Posts Tagged ‘UAE

DJ Solo

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A throwback interview from when I used to write for Mid East Dynasty.

Neil Andrew aka DJ Solo is a turntablist and producer. Originally from High Wycombe and London, U.K., he now lives in Dubai, UAE. Read on to find out more about his EP “Who is Wriggly Scott?”, how Neil got the “DJ Solo” moniker and more.

Hi Neil, hows it going? Congrats on the release of your “Who Is Wriggly Scott” EP. How has the response to it been so far?

The response so far has been amazing both here and abroad. It’s been featured on various blogs and radio shows in the US and Europe, and one of the tracks is currently no.21 in the US College/Internet Radio Chart.

When did you start working on the EP? What was the writing and recording process like?

I didn’t specifically start working on an EP, and was just working on separate tracks. After a few of them came together and I did the track ‘Tangible Dream’ with Orifice Vulgatron, I think it was his encouragement which made me decide to try and release something. So from then on I would write beats, and then contact MCs that I knew and thought would suit specific tracks. The only MCs that recorded their verses in my studio were Feras, Jibberish and Orifice, all of the others sent their verses from abroad. It was actually a pretty smooth process all in all.

How did you choose which MCs to work with? How did you get J Live to feature on your EP?

The guys that I worked with were all friends that I’d known or worked with before, and it really was more of a case of suiting certain beats to certain MCs – obviously it depends on which beats they’re feeling also, or the verses would lack energy. In the back of my mind however I did have the inkling that I wanted it to have broad spectrum of nationalities on it. I met J-Live a few years ago when he performed here. Myself and Solphonic always said that we could retire from producing if we ever worked with him, – he’s really been one of my favourite MCs for a long time. Anyway, I managed to get in touch with him via Ben McDonald (Mach 4), who was originally involved in bringing him to perform here, luckily J liked the track and we took it from there, it reminded me of one of the beats off his second LP which is why I felt it would suit him.

“Who Is Wriggly Scott” EP will be released digitally by Dented Records, how did the deal come about?

Honestly it just kind of came up in conversation. I remember when I recorded Orifice’s verse (he’s a co-founder of Dented Records) for ‘Tangible Dream’ he said “you’d better do something with it”, or something like that. I think later on he just asked me if I’d like to release it on the label, to which of course I said yes. It’s been a real learning curve so far, and I’m lucky to have landed on a label that’s professional, and is already established with such great contacts in the industry. As a producer, especially in this region, it’s hard to guage the quality of your work and we always look to producer such as J Dilla or Madlib, as opposed to someone in London who probably knows a producer who lives on his street corner with a string of releases under his belt – I mean it’s great that we do that because that’s a very high standard to set yourself, but it can also make you question the level of your production.

When did you start DJing using turntables?

Well I started collecting records when I was 13 or 14 as it seemed that I could only buy the hip hop I liked on vinyl at the time. I bought my first turntable I think when I was 14 or 15, it was a belt-driven JB Systems Disco 2000 – I bought it from my friend who also threw in loads of old Jungle records. I used to call friends and scratch down the phone on my one turntable – my first DJ name was ‘The Deck Destroyer’.By the time I was 16 some of my friends were DJing, but they were all playing Jungle, Garage or Happy Hardcore and as none of them were playing Hip Hop I felt like it was kind of my duty as my home town (High Wycombe) once had a thriving hip hop scene which nobody seemed to be catering for anymore, so for my birthday I asked for another turntable – this time a belt-driven Soundlab – so my set-up didn’t even match. I also got a Kam GM25 mixer whish was particularly bad. I then changed my name to ‘The Drunken Master’, but it turned out there already was one in Wycombe, so I called myself ‘Peter Parker’ and later ‘Hash Solo’ (which stuck and became shortened once I moved to the U.A.E.) When I was 18 I visited New York with my Art College, and actually saved my money so that upon my return I could buy some Vestax turntables, the rest is history.

Do you play any musical instruments ?

I used to pay the piano growing up, then the guitar but unfortunately put them down when I started DJing. I still like to play the keys when I’m producing and also record a lot of percussion to give it a more ‘live’ feel. My mother and sister were both piano teachers, and I definitely feel that having even a small background in music theory helps me to structure things more musically when producing or scratching. I did take the piano up again a few years back, but due to a heavy workload had to drop it again.

When did you move to UAE? How did you get involved in the music scene?

Around 7 years ago. At first I played at a few MIS parties, and those guys later opened ibo, where I used to play quite regularly. I also played at some of the Global Funk parties. I actually gained a lot of exposure by just handing out mixtapes wherever I went. After meeting Dany Neville, he offered me guest spots on his show so that also helped a lot. Just meeting like-minded people leads you to meet more such people and before you know it you have a good circle of contacts.

The hip hop scene has been slowly developing in the UAE and the Middle East in the past few years, where do you see it going in the future?

Hip Hop and music as a whole has always been an extremely powerful tool to get your message across, but it’s a shame that many of the artists that I revere in this region seemingly don’t get enough exposure. Not only are record companies or club promoters generally more interested in the more commercially-viable artists, but individuals often get held back from traveling or studying abroad due to which passport they hold. Honestly I cannot predict where it will be in the future in the same way you cannot predict where this region as a whole will be next year, but I do see it growing and hope that the scene continues to develop in diverse ways.

You have a weekly online radio show “Another music” and also run a weekly club night “Freshly Laced”, any other ventures that we should know of?

Hmm, well I’m already working on my follow-up release which will be the first official release under the guise of ‘Wriggly Scott’ – it will be a lot more diverse in terms of the production, and will feature a mixture of instrumental and vocal tracks. I’m also working on a release for one of my other aliases ‘Ductchild’ which is much more moody, electronic stuff. I have another few ideas kicking around my head for collaborations but I have to keep them secret for the time being.

What are your plans for the rest of 2011?

Mainly to continue working on my production. I think that after my second or third release I will start looking into performing abroad more but am in no rush right now.

Written by trendcrusher

March 15, 2018 at 10:00 am

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’.

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“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


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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

Nervecell – Psychogenocide

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My review of the second album of Nervecell, “Psychogenocide” is finally done. Its a really good album hence I wanted to take my time before reviewing it. This review originally appeared on

Nervecell is the biggest metal band to come out of United Arab Emirates. The release of their debut album, “Preaching Venom” and also their Tours across Europe, Middle East, India and most recently Philippines has got them a fan following from all over the world.

The album starts off with the “Anemic Assurgency”, an Oud instrumental that then gives way to the brutal riffs on “Upon an Epidemic Scheme”. The title track has the band firing on all cylinders, you cannot help but lose control and headbang along to it. “Shunq (To The Despaired…King Of Darkness)” features Karl Sanders (Nile) and is the first extreme metal song with both Arabic and English lyrics. “The Taste of Betrayal” is one of my favourite songs on the album, it really showcases the chops of both Rami and Barney. The vacant drum throne is again filled by Dave Haley (Psycroptic).

Overall this is an angry album, some of the songs reflect the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa. The band has added Arabic elements without taking away the brutality, something that makes them stand out from their peers in the Middle East. Wojtek & Slawek Wieslawscy from Hertz Studios, Poland have done a great job mixing and mastering the album. Björn Goosses (Killustrations) has depicted the concept of the album pretty accurately in the artwork, which is one more reason that you should buy a physical copy of the album.

Keep an eye out on Nervecell as they will only get bigger and stronger in the coming years. Head to the Nervecell Online store and pick up a copy of the album.

More reviews coming up soon.

Written by trendcrusher

June 5, 2011 at 10:02 pm

MidEast Dynasty

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I am now writing also for MidEast Dynasty, in addition to and,  Those  wondering why I am writing for  a hip hop website, well….I’m not  the BIGGEST hip hop fan but I do check out hip hop from UAE/Middle East sometimes.

The founder of MidEast Dynasty, Nasir Akmal aka Deen had got it contact with me in 2008 when I was writing for Spin Earth.  Late last year, he wanted to start a website for the Hip Hop scene in the Middle East and asked me if I would be interested in being involved. After months of planning and a lot more the website is now live!!!

Check it out even if you are not a fan of hip hop, you will discover some new music.

Written by trendcrusher

May 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm

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Mid April Updates

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The interviews I did last month are finally online now.

A couple of them were for Indiarockmp3. Feathers of Jatinga is one of the newest projects of Vishal Singh (Amogh Symphony) which has Vedant (Shades of Retribution) on vocals. My interview with them covers their background, album and also future plans. Check out a couple of tracks from their upcoming album here.

Bhayanak Maut are a deathcore band from Mumbai. They were featured on the first episode of the podcast. A killer band live, they are now getting ready for their first gig abroad which will be at the Infero festival in Norway. I helped out with their “Artist of the month” interview.  Check out their Metasis EP if you have not already done so. Its FREE!!

There were also a couple of interviews for The first was with Nervecell, the Dubai based death/thrash metal band who have just released a kick ass new album “Psychogenocide”. Read all about it and also their touring plans for this year here.

The second one was with Woods of Ypres, one of my favourite bands. I own most of their releases, including compilations and vinyl. Last year they released “The Green Album” which was played a lot in my cd player. Earache Records signed the Canadian doomsters late last year and re-released “The Green Album” last month. Read about how all of them happened and what it means for the future of the band here.

Thats all for now, more reviews and interviews coming up soon.

Written by trendcrusher

April 12, 2011 at 11:59 am