BOUQ - Berserk [Review]

Genre: Dark/Black Metal

Label: Horned Helmet Productions

Released: December 6th, 2010

Reviewer: Karim Tarek

It’s been a long time since I last reviewed an Arabic Metal band’s album, almost a year or so, but here I go again; this time with Jordan’s Dark/Black Metal band Bouq. I think it’s quite normal that Jordan bestows us this quality band, for the Jordanian Metal scene has generally always been a flourishing one, featuring several good and promising bands like Doom/Death Metal heavyweights Bilocate, who have already gone global right after the release of their 2008 “Sudden Death Syndrome”, and the currently idle Death Metallers, Tyrant Throne, whom by the way are intimately related to Bouq in a way that is going to be discussed further.

Formerly known as Phex and Einherjer Rising, Bouq is Muhannad Bursheh’s one-man effort. Being up since 2001, but only having got musically active in the late 2000s, Bouq’s genre is something that falls between Dark and Black Metal, incorporating elements of both in a precise and professional way.
Being musically omnipotent, Muhannad Bursheh can fairly be described as a god of music; he plays lead and rhythm guitars, bass and bowed bass, vocals, classical acoustic guitar, flute, drums, timpani and percussion, keys and synthesizers, and just when you thought he can’t get any more awesome, he is a renowned audio engineer/producer in the Jordanian Metal scene. I mean, hey! How have you had the time to learn all that stuff? I guess a guy like Muhannad Bursheh, is pretty much a punch in the face to all mainstream wannabe quasi-musicians. I guess he’s the Arabic version of the forever awesome Dave Suzuki. Muhannad is also part of other bands, including Augury and the aforementioned Tyrant Throne.

Having witnessed guest appearances from Bilocate’s Waseem EsSayyed and Rami Haikal as well as Stephanie Na’was, Bouq’s sophomore record, “Berserk”, is quite different from their debut, relinquishing the Death/Black Metal style and trending more towards more dark, atmospheric, and barbaric approach, being best described as Dark/Black Metal. It’s not at all the straightforward Setherial-influenced pure Black Metal kind of record, nor the down-tempo, all doomy gloomy dark one; it’s a consummate slick blend that has elements of both, the somber atmosphere, down-tempo groove, and monotonous drumming of genuine Dark Metal, and the speed, intelligent composition, vintage riffs, and fast drumming/blast beats of pure Black Metal.

Berserk” is diametrically a musically diverse album, offering disparate musical levels and styles. Apart from the vocals, that are Death Metal-tinged (maybe due to the fact that Muhannad is the vocalist for Tyrant Throne), you can’t find any other musical element that is having a static form – everything is changing variously on “Berserk”; drumming suddenly turns out from monotone to fast and aggressive, a fast riff can lead to an acoustic solo, a mid-paced guitar solo can emerge out from the depths of a down tempo track, and so on… Having all those musical discrepancies and sound disparity props up my point of “Berserk” being a well-diversified album in terms of musical approach. You can even find a lot of soundbites that enrich the dark atmosphere, flute work, synths, and a track with very Technical influences (Desrever Alumrof Ecnetsixe)!

So, with Muhannad getting extra credits for standing solely behind this whole piece of work, I guess “Berserk” is a good album for someone who wants to hear something dark, versatile, and peculiar. It’s also quite startling to find someone as talented and music-aholic as Muhannad whom I really support and believe in.

Highlights: Jormungander, Wrath of a Warrior's Soul.

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