Benevolent are a Dubai based progressive metal band. Started by brothers Hadi and Fadi Sarieddine in Kuwait, they moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2011 after the release of their EP “Divided”. The brothers are joined by Mohammad Gad on rhythm guitar. The vacant drum throne has been filled by Andols Herrick (Ex-Chimaira) on their new release. It has been a great year for the band so far, their album “The Covenant” released last month and then they were added to the lineup for the Euroblast festival. I spoke to Gad and Hadi about the album, Euroblast and a lot more.
Hi guys, it’s been a great month for you, first the release of your album “The Covenant” and now you’ve been added to the line for the Euroblast festival. How does it feel?
Gad: I cannot find words to describe how hearing this news made us feel. It has been surprise after surprise with Benevolent so far and we must say that we are very grateful for the things that have been occurring with us prior to and post releasing The Convenant. We are very happy with the pace that we are moving at and are very overjoyed to see our name on the Euroblast roster. Not to mention that we really look forward to sharing the venue and stage with bands whom we have been listening to for several years now. It is a dream come true.
Hadi: It’s been absolutely amazing, we feel really grateful. When you create art you’re really opening yourself up and committing chapters of yourself into the pieces that you work on and when you find that this work resonates with people and listeners who experience the record pick up on the vibes it’s truly humbling and very gratifying. With the album’s release, the reviews we’ve been receiving, being confirmed to play at Euroblast, and continuing to work on more exciting things we are really happy and inspired right now!
Tell us about your new album “The Covenant”.
Fadi: Our debut full-length album “The Covenant” is an emotional ride and a journey of sound as moments of anger and aggression are followed with a groovy melody and an awe-inspiring atmosphere.
The album constitutes of 11 tracks with ambience being the main component onto which everything else is structured upon. ‘The Covenant’ is very diverse in its sound as it combines elements of Djent and Melodic Death metal with moments of groovy beats and very catchy clean choruses.
Lyrically, we actually wrote the lyrics separately and although the album is not and was not intended to be a conceptual album after the lyrical creative process was concluded, we realized that the tracks sort of complimented each other. Overall, the album discusses the warfare taking place individually within each and every one of us but with a positive twist.
You released your EP “Divided” in 2010. How long did the writing process for “The Covenant” take?
Hadi: We started working on ‘The Covenant’ straight up after Divided EP was released, but that was a really early stage in the writing process and we didn’t end up using any of the songs that we demoed back then per se. However, the first two songs that shaped the sound of the new album were ‘The Seeker’ and ‘Metamorphosis’, those two songs were the first two solid tracks that were completed as far as the writing goes and they set the tone forward for the rest of the tracks.
The album was recorded and produced at Haven Studio in UAE and mastered by Acle Kahney at 4D Sounds in the UK. How was the recording process? How long did it take?
Hadi: The record was recorded and produced at Haven Studio which is the studio that I run in the UAE, this was one of the best decisions we’ve taken because it allowed us to truly get intimate with these songs and add a lot of depth to them as we went along.
The way we work is that we actually record as we go along in writing, the way it works is that we write songs on our DAWs straight up and most times we record the final takes from the get go, unless a riff requires us to do some work to nail it down at a 100%. Precisely what happened was the riffs would be written / recorded and then MIDI bass and drums would be written along and those would serve as ‘tabs’ for us to refer back to in case we wanted to make sure about the right notes or whatnot. Both bass and drums were obviously re-recorded at a later stage.
The very last elements that went into the recording were the guitar solos and all the production clean / layer guitars. A lot of those elements were actually recorded from the get go as well but a few layers were added later.
Gad: The recording process was a bit unorthodox on this album yet very enjoyable to say the least. There were times when we as individuals would record our parts/takes individually and send them across to one another (given that we reside in different countries) and times when we would all do so in the same room. A substantial portion of the bass parts on this album were written during the bass recording sessions, meaning the creative process and the recording sessions were pretty much the same thing with respect to bass as well.
Recording and producing ‘The Covenant’ at Haven Studios and later Mastering at 4D sounds was the most we could ask for for this album. We have looked at a few other options beforehand and in turn decided that those 2 studios could gave us the most desirable output sonically.
How does the album compare to your previous release ‘Divided’?
Fadi: We believe that the music that comes out is always a representation of the artists behind the writing process and ‘The Covenant’ certainly is exactly that as it represents how much we have changed over the past few years since the release of our EP Divided.
The band featured several line-up changes since 2010 and we are certainly more tightly knit as unit due to these changes. Furthermore, we have greater believe in ourselves as musicians and with what we can bring to the table when compared to the writing process of Divided. Our personal musical influences have also changed over the past few years.
For me ‘The Covenant’ represents the band’s natural growth as the album is very atmospheric and that is what we intended to achieve when the writing process started.
Hadi: Just to add on to that, we are really honest in the way that we create music and we work toward serving the true essence of the song and the message that is passing through it whether it is on the instrumental or lyrical level.
Each and every song on this album is an audible translation of experiences, thoughts, feelings, or stuff that we simply come across as we live our day to day lives. Every person perceives things differently and explains them different and ‘The Covenant’ is our way of telling the stories of things related to internal anxieties, fears, discovering ones truths, and other internal warfare topics as Fadi put it.
“The Covenant” features Andols Herrick on drums. How did he become part of the album?
Gad: We have comically discussed the idea of bringing in a drum icon to record one of the songs on this album (only a thought to be entertained back when we first brought it up). Then we decided why not actually give it a shot?
The band then approached drum icon Andols Herrick and sent him the songs off of ‘Divided EP’.
To our surprise, he enjoyed the music and expressed his interest to work with us as well on this record, and seeing that reaction was mind-blowing for us.
Initially, we had agreed to have him record one song with us (that being Metamorphosis). But we collectively decided that all the other tracks on the album should be recorded by him.
Outside the realm of music, we took great notice on how great and humble he is as a character. He was also very supportive and went out of his way to truly share and spread the album to his fan base both before and after the release. To have developed this rapport with him during the course of the recording process is a thing that we are truly honored and proud of.
I would like to think that the release of this album is not the last chapter of Andol’s and Benevolent’s association, so let us see what the days bring.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Any live shows planned other than Euro blast?
Hadi: We’ve got a bunch of different things that we’re working on right now. Those most revolve around playing shows and getting our music out to the world. More and more details on what we’ve got cooking will be surfacing in the time coming.
Any Final words
Hadi: We would like to thank everyone who is supporting us and inspiring us in multitudes of ways, we look forward to seeing you all out on the road!
Listen to “The Covenant” below