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Wretched Lebanon: The Ugly Sounds of Ayat, Damaar & Veinen

26 July 2009

(Note: This is my third entry in my series on Middle Eastern black metal. Previous posts have centered on Iran and Israel.)

The countryside of Lebanon is said to be extraordinarily beautiful (see some of it here). Unfortunately, this beauty is overshadowed by the constant battles, wars and violent acts hurled on both sides of the southern border with Israel. Perhaps this violence accounts for the over-the-top and extreme nature of Lebanon’s black metal scene. It takes a lot to shock me, but, quite frankly, I was shocked by the raw, unbridled rage I heard in these bands.

Want to hear some of the ugliest music ever recorded?

Of course you do!

AYATAl Nabi Moujrem, Moughtaseb, Dajjal EP (Sardonic Wrath)

Ayat is a duo comprised of REVEREND FILTHY F*** on vocals and MULLAH SADOGOAT on guitar and bass (both pictured above), with various session drummers providing percussion. Basically, when the first track, “The Possession” came on, I was so stunned I sat listening to it with my mouth wide open in amazement until I realized I should turn it down. Not only is the recording pushed way beyond the red, but the song sounds like the evil entity from The Exorcist formed a band and this came out. I can honestly say, as someone who owns a ton of old hardcore/punk and black metal, as someone who counts GG ALLIN, BRAINBOMBS and ANTiSEEN as some of my favorite bands, I have never before heard this much anger and hatred transformed into music. It actually made me uncomfortable – no meager feat. “Asylum,” the second track, is a doomier affair, but no less unsettling, like the thoughts of a severely mentally-ill patient who’s left to rot in a straight-jacket and rubber room. The remaining two tracks are furious, frenzied blasts of rabid insanity. I believe this EP is long out-of-print, and even if it weren’t, good luck finding it. You can download it here. By the way, MORIBUND RECORDS has released Ayat’s first full-length album, Six Years of Dormant Hatred. I haven’t heard it yet, but if Al Nabi is any indication, it should be a brutal, uncompromising collection of music.

DAMAARTriumph Through Spears of Sacrilege EP (Nuclear War Now!)

HEATHEN (vocals/bass), NUNRIDER (guitar) and NAPALM (drums) comprise Damaar. Their music is only slightly less intense than that of Ayat, with songs like “Preaching for Mass Suicide” and “Ode to Blasphemy.” More than anything, they remind me of SARCOFAGO, an intense Brazilian band from the 1980s that helped usher in the first wave of black metal. This EP is still in print and easily obtainable through NWN!, so, instead of a blog, I’ll give you a link where you can buy it.

VEINENBlack Hypnosis CS (Todestrieb)

According to the Encyclopaedia Metallum, “Veinen – the creation of XARDAS from Lebanon – recorded one track, ‘Black Hypnosis,’ in 2003. It was sent out to two or three individuals so they could decide if they were interested in recording the vocals. After reading an interview with PISK from ASKA (Sweden) on MOTHER GOAT webzine, where Pisk wrote: ‘One of the things that’ll be on top of the list is an ultra-monotonous, possessed Black Metal in the Von-spirit,’ Xardas immediately sent the “Black Hypnosis” track to Pisk. After hearing the track, Pisk joined in 2004.” So one half of the band is in Lebanon and one half is in Sweden. The title track is hypnotic and pulsing, almost like THROBBING GRISTLE doing black metal, especially with the constant, singular, robotic beat. The following song, “Apocalyptic Nuclear Terror” most closely resembles black metal as we know it, while “The Cave of God,” recalls ABRUPTUM, only more lo-fi, if that’s possible. This tape is long out of print, so download it here.

May this truly unsettling music bring nightmares to your dreams!


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