing”. They also played songs with powerful social messages, such as “Ceasefire”, “The Line of Fear”, and “Destined to Rise”. In addition, they performed their song  “Rip it Off”, which is dedicated to the late Dimebag Darrell of Pantera. “Baal-Adon” is another fantastic opus of theirs I look forward to hearing on their upcoming album. These guys put up a brilliant performance indeed.

All in all, it was one hell of a night and a memorable ending for this gig season before the summer break sets in. My thanks go to JoScene, Metal Bell Magazine, DJ WYNN, and to all the bands who performed and the people who helped organize the show and make it great. I am definitely looking forward to more events like this!  

Until next time, metalheads!