Posts Tagged ‘Dubai

Anuryzm Interview

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Progressive metal band Anuryzm should not be strangers to readers of this blog. I had interviewed them in January 2012. Since then they have been featured in publications like Metal Hammer and even opened for bands like Black Sabbath last year. Last week they released their second album ‘All Is Not For All’. I spoke to vocalist Nadeem Bibby via email about their new album and their plans for the rest of the year.



Tell us about your new album ‘All Is Not For All’. What is it about?

Hi Peter and thanks for getting in touch, the new record “All Is Not For All” is set as a prequel to 2011’s “Worms Eye View.” Conceptually, the themes of the “worm man/corruptor” are taken back in time to confront the prevailing good in the world, almost like the seeds of a lot of today’s major issues were sown or debated in the past. This is quite an over-simplification of the concepts and themes; it’s kind of like a “use the force” moment where you can be corrupted towards the “dark side” and vice versa. I don’t want to give too much away, but that’s the gist of it.
Lyrically and thematically some themes we cover in “AINFA” include minimalism, re-birth, illness, extraterrestrial encounters, Japanese Bushido code and third culture upbringing to name a few.

What was the writing process for the album?

For AINFA, John (Bakhos, Guitarist and main composer) and I wanted to create something that reflected the current ANURYZM sound and take our time to make something that we were very happy with. John worked his magic as usual while I took the time to digest, conceptualize and deliver my parts. We then spent some time letting it all sink in while the guests were doing their work and we then crafted themes and compositions that excited us. The process took about two years including purposefully taking lengthy periods of time to let things sink in as well as the usual logistics involved with working with guests overseas.
Unlike the making of “Worms Eye View,” which was a challenging but fairly linear and enjoyable process; the writing process for AINFA took us through a lot of struggles and difficulties because as always, life gets in the way of everything. It was a tough couple years for me and maybe some of the other guys in the band. I think this is reflected in the passion and energy on the record which is quite literally crafted of everyone’s blood, sweat and tears.

What was the recording process for the album? Did you try anything different this time around?

Not particularly, of course everything is a learning process but I think everyone kind of did what they are used to, the only major differences being that I recorded my vocals in Abu Dhabi instead of Dubai under the hawkish eyes of Miltiadis Kyvernitis who always pushes me to deliver well. The mastering was done by Bob Katz, which was a new and valuable experience for us
The album was mastered by Bob Katz at Digital Domain studios. How was it working with him?
It was very educational, firstly because he is a two time Grammy-award winning mastering engineer, so his methods and more specifically, methodology was fascinating to watch and learn. However, because we wanted the album to sound very organic and not artificially loud (like a lot of modern metal is nowadays); we found the collaboration to be perfect! So much so that when the final masters came in, we didn’t even feel the need to ask him to change the sound as we had learned the virtues of this type of mastering along the way. I think it was a rewarding and very interesting process for all involved in the album.

‘All Is Not for All’ features guest performances by Michael LePond (Symphony X), Charlie Zeleny, Uri Dijk, and Christopher Chaplin. How did that happen?

Uri Dijk, we’ve known for a while now as he also featured on “Breaking The Ballot” from our first record. It was such a pleasure working with him and he is very talented that we really wanted to work with him again on AINFA. Charlie Zeleny is a very solid and versatile drummer from NYC who is also a good buddy of ours and was able to work with our hectic schedule.

Mike LePond is an incredible bassist, I think we all know that so it was a pleasant surprise when we reached out to him through some friends and he was interested in performing on the record. Christopher James Chaplin is a very nice person with a very eclectic taste in classical music and I loved his work with Hans-Joachim Roedelius so I really wanted him to play stringed instruments on the track “Oceans Apart.” I think all of the guests did a stunning job and we are very humbled and proud to collaborate with each of them.

All Is Not For All

How does ‘All is Not for All’ compare to ‘Worm’s Eye View’?

Well, it’s definitely more indicative of the stylistic evolution of our sound and thus by default more mature I suppose. For me the most major difference is that the songs will appeal to a lot more music aficionados that just rock and metal enthusiasts due to the sheer nature of the compositions. I don’t like to be pigeon-holed, if it’s heavy music, its heavy music. I think good bands should always surprise and captivate their audiences while maintaining signature sounds. A complete contradiction, I know, but when you are able to do that, it’s very inspirational and rewarding for both the listener and the artists and that’s when the magic happens.

The album is being released by Melodic Revolution Records. How did the deal with them come about?

Sometimes things just happen for a reason I suppose! We feel very blessed in this regard.

How important is the support of a label at present when bands prefer to release their music on their own?

I don’t think anyone has truly found the answer to this question yet! For me it really comes down to how hardworking the band is and what type of label we are talking about. The two go hand in hand.
With Nick Katona and his team over at MRR, they are a different kind of label that focus on progressive music from an over-arching viewpoint. With a lot of different types of prog bands from experimental to rock to folk to metal, it’s a more realistic and natural type of grassroots label that aims to inspire the artists and fans and have more people discover new music. I think this mentality coupled with a lot of hard work from our end, (remember , we are in the Middle East and thus have limited resources available to us as artists,) make for an interesting combination that tends to garner very informed and educated critics and fans.
At the end of the day music is a very personal thing and if we can be part of someone’s personal consciousness for a little while then it’s a beautiful thing. That is some of the credibility afforded to us by being on a label, but by no means is it a substitute for hard work.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Tune in to to find out! We are still working on some things and are usually pretty good about updating our websites and social media.

Any Final words.

Thanks for the interview, shout out to all the Indian fans!! We hope we can play your beautiful country one day soon and I dream of kicking back and hanging out in Bangalore Rock City and other awesome destinations with you all! Love and Respect

Listen/Download ‘All Is Not For All’ below

Written by trendcrusher

July 7, 2015 at 10:01 am

Voice of the Soul Interview

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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’.

Voice of the soul.jpeg

“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

Written by trendcrusher

March 19, 2015 at 10:00 am

Benevolent Interview

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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

Written by trendcrusher

May 6, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Empty Yard Experiment Interview

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Empty Yard Experiment (E.Y.E), are one of the few bands that have been around in the UAE music scene for more than five years. I first saw them live in 2009, when they performed at Rock Nation where I was part of the organizing team. The band put on a great show and there was a buzz about them the next day on the Phride forums. Since then, E.Y.E.released their self-titled debut album in 2011 and have also opened for bands like Metallica and Anathema.

Last month, they released their second album, “Kallisti” and I spoke to their vocalist Bojan Preradovic via email about the album and also their plans for the rest of the year.

Gorgin Asadi (Keys), Kaveh Kashani (Bass guitar), Bojan Preradovic (vocals/rhythm guitar) Josh Saldanha(Drums) and Mehdi Gr (Lead Guitar) [Left to Right]

“Conceptually, the album focuses on the notions of chaos and discord, which often define the way in which any human being relates to various aspects of their existence – whether it’s other people, the idea of authority, a subjective perception of the divine, or the subconscious.” said Bojan describing the idea behind the album. “Kallisti” means “to the fairest”, and is the inscription on the Apple of Discord in Greek Mythology, which represents an argument that may originally be based on a small issue but escalates into a much larger one. You will often find that, in an almost schizophrenic manner, you can be a different person depending on the situation that you are placed in. Discord characterizes the way in which each of us, as members of the band, relate to each other, as well as the way in which we have written this album. So “Kallisti” is, somehow, meant to tie it all together.”

“Kallisti” Bojan explains is a the product of a much more collaborative musical relationship between each of the band members. “It’s basically a collection of the songs that we’ve written since the release of our first album in 2011. Right around the beginning of the summer last year, after we had just opened for Metallica and come back from a headlining spot at Lebanon’s Fete de la Musique, we locked ourselves up at our bassist’s house for about two-and-a-half months and just wrote and tracked demos furiously to make sure that we are ready to enter the studio in September. We learned a lot about both each other, and writing music with each other – and it was not always a pretty picture, to say the least.”

The album was produced by Josh Williams who also produced their self titled debut album. “The recording process very collaborative, not only between band members, but also between the band and Josh as a producer, songwriter and arranger.” said Bojan about the recording process. “Josh had some very valuable ideas that we took on board wholeheartedly, and it all ended up making the record richer and more profound as a listening experience. We’ve all known Josh for a while now and we had both a lot of laughs and arguments with him – as friends do.”

Kallisti “Ultimately, “Kallisti” is a much more mature and consistent effort than the first album was.” said Bojan about how the new album compares to their self titled debut album. “The songwriting and arrangement process was a lot more intricate, thorough, and it took some 6 or 7 months to track, mix and master. “Kallisti” features such a diverse combination of rock sub-genres (prog, alternative, post-rock/experimental and indie) and other instruments like live cello, so the approach was different for each of the songs on the record. We tried to be as professional as we could and originally planned to get it all done in only a month or two – but of course, an album that is so dense and carefully thought-out needs more time. And thankfully, Josh was very accommodating in that sense. In the end, it was always going to be a laborious process, but we are pretty satisfied with the outcome.”

The cover artwork for the album designed by Maryam Fard looks great. “The idea behind it corresponds to an individual’s subjective, discordant understanding of and means of relating to various aspects of their life.” said Bojan explaining the concept behind the artwork. “Maryam actually conducted interviews with each of the band members, and asked them for their interpretation of each of the songs on the album. So, each of the band member artworks inside the album package symbolize that subjective dimension of understanding and conception of what reality is supposed to be.”

“We’re just putting our hearts into promoting this release, because obviously we really want it to be heard by a wider audience.” said Bojan about their plans for the rest of the year. “However, to do that, you pretty much have to get out of the Middle East, rather than spend too much energy trying to conquer it. So we’re working on dates and festivals abroad – in Europe, India and hopefully Australia sometime in the near future.” Stay tuned to their facebook page for more information about their tour dates.

Listen to “Kallisti” below

Band Photo by Athena Ekhteraei

Written by trendcrusher

April 6, 2014 at 11:23 am

Iron Maiden

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Iron Maiden are one of my favorite bands. I have managed to see them live twice in Dubai. The second time was 4 years ago during their “Somewhere back in Time” tour. Here is an article I wrote about the show for Spin Earth.

The place to be on Friday the 13th was Dubai Media City Amphitheater in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.There was a gathering of not only teenagers in black t-shirts but of metal listeners of all ages, some who even brought their kids along. The reason for the gathering was IRON MAIDEN!

This was their second appearance in the United Arab Emirates, the first being 2 years ago at the Dubai Desert Rock 2007. I did have a chance to see Iron Maiden perform then alongside 10,000 other fans. This time around was special for me as they performed songs from their album “Powerslave“, which is my favourite Iron Maiden album.

The opening act for the show was Lauren Harris. I saw her also at Dubai Desert Rock 2007. She was promoting her new album “Calm before the storm”. She sounded ok, not really something I am into. Her guitarist, Richie is pretty good and had a few nice solos.The sound for her was a lot better than the last time I saw her, so I was expecting it to be a lot better for Maiden.

After short change over, it was time, the moment everyone was waiting for, The Churchill speech, followed by “Aces High“. The crowd (including me) went crazy. It was a great show. As mentioned earlier, the set consisted of tracks from the “Powerslave” and “Somewhere in time” albums. They played a few tracks that were a bit of a surprise, “Children Of The Damned“, “Evil That Men Do” and the biggest one being the 13 minute epic “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner“.

Iron Maiden

The highlights of the concert for me were when they played POWERSLAVE, hearing the song live along with the pyrotechnics and also seeing Bruce in a Mask! It was awesome. Another was seeing Cyber Eddie.“said Vineet M.

It was the first time for some like Asanga M seeing Iron Maiden live. “I had some high expectations going into the concert” he said”This was one of my favorite bands and not only the band that got me INTO heavy metal but into playing guitar in general. I probably would not have picked up a guitar if I had not heard The Trooper.

Overall it was a great night. Great performance by the band. The sound was also really good. I have been looking to this tour for some time now (since I last saw them live) and I am glad i got to catch it. Can’t wait to see them on their next tour.

Written by trendcrusher

September 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

Interview with Grand Hotel Paradox

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Grand Paradox Hotel is a punk band from Dubai. After releasing an EP and single last year, they have released their first album, “Rust“.Later this month they will be touring South East Asia.
Find out more about their album and also their upcoming tour in my interview with their vocalist/guitarist Chris Ryan.

(L to R) Mike Priest – Bass/Vocals, Michael Sydenham – Drums, Chris Ryan – Guitar/Vocals with Mohd ‘Freewheelin Man’ Rizman

Hey Chris, Hows it going? You’ve recently released your first Album “Rust”. What’s the album about?

Chris: Yo! There’s no real over-arching concept apart from that it contains songs written from the perspective of living and growing up in this country.

The album was recorded at your home studio. How did you go about recording it?

Chris: We went about it quickly! Got no time for the jibber jabber, as the honourable B.A Baracus would say. We record in the same place we rehearse so we kind of just do our thing.

How different is “Rust” compared to your previous releases, “First World Problems” EP and “Louder Than Lyrics/Wake-Up Call” single?

Chris: Those two releases were written together as a band in the rehearsal room, whereas with this new record I was away from town for a while so I wrote a lot of the stuff on my own. So it is a little different in that respect, I guess. Also recently i’ve not been listening to as much Fugazi and i’ve been listening to more Propagandhi and other more melodic bands like Joyce Manor.

“Rust” is your first physical release. Why did you opt to release the album on cd after your previous releases were only digital?

Chris: People would often ask if we have CDs out, so now if someone is interested they can get the physical copy. Plus, the artwork and packaging is pretty handsome. We wanted to do vinyl but postage was going to be way too much to post a 12” out to people in other countries. Maybe next time.

The album has been released by Abbreviated Records, a label you own. Do you plan on releasing music by other bands?

Chris:Abbreviated Records is just a name for me in my room stuffing & posting envelopes as well as trying to get in contact with reviewers. I also get some help from my friend Nathan when we’re away (shout out!). Currently the only physical stuff on the label is from GHP, but there is a bandcamp digital-downloads page with some ‘archived’ albums from earlier projects/bands I was in – just to make them freely available.

To answer your question, the idea is that this new record is the ‘guinea pig’ for the label so now that we’ve got all the ISRC codes sorted, pressing plant located and mailing prices calculated it should be easy to put out other band’s stuff through the same system. I definitely want to release other people’s music that I think is great, so watch that space for sure.

Last summer you toured Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. How was the experience? What was the response you received?

Chris: Punk is not dead, it just immigrated to Southeast Asia. We played about 8 shows and all those guys made us feel at home; we had great crowds who were in to what we’re trying to do.

You will be doing a tour of Southeast Asia again starting later this month; can you tell us a more about it?

Chris:When we played there last year lots of people recommended extra cities and spots we should have visited; we also had people asking when we were coming back again, so thats why we’re heading over for a longer tour #2: About 15 shows in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo and the Philippines.

Any Final Words?

Chris: Do what your heart is telling you to do: buy our CD from us for only $10 and you’ll get some pin-badges and a big fat sticker thrown in free – aw yeah: How’s that for a ‘Dubai Shopping Festival’ sale?


Listen to “Rust” below

Check their Tour dates below

Written by trendcrusher

June 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm


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Nervecell are a death/ thrash metal band based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. They released their second album “Psychogenocide” last year. I reviewed the album here. I interviewed their guitarists, Barney and Rami for before they co-headlined the Deccan Rock Festival in Hyderabad in May last year.
Since this interview, Nervecell have opened for Metallica in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. and also toured Europe with Morbid Angel.

Hey guys congrats on the release of your new album “Psychogenocide”. Can you tell us a bit about the album?

Rami: Thank you very much! “Psychogenocide” is set for release in March (Middle East via Spellbind Records) and April/May (Europe & UK via Lifeforce Records). Well I can say it’s a very brutal, thrashy, dark and progressive album. Fans can expect lots of heavy elements and groove with a fair amount of melody and oriental/Middle Eastern touches. There are some new things we tried in this album; we added Arabic singing and instruments. On the intro track “Anemic Assurgency” the “Oud” instrument was used. For the song “Shunq (To The Despaired…King Of Darkness”) which also features Karl Sanders on vocals, our vocalist James added some awesome Arabic phrases while Karl did most of the English singing parts. In the song “The Taste of Betrayal” which is an instrumental, we added Arabian/Gulf style percussions! We experimented a little bit on this album and it turned out to sound great yet it’s a full on death/thrash metal! I hope the listeners will enjoy it a lot!

Are there any surprises on the album for those who have been following Nervecell since the release of the “Human Chaos” EP?

Barney: Surprises! Hmmm none that I can think of except for the fact that we have incorporated some G.C.C. traditional Arabic instruments on this new record. We want this album to stand for itself and represent the band for who we are today, a lot of the album deals with what’s going on in our present lives and you best believe its one dark and angry record! I mean “Preaching Venom” was an obvious step up from “Human Chaos” in the song writing and technicality wise, also in the production too of course. I don’t think that we’re the kind of band who experiments to the extent where we let our fans down. We’re a metal band with old school death metal and early thrash metal influences. I guess on “Psychogenocide” the old and the new fans alike will realise that we seem to have developed our own sound as we progress and grow as musicians. I think we’ve accomplished a lot being a Middle East based metal band and the music has and always will speak for itself!

The track “Shunq (To the Despaired…King of Darkness)” is your first track with Arabic lyrics and also features Karl Sanders on guest vocals. Why the use of Arabic on this song? How did you manage to get Karl Sanders to do vocals?

Rami: As we are a Middle Eastern based band and James (our singer) speaks Arabic and he reads lots of Arabic literature and poetry we wanted to try something different and use Arabic language on the album. So the idea around this song came from quoting the well known Arabic writer/poet Hassan Bin Thabit who talks about his struggle with Satan/the devil, which is based on true experiences and stories. James wanted to express his similar feelings towards the devil and the devil’s evil doings towards humanity and used the word “Shunq” which is Arabic for “hang by the neck” to express the disgust towards the devil and how the devil will be judged towards the end of time!
We felt it would be awesome to have someone else sing the English parts of the song and thought Karl Sanders would be a perfect fit! We are big fans of Karl’s music and style that he relates to the Middle East too relatively close to the song’s topic and of course his singing style is perfect for the song! We got in touch with Karl and he accepted to work with us on this song, which is a real honour for us!

How different was the song writing process for this album compared to “Preaching Venom”?

Barney: Well with “Preaching Venom” we wrote that album over the course of 4 years, some of us juggling with our university degrees and jobs etc. For “Psychogenocide” Rami and I were writing the music for the whole of last year in between the tours we were doing in Europe and Asia. A lot of the ideas were shared using the internet for a few months and then we both locked ourselves together in the studio for an entire month and worked on song arrangements and putting the songs together, sharing ideas etc. I’d like to say we learnt a lot too being on the road and being a full time touring band, it made us want to go back and write some new music in fact! I think the time was right and we did a damn well job given the schedule we were dealing with to put this new album out.

The album was recorded by Rami in studios in Dubai, UAE and Doha, Qatar, Any reason behind this?

Rami: For this album we didn’t really want to have someone in specific to engineer the album and since I was able to handle the engineering part, and also learning from my past experiences in the production of past Nervecell albums, I was ready to do it myself. It was a great experience really… little pressure too apart from writing music to work on the production of the album at the same time takes lots of energy and concentration, but I gotta say I’m very happy with the results. Most of the album was recorded in Dubai at Spellbind Studio. We took a couple of days off from the studio travelled to Bahrain to perform a show there and coming back to the studio to continue recording I had to leave back to Qatar, so the whole recording studio with the gear had to be shifted to Qatar as we only had very little time in our schedule. All the gear including the studio was shifted to Qatar. The rest of the band and our manager came down and I had to set up a temp studio at my office. Our manager has done a great job shifting all the gear, gotta say that was a plan B! Mixing and mastering was done at Hertz Studio in Poland.

The artwork for the album by Björn Goosses of Killustrations is pretty interesting. Can you tell us a bit about the concept behind it?

Barney: It’s pretty obvious when you look at it; it represents the state of which we are all living under today. A controlled system set to run under a hidden agenda which most of us humans are completely oblivious to! It’s an angry record and we’re trying to have our say through our music and smarten up the ignorant and naive society we are surrounded by. The world is war and corruption at its worst right now, at least in our neighbouring countries it seems to be the case, its time for people to open their eyes and seek the real truth!

The album will be released by Lifeforce records in Europe and US, how has it been working with them so far?

Rami: So far so good. They’re a good label in Europe and are working on our 2nd album so far. Our other label Spellbind Records in Dubai are pushing the album really good so far and working together with Lifeforce Records to make sure the album have a great impact both in the European and Middle Eastern markets.

What equipment do you guys use to get that crushing sound on your albums and also live?

Rami: We actually used some of the same exact gear we use live on the recording of this album. Barney used LTD guitars, I used B.C. Rich guitars, James used a Spector bass and all 3 of us use EMG pickups and GHS strings. The main guitar sound comes from an ENGL SE head…that was pretty much it.

“Preaching Venom” is currently available in India via Are there any plans for distribute the new album “Psychogenocide” in India?

Barney: I think it’s a matter of time, we’ve had a few options for the new album to be distributed there but I believe even without a distribution deal there the fans will always find a way to get their hands on the music if they really want it, or we’ll just have to come back and tour India and bring a shit load of merchandise along with us to make up for it…haha

What was your favourite gig on your recent India tour?

Barney: The Mumbai gig at the Blue Frog HANDS DOWN! Bangalore and Hyderabad were both great shows in their own way, especially Hyderabad since not a lot goes down there but those dudes in Mumbai certainly know how to have a f#*king good time in the pits!

Rami: I really enjoyed all the cities, but I gotta say Mumbai had the craziest crowd, so much energy it was so awesome!

You’ve been confirmed as Co-headliners of the Deccan Rock Festival in India. How do you feel playing again in front of an India audience?

Barney: We are going to be touring around Asia starting April 2011 in the Philippines with Anthrax, Death Angel and a few more bands, post that in May we will return to play a show in Sri Lanka before heading out to co headline the Deccan Rock Festival 2011 in Hyderabad, India. We played India last year and we said we would be back just seeing how hardcore the fans there are, it is exciting for us to play India again because we do realize we have an incredible Nervecell army of fans there and we just cannot wait to unleash the new tunes onto them! So that’s going to be one hell of a ride kicking off the “Psychogenocide” touring cycle in Asia first!

Will there be more shows in India?

Barney: Not that I know of…but we sure would do so if we get any offers!

What are your plans for rest of 2011?

Barney: To continue touring in support of the new album “Psychogenocide” going straight into 2012!

Any final words?

Barney: India we really enjoyed playing to you all last year and we sure as hell wanna come back and tear shit with you guys again very soon! Stay Sick…

Rami: Thanks for the support, and do check out our new album ‘Psychogenocide’ once it’s out…we’ll be performing the new songs at Deccan Rock 2011 for our fans in India! Looking forward to be back to India soon!

Heres the video for Shunq (To The Despaired…King Of Darkness) featuring Karl Sanders (Nile)

Written by trendcrusher

May 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Interview with Billy Bob’s Blood Drenched Brew

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Billy Bob’s Blood Drenched Brew are death metal band from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. They have been around for over a year and recently released a split album with Who will Guard the Guardians from Jordan. Find out more about how the split came about, which metal band they would like to see perform in Dubai next and also their plans for 2012 in my interview with the band (Hardy RD – Vocals,  Joe Bear – Guitars, Vin Diesel – Guitars, Aaron Noville – Bass, Josh Grubbun – Drums and Diana – Manager) below

Hey guys, congrats on your debut release. How did the split with Who will Guard the Guardians come about?

Josh: Adnan from Who Will Guard The Guardians initiated the idea and informed Diana about it and we’re good friends, so why not?

Aaron: Yes, the songs were actually recorded back in August last year and in spite of the difference of genres, we thought it’s a great idea to do this split. Major props to The WWGTG guys for making it happen.

The songs on the split sound great, where were they recorded?

Diana: The songs are homemade like our brew, they were recorded in Vin’s lair.

Vin: We basically just locked ourselves up at my place for a whole month and the recordings you hear are a product of this. Of course, large amounts of brew were consumed during this process.

Joe: There are two songs from that session that haven’t been released yet and we’re waiting for Billy Bob to put his final touches before we can finally release them.

What is the writing process like? Who is the main songwriter in the band?

Rd: As far as I remember all the songs were created during drinking sessions at Billy Bob’s Brewery. Billy Bob basically narrates his experiences to us and we compile what we can remember the next day and piece together all the parts. That’s basically it when it comes to the lyrics.

Vin: Once the lyrics are done, the riffs and structures come very naturally to us. Though the music may sound very random to the casual listener, it’s basically a musical interpretation of Billy Bob’s stories and each section syncs up musically with the lyrics.

Vin and Joe were in Discord. How did you meet the rest of the guys in the band?

Joe: All of the members of BBBDB played in previous metal bands in the scene (A Shot of Adrenaline, Discord, etc.). Vin was in a band with me, I was in a band with Aaron, Aaron was in a band with Rd etc.

Rd: Members of the previous bands had left the country to pursue their path of enlightenment, discovering one’s true calling, in other words stepping out of the closet. Since we all had similar tastes in the music we wanted to play, we all quit the previous bands and formed Billy Bob’s Blood Drenched Brew.

Josh: I joined in a bit later, the new extreme style of drumming was quite new to me in comparison to my old bands, but I’ve loved the experience till date!

You’ve opened for Obscura in October and a few weeks ago for Fleshcrawl. Tell us a bit about the experience.

Aaron: Obscura was awesome but there were a couple of technical difficulties and we felt like it wasn’t one of our best performances.

Vin: Rd wasn’t in Dubai at the time we played with Obscura but all the guys would agree that Fleshcrawl had a much bigger and better crowd and the organizers did a great job making sure it was a night that metal fans in Dubai would appreciate.

Rd: We went for some brew after the show with the Fleshcrawl guys, showed them the way of the Brew in Dubai, I’m sure they will be back with more friends. To sum it up; Good brew times.

A lot of metal bands have been touring Dubai lately, what are the bands that you would like to see performing soon?

The band: It’s great seeing Hate Eternal play here in May and we’d love to play the show with them. We’d definitely like to see Napalm Death, Decapitated, Nile (Karl Sanders seemed to like it a lot here last time anyway), Dying Fetus, Meshuggah, Hatebreed (Rd: “these guys are sick live, you would punch yourself first, then everyone around you”), Exhumed, Municipal waste, Slayer and the list goes on and on! Considering that quite a few famous bands have been coming down to Dubai and many of the above mentioned bands are touring India now, the chances of them coming here look better!

What are you plans for the rest of 2012?

Joe: Hmm, play for gigs that are worth playing for, and try to tighten up our sets more than ever

Josh: We’re also going to get working on an album and hopefully even Billy Bob’s merch!

Rd: Play as many shows as possible; maybe do some shows outside the country as well? Who knows.. Increase our Brew capacity and yeah, start an actual BBBDB brand (Brew, Shirts, condoms, etc).

Last Words?

Aaron: Let’s be a bit Band Whorey with this, just go on Facebook and like us and do take a look at our tracks, they are pretty intense. And also, thank you Mr. Trendcrusher, will wait to share another beer with you once you’re back in Dubai.

Rd: Support extreme music or FUCKOFF!!

Vin: What Aaron and Rd said, also we have a youtube channel where we will be adding a few lyric videos shortly, so be sure to check that out!

Josh/Diana/Joe: Pound it!

Written by trendcrusher

April 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Interview with Nephelium

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Nephelium was one of the first Extreme metal bands from U.A.E. I first heard them on on a UAE band compilation (featuring a couple tracks from their first EP “Archiac Manovlent Sorcery”) a decade ago. It was a bit strange to hear black metal in a country where it’s always warm and sunny.  They later started playing death metal and released another EP “Ignite the Wrath of Silence” in 2004.

Last week they finally released their debut album “Coils of Entropy” after shifting base to Toronto in 2006 and a few line-up changes.Find out more about the album, why it took so long to be release and their future plans in my interview with founding member and guitarist of the band, Alex Zubair.

Top L-R: | Florian Ravet (Bass) | Devlin Anderson (Vocals) | James Sawyer (Guitar)
Bottom L-R: | Alan Madhavan (Drums) | Alex Zubair (Guitar)

Hi Alex, Congrats on the release of your long awaited album “Coils of Entropy”. Tell us a bit about it.

It’s like one of your crazy dream come to reality and believe me it wasn’t that easy at all but at the end of the day it’s paying off!!!

The album has been in the making for over 5 years, where was the song writing done – UAE or Canada?

Well “Merciless Annihilation”, was an old song from our last E.P “Ignite the Wrath of Silence”, revamped off course and “Malediction” was the last song Alan & I wrote right before we moved to Toronto. The rest of the material of the album was written in Toronto, Canada.

What is the concept behind “Coils of Entropy”?

This is a thematic manuscript that revolves/gravitates around one executive thesis – a recession of all life and a attainment of entropy. All relocating army in a star eventually mount still and all matter dissolves behind into quarks. And it is in such conform that all life comes to a halt. According to a Second Law of Thermodynamics, a sum entropy of any removed thermodynamic complement tends to boost over time, so entrance a limit value. Therefore, a entropy in a star as a whole increases in a solid duty of a several thermodynamic components. Entropy is a usually quantifiable force concurred by a earthy sciences, that “picks” a sold instruction for time, infrequently called an arrow of time. As we go “forward” in time, a Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that a entropy of an removed complement can usually boost or sojourn a same; it can’t decrease. If life is noticed as a sound wave, afterwards entropy is a spoil after a inflection has died out.

The album was recorded at Rouge Valley Studios (Toronto) and produced by Darius Szcepaniak. What was the recording process like?

The recording itself was an adventurous and intense moment that we will never forget! We got the actual taste of professional recording process, which made us better as musicians and it was tremendously meticulous. The end result was mind blowing and the record sounds Fuckin’ Heavy & Metal as Fuck! Darius did a sick job!

Alex, you and Alan are founding members of the band, how did Florian, Devlin and James become part of the band?

Well the boys in the recording of this album are not in the band and they left the band due to their personal interests which we all do respect. Alan and I were back to square one when the album was done tracking and then it was another journey to find the right fit in the band. That’s how the other members came to the band and they were proper fit!!! Not only it’s about compatibility, but it’s also about feel, dedication, commitment and passion which they all do have and they are getting stronger as a team and as a band or shall I say an establishment.

I know you are a Sound Engineer and Alan is a Professional Strongman, do the other members have day jobs?

Jobs are jobs, as you know people work hard in North America compared to Dubai cause we have bills to pay. I can’t complain about it cause that’s how the system works and its matter of time when the band hits the road things will change for better.

Nephelium changed from black metal band to a death metal one, what was the reason behind the change in style?

Nephelium wasn’t a completely a Black Metal band, infact we had both Black/Death feel in our music and that’s the time we were experimenting and blending different genre of extreme metal to see which was the right fit. We couldn’t resist or hold ourselves off not playing Death Metal because it was not only our cake but the perfect way of expressing our inner content.

Did moving to Toronto have an impact on the band and its music?

Of course as you know how underground and small the music scene was when we left Dubai (U.A.E), so many restrictions, hard to find a proper jam space, shows, access to proper selection of music, gear etc. That’s when Alan and I planned to move to Toronto being one of the biggest metropolitan cities in North America. The scene is way bigger here and it was a challenge for us in the beginning to start from scratch but that entire struggle is finally paying off.

Plans for the rest of the year? Any tours being planned?

Well the album just got released independently and we are planning to tour Canada and States this summer and hopefully Europe in the end of the year. It’s under process now.

Any plans to perform in Dubai?

Hell Yes!!! Dubai, Dubai, Dubai!!! The soils were it began, I can’t tell you how much Alan and I am waiting for that moment. It will be soon, very soon and we will make history!!!

Any Final Words?

Thanks Peter and your “Zine” for giving us a chance to spread our music all around the globe and I hope you enjoyed the album!!! See Ya in Dubai in the near future!!!

Listen/Download  “Coils of Entropy” @

Written by trendcrusher

February 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Interview with Anuryzm

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Anuryzm is a progressive metal band based in Dubai, UAE.  Started by John Bakhos in 2003, the band recently release their album Worm’s Eye View after going through different line ups while based in Lebanon, Canada, Turkey. Find out more about the album, the latest line up and their plans for 2012 in my interview with John below.

Hi John, congrats on the release of your album ‘Worm’s Eye View’ (WEV). It has been a while in the making, what are your thoughts on the album finally being released.

Thank you! I’m breathing a sigh of relief. In hindsight, we couldn’t have released it at a better time. It’s as if the pieces of the puzzle fell into place exactly when they should have.

What was the song writing process for the album like?

Back when I started writing the material, I was transitioning from writing extreme metal tunes (with my other band Ordum) to prog rock/metal ones. I wanted whatever I did next to be even more guitar-driven than before. In no time, I had written and layered a handful of material into song formats ready for an album. It was only when Nadeem and I teamed up that we had to revisit many sections of songs to fit vocals and melodies and make sure everything sounded right before we hit the studio. We gave Rami and Martin complete freedom in writing their parts the way they saw fit, they are both professional musicians and they knew exactly what WEV needed.

Worm’s Eye View” sounds great. Tell us a bit about the recording process.

We had somewhat of a relaxed atmosphere doing the album. Drums took a little longer than the rest, considering the logistical issues of having Martin record in Stockholm with us being far away.
All the other instruments were done in the UAE. Guitars and Synths were mostly recorded at my place, bass guitars at Rami’s, and vocals were done at Deff Ears Productions & MNK studios.

Are you satisfied with how the album has turned out?

Definitely! We wanted to make sure that we got a huge and clear sound overall. The music certainly deserves it in my opinion, and I’m really happy with the results.

Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the album.

I was inspired by more of an early 90’s metal and classic prog rock vibe than by anything new, however we also worked hard to make the sound modern and relevant to this day and age. I suppose all my travelling and erratic displacement was an inspiration in the album.
Also releasing this album was intended to honour my old friend, and one of the founding members of Anuryzm, Bernard. He passed away some years ago while I was in Turkey, at a time when the band had been put on hold for different reasons.

Martin Lopez plays drums on the album. How did you manage to get him on the album?

Well, I just got in touch with him and showed him some demos. He really liked the material, so I asked him if he’d like to play drums on the record, and surprise surprise… he said yes!

How did Nadeem, Rami, Milton, Jay and Imad become part of the band?

Nadeem and I were friends since high school when we started playing in a thrash band. We kept in touch over the years, and when I came back to the UAE, I met up with him to catch up. Then I heard his vocal capacity and range, and my jaw dropped instantly. He was the man for the job, and I keep telling him to this day that his voice is the next voice of metal and rock!
I saw Rami playing bass at a local show in Dubai. I remembered watching him years earlier at a gig in Lebanon, and I remember thinking “this guy can play!” So, I just walked up to him after the show, we got introduced and talked, and the rest is history.
We worked on the album at Milton’s studio, and after hearing his production and guitar work with Private Government, I was really impressed. He was also very familiar with Anuryzm’s tunes, so it seemed only logical to ask him to play rhythm guitar live with us as well.
As for Imad, we had watched his videos and then got in touch. His playing has an excellent mix of finesse and aggression that coincided exactly with Martin’s playing on the record. It came as no surprise that he’s a big fan of Martin’s work, so the choice was obvious.
Jay is a very creative synth player. I’ve known him since my days back in Lebanon when he used to play with a band called Dilemma. Somehow we bumped into him at a bar in Dubai, and found ourselves jamming with him shortly after.

You’ve continued with Anurzym across 3 countries (Lebanon, Canada and United Arab Emirates), where does the future for the band lie ?

Don’t forget Turkey; actually the majority of WEV was written there. Hopefully Anu will stay in the UAE hahaha! I’m just tired of moving. I’m very grateful to have found all the guys here, it’s been really amazing so far and I’m pretty confident that we’ll be around for the long haul.

What are your thoughts on the music scene in Dubai/UAE?

From my experience in the places I’ve travelled, I see Dubai as being still in the early stages of development for a ‘thriving’ rock/metal scene. There aren’t enough supporters yet to help push the music higher, and foster creativity. There are also very few good promoters, sound engineers, studios, and merchandise stores, mixed in with a lot of red-tape when it comes to metal music. We have a ways to go before we look something like London or Istanbul. But we’ll get there eventually.

What are your plans for 2012?

We’ve been pushing WEV to labels and working hard at getting coverage in many countries. 2012 will be no different; we’ll continue to do the same for this album. Our website should be launching soon as well.
I’m also happy to say that we’ve already begun pre-production work for the next album.

You’ve played a couple gigs so far, any more happening soon? Tours being planned?

We are planning to put out a show in Dubai for the OFFICIAL release of the album. It should happen by end of January or beginning February. As for the rest of the year, I’m sure we’ll have more UAE-based shows lined up.
As for touring, details aren’t set in stone yet, but we are definitely working at a mini-tour arrangement around the Middle-East/Africa/Asia later this year. We’ll have more news about that in the coming months. Definitely some surprises in store!

Thank you for taking time out to answer my questions. Do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thank you Peter! On behalf of the guys, I want to thank everyone that has been supporting us so far. A big shout out to you and the Indian fans! Nadeem loved India when he visited and had great things to say about the rock and metal scene so we hope to get invited to play one day soon!

Anuryzm is

John Bakhos – Guitars
Miltiadis Kyvernitis – Guitars
Nadeem Bibby – Vocals
Imad Dahleh – Drums
Rami Lakkis – Bass
Jay Jahed – Synth
Martin Lopez – Drums (session)

Listen to “Worm’s Eye Viewhere and  buy the album  here


Written by trendcrusher

January 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm