Voice of the Soul Interview
I have a soft spot for the metal scene in the Middle East after spending most of my teenage years in UAE. One of the bands that has been on my radar is Voice of the Soul Named after a song from the Death album ‘The Sound of Perseverance’; the band was formed in Kuwait in 2007 and released 2 EPs ‘Into Oblivion’ and ‘Eyes of Deceit’.
“I was 16 years old at the time and I had a couple of friends who were really into writing music and so on. One stuck around, and we eventually completed our lineup after we found a few people on a Facebook group I made. It was called something along the lines of “Guitarists, Bassists, Drummers, Vocalists in Kuwait” or something like that.” said said Kareem, vocalist and guitarist about the origins of the band. “Kuwait’s music scene is tiny, so it got some bite! At this point, it’s just me and Monish who have stuck around since our Kuwait days.”
In 2011, they relocated to Dubai, UAE and released their 3rd EP, ‘Winds of Apprehension’. This year is turning out to be good year so far for Voice of the Soul. Their debut album ‘Catacombs’ will be distributed across Europe via Hells Hammer and India via Transcending Obscurity next week. “It’s pretty overwhelming- in the best way possible- to say the least! We’re excited to finally have some legit presence in Europe, and it’s so important for a metal band to take India’s amazing scene into consideration.” said Kareem about their album getting distributed.
“Catacombs is interesting. The album isn’t anything like any of our previous releases, which is good I think.” said Kareem describing their debut album. “The album doesn’t follow a strict theme, but in the overall scheme of things, it just has to do with people, society, and forms of conformity and exploitation.”
With members spread across the Middle East (Dubai and Beirut), the songwriting process would not have been easy. ”Every release had a different process. For Catacombs, I communicated with my bandmates using Skype and Guitar Pro. We also recorded rough demos and so on. It took about 5 months I’d say.”said Kareem about writing the album. Before then, I took a long break from writing, and suddenly went on a writing spree. Once you start, you can’t stop!” said Kareem about how they wrote the album after being present in different countries. “If you’re talking stricly process, I tab out the songs, make all the necessarry edits, then record rough demos before hitting the studio. Many musicians I know are skipping the tabbing process, and I can see why they think it’s more or less redundant – but I like having tabs available while we prep for shows and what not.”
Catacombs was recorded at Haven studio in Dubai with producer Hadi Sarieddine. “It was intense but fun. We recorded the whole thing in a little over a week.” said Kareem about the recording experience. “Hadi was fun to work with because he didn’t just que us to record, stop, and repeat. He got involved in the song-writing process from the start and was very hands-on.”
“The previous EPs were recorded soon after each other, between 2009 and 2011. I was still a young and inexperienced musician back then. I was 19 when Into Oblivion came out in 2011.” said Kareem comparing Catacombs to their previous releases. “Since then, apart from simply practicing my instrument more and just experiencing more in life, I took a huge break from writing and started learning jazz on the guitar. I took a few Skype guitar lessons with Emil Werstler (Daath, ex-Chimaira), and they were truly eye-opening. I also wrote the bulk of Catacombs’ songs on the acoustic guitar. It was just a whole new approach to writing, and my influences changed of course. I still love Gothenberg melodic death metal, but things change after release 10+ songs that are primarily inspired by those bands.”
“We’re gearing up for our Europe and India releases, and we’re going to do what we can to play as many shows as possible.” said Kareem about their plans for the rest of the year. “I personally want to work more on our YouTube presence. We put out a playthrough video and people seemed to dig that, so it was a bit of a wakeup call. Here’s hoping for the best!”
Listen to ‘Catacombs‘ below