Symphonic metal has always had a relatively large fan-base in Lebanon compared to elsewhere in the Arab world, with bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Apocalyptica performing there.  That being said, we haven't seen many metal bands bringing symphonic and folk influences in Lebanon, since The Arcane.

Ostura made their way into the Lebanese music scene after successfully releasing their debut album, Ashes of the Reborn in 2012. They're now preparing for their live debut at Metro Al Madina in Beirut on December 7th. Vocalist Elia Monsef and keyboardist  Danny Bou-Maroun took the time off their busy schedule to have a chat with us as they prepare to play a killer show. We got a chance to talk about some of the struggles they faced as band since their inception in 2009, and the changing attitudes in the Lebanese metal scene.

Hey guys! How have things been as you prepare for your live debut?
Danny: Pressure... That’s the only word. A lot of pressure is upon us, lots of preparation going on from the rehearsal rooms to the logistics and organizing. It is pretty tough... But hey we are enjoying every bit of it.

Ostura has been around since 2009. How did the band come together, and what were some of the challenges you faced with lineup changes and finishing Ashes of the Reborn? 

Elia: Our former Drummer Chris Naimeh first approached Danny with an idea of writing a metal opera. Chris had some fantasy lyrics going on and it slowly developed into a structure for an album. Along the way it felt so good that everyone felt that this should never stop. And bit by bit we had our debut album.

Any lineup change in a band is extremely difficult. You have to find the right musicians, and the right personalities, people have to have the same vision and of course on top of it all the time for all the hard work to come. During the recording we had some problems finding the right voices... and I think we did a pretty good job there.  Now building the live set was harder after the departure of almost all the musicians who recorded the first album. Of course excluding the main composer Danny Bou Maroun. 

Tell us a little more about your debut show in Beirut that’s coming up, The Live Opera. Are we going to hear Ashes of the Reborn in its entirety?
Danny Bou Maroun

Danny:  The live opera will be our first gig ever as Ostura. When we first released our debut we thought that we should go as big as we can on this from sound to production to everything. Well here we are doing exactly the same thing. We want to do this as big as we are capable of.

The band sounds great in the rehearsals, and we are trying to deliver a great show all around. Our hopes are high.

We will play the whole album in addition to some tracks we and our fans would kill for.

What was the recording process like? Lebanon has a massive music scene compa
red to the rest of the Middle East, but doesn’t have many producers and studios that cater to metal production. 

Danny: We managed to find the very talented Karim Sinno of Mixdown studios. This guy is a monster. He guided us through the whole process and still does. It is true that Lebanon doesn’t have a lot of producers when it comes to metal but yet again you don’t need a lot. You just need one great producer to do the job for you. And for us that guy was Karim.

With bands like Within Temptation and Nightwish playing Lebanon (as well as Moonspell and Katatonia less recently), are we seeing another improvement in the Lebanese metal scene?  It seems like things died down at one point.

EliaThere is a huge leap in the quality of music coming out of the country that’s something for sure.

Improvement?! Well here is the thing... we think that the audience is fed up with Lebanese bands that nag rather than make music. We were at all the concerts you mentioned and attendance was great. The metal scene is ok and doing fine… the rock and metal bands are becoming essential in the festivals around the country.

The organizers are trying their best to cater for the audience… it is time for the local bands to cater for the audiences as well.

We as a band are not qualified to criticize something we belong to. We came out of this country and our only interest is to play for this country’s metal lovers as well as the world.

“Ashes of the Reborn” is about a tyrant who faces a hero trying to get rid of him. Is there a parallel between the story and some of the social/political experiences faced in Lebanon and the Middle East?

Danny: It wasn’t intentional at any point…but it is kind of funny that these mythological concepts, and medieval fantasy stories still apply to our modern day. 

Elia Monsef

What’s next for Ostura? Are we expecting a “sequel” album sometime soon?

Elia: We started writing for our second release… the story is set… we have another opera for the people.

New story, new style… new take on everything as the band has new blood flowing... But one thing is for sure... Ostura will not lose its epic take on Metal.

What are some of your favorite rock and metal bands from Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East?

Danny: Aside from the bands/projects some members are involved in, we really enjoy the music of the Tunisian band Myrath. We think the boys there set an example.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming bands and musicians?

Elia: Music happens in the studio not on the internet. Practice, write, record, fail, and eventually you will make it big as long you put your life into it.

Any final comments for and its readers?

We love the guys at Metality, and we hope the  readers are enjoying what is published by these cool dudes. Also check out the compilation Ostura was part of! Cool stuff!

(Ed's note: click here to stream and download "Waves of Destruction", featuring Ostura's "Infernal Hymn") 

Thanks so much for your time guys! Have a blast on December 7th

Cool thanks, see you there ! 

For more on Ostura: 

More on Ostura..The Live Opera at Metro Al Madina: 

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