Listening for many years now to folk black metal, I am always looking for bands from “unusual” places that would mix their own culture’s music with black metal. Saudi Arabia though, would be one of the least expected places to listen to this genre, since there are very few metal bands at all there. Al-Namrood play Arabian folk black metal and they are around from 2008. The same year they released their 4 song EP “Atba’a AlNamrood” and a 3-way split “Narcotized” with Dhul-Qarnayn (Bahrain) and Ayyur (Tunisia).
Their music has a very underground raw sound. Guitars are somehow in the background, but still listenable, while the screaming vocals are definitely louder in the production. There are many oriental traditional instruments, but I can’t tell if they are real or synths. Anyway, Al-Namrood blend them skillfully in their music into a very original and “exotic” result. Except for the Arabian instruments, it is also the rhythm, the scales of the compositions and the melodies in the guitar lines that are deeply influenced by their traditional music. They move into a hypnotizing mid-tempo oriental mood, but don’t expect anything relaxing… There is an evil dark atmosphere in their songs, something expected, since their lyrics deal with archaic dark ages, pre-Arab times, legends of ancient kings and misanthropic themes. All of their songs are in Arabic language, something unusual, but they don’t sound strange at all! There are small summaries for every song in the booklet of the CD helping the listener to capture the atmosphere of each track.
The album is very interesting, especially for a debut and from a very strict and religious country, without any background in this music. There are many great moments in their songs, but of course there are also some things that need improvement. The production and the sound are definitely some of them. I am not talking of course about “polished” professional sound, but for a more “real sounding” instrumentation. Anyway this underground sound they have now, works great for this release, but they have just raised my expectations… Also the album lasts for an hour, but I believe that it could be smaller, since there are some less interesting parts in some songs…
“Astfhl AlTha’r”, as well as their debut mini-CD is released by the Canadian label Shaytan Productions that releases exclusively oriental / middle eastern influenced metal. So, if you like oriental folk black metal, Al-Namrood is a very original and fresh choice. You can visit their profile on myspace to check this unique band.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos