After Ascendent came away with a win at the UAE's Wacken Open Air Metal Battle, Lebanon's three bands are performing tonight, where one will join Ascendent in Egypt. We had a chance to talk to the three bands; Blaakyum, Lebanon's oldest active metal band, has also won the Global Battle of the Bands years ago and performed in the world finals in London. April have been regular performers in Lebanon but have only recently put out their debut EP Archives Of The Mind. Turbulence have been performing Dream Theater covers for a while, but have now opted to focus on their original material. Metality talks to Blaakyum frontman Bassem Deibess, April frontwoman Rach, and Turbulence guitarist Alain Irahim.


Hey Bassem! You released Lord of the Night back in 2012. When can we listen to some new material? And can you give us any hints on the release date of your new album or any other details?
Our material are ready and we are so eager to go to the studio, but it has been almost a year that we are struggling to finance our studio entry, and till now it hasn't happened. The economical situation has taken its toll on the band, with two members now married and engaged and having to fend for their families... We hope within the next two month to be able to enter the studio and start recording... We really hope so because we are so eager to do it.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Yes we do, we try not to be late to the show...Not really we just watch the other bands cheer for them and have a good time till our time comes and we go on stage.

What does your set look like for the Wacken Battle of the Bands?
Mostly we will showcase our attempt to be original through our oriental tunes, in these tunes we are focusing on being as original as possible, in a time where every note and every innovation has been played and made before, our oriental tunes are a bit different than the rest of our music which is sometimes more conservative, so we will perform a bit of everything.

You guys have been around since 1995 and are the oldest active metal band in Lebanon. How do you think the scene has evolved and changed since you guys started- and where do you see it going?
This is a long question to answer, the scene has been evolving alright, but it has been passing through ups and downs, lately it was in a steep down phase, and today with 2 major events in one week-end, and other promising organisers on the rise, it seems the new dawn of Lebanese Metal is starting to shine. Needless to say, today things are much easier than in the past, maybe that is the passion that drove us in the past, in the 90s internet and social media was practically none existent, the community was more organic, the arrival of the social media today was a double edged sword, it made communication easier, but it killed the sense of community, and the metal scene finally seems to be going back to organic live meetings and gatherings rather than the virtual ones, which I think will do really good for the scene... time will tell... but one thing is still constant, we do have still great bands and new great bands form everyday, this scene might have been sleeping, but it is far from dead... and the next few days will be the proof.

What are some of your favorite bands from Lebanon and the Middle East?
I do not know about the rest of my band mates, but I miss some bands like Kaoteon, and mostly Damage Rite (previously known as Postmortem) I was a huge fan. InnerGuilt are back and that is so exciting to me as I am a big fan of their music. Also I am anticipating Nocturna's album. As for the Middle Eastern Bands, I like Blind from Cyprus, and Mezarkebul (Pentagram) from Turkey, and recently I have been digging the music of Voice Of The Soul, as well as the new uprising Dubai based band Ascendant, these guys have something original going on. And we should not forget the Lebanese-Dubai Based Prog-Thrashers Anuryzm.... We really have a lovely scene... I would have mentioned The Hourglass, but that would not be my place, as I am a member, but I miss the guys, the war in Syria has shattered us, but I hope we do a comeback soon.


Tell us about how Turbulence started and came together. Last time we checked, you guys were playing Dream Theater covers! 
It all started with a track called "Solar Chain" that Mood sent me, shortly after we had started talking on Facebook. In a nutshell, today that track is on our upcoming debut album "Disequilibrium" and is called Richardson's Nightmare (after a few major changes to it). We discovered our mutual love for Dream Theater and thought we'd share it with DT fans in Lebanon who might never get the chance to see them live. So we made it our purpose and sole goal for 2 years to try to bring the DT show to Lebanon! And throughout our DT nights, we were "testing out" some of the guests that performed with us, and we can say that we have reached the perfect recipe: Owmar El Hage - Lead Vocals. Alain Ibrahim - Lead Guitars & Back Vocals Mood Yassin - Keyboards & Piano Charles Bou Samra - Bass Guitars Sayed Gereige - Drums

Could you tell us any new details on your upcoming release (Disequilibrium)?
Sadly because of financial obstacles, the album took us almost 2 years to complete. We are now at the mixing stage, followed by mastering and printing. And then the release concert we've been very eager to throw. It's going to be sometime around June 2015 if everything goes as planned and, we have a huge surprise lined up for that concert, we'll talk about it when the time comes!

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Yes we kinda sit together, go through the songs in our heads and out loud, while we express our enthusiasm towards the upcoming show!

What’s your take on the current Lebanese rock/metal scene, and where do you see it going in the future?
I think with the recent concerts taking place, and especially the metal battle, things are looking really promising. The battle has brought back together some of the biggest names in the metal and rock scene like Marc Bassila, Bahij el khatib etc.. And its amazing because they are united now to give a chance to the winning band and its beautiful. We can actually feel the spirit that used to exist years back, so we're pretty excited about that, because it has been on the top of our achievements list.

What are some of your favorite bands from Lebanon and the Middle East?
Some of our favorite bands are Amadeus Awad's projects and Michel Labaki from Lebanon, and we are actually fans of April, pretty talented people over there. As for the rest, we love Laço Tayfa and Orphaned land.


Tell us about how April started and came together.
April started off as an acoustic duo back in October 2010 covering Celtic rock tunes, to gradually morph into a progressive psychedelic metal band by 2012. With the sole change of members on Bass since, from Charbel Hajj to Remy Hachem, the band in its current line-up (Richard Samia on Guitars, Raffi Nordiguian on Keys, Naseem Raad on Drums and Rach Bassili on Vocals) has been composing and producing originals and gigging across the country in both April-exclusive gigs and festivals/public annual events. We have traveling plans together too.

You recently released your EP Archives of the Mind. Tell us about the EP and how you guys are going to promote it.
'Archives of the Mind' is our first attempt at originals' composition and home-self-production. We were experimenting in different sounds and eventually found ourselves integrated in a psychologically-oriented concept in sounds and themes - the EP was born. We already have physical copies of the CD in different sales points and will soon be available online, in parallel with an "Archives of the Mind" mini-tour in Lebanon and hopefully the region.

What can the fans expect at the Wacken Battle in Beirut?
Just be there people, come - listen - watch. With support, not only expectations of an amazing performance are met, all standards will go beyond that. Together, we can recreate history.

What’s your take on the current Lebanese rock/metal scene, and where do you see it going?
It is almost like a mine-field, you know. Quite unpredictable. Anything can happen. It is a widespread known phenomena when it comes to how unstable our metal scene can get; or any scene anywhere for that matter! There are efforts, seen and unseen, for its persistence and revival and that is what we appreciate, support and advocate in each step we make. Though we were always detached from that fluctuating situation, safe to say, we are blessed with amazing supporters (musicians and non-musicians) who have not failed us in their continuous support, we have had a remarkable attendance turnout in each event, considering that we are not sponsored at all, and the majority of the attendees are not exactly fellow metal musicians. Something big is happening to the Lebanese rock/metal scene. Wait for it.

What are some of your favorite bands from Lebanon and the Middle East?
Naming isn't our favorite part haha! We're a bit old-school when it comes to that, it is always good to pay respect to those bands the likes of PostMortem, The Kordz, Oath To Vanquish, Communion, Nightchains, Void, Red, Negative (-) name a few. Tanjaret Daghet, Turbulence, Shadowalls, Episode, eye, WKBL, Mario Agostine, Michel Labaki, Alan Azar...and many many more of currently active bands/artists.


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