Genre: Experimental Folk Death Metal Progressive Metal
Label: Haarbn Productions
Sand Aura is a new Egyptian band, with a very personal, different and distinctive sound! They were formed by Muhammed Hassany and Shung in 2007 in Cairo and they believe in the unification of all cultures, religions and historical backgrounds. Their debut full length album “Elegy of the Orient” was finished quite some time now, but it was finally released on November 2012 via Russian label Haarbn Productions. The band had a complete line-up in the album, since two more members joined them.
Middle Eastern traditional music and Egyptian folk elements are very dominant in the band’s sound, which is really difficult to describe! They experiment with many different genres, ranging from progressive metal and rock, to doom death metal and folk, adding many acoustic and ambient elements or even some atmospheric soundtrack-like passages, all of them under the strong influence of an “oriental” aura. They use guitars and synths, but no real traditional instruments, except for guest oud on the second track “Aljahelia“. Sand Aura mix a lot of different singing styles, like death metal growls, clean female vocals, traditional Arabic vocals and choirs, adding even more to the uniqueness of their sound. There are 8 songs totally, lasting for 49 minutes, with many changes in tempo and style, yet the overall atmosphere of the album remains the same, something very important and extremely difficult at the same time. It is a very ambitious effort, but the band proves to have the guts and skills to create such a bold work! “Elegy of the Orient” is a melancholic and sad album; sometimes it becomes more epic, other times more ethnic, mystic or calm, often more aggressive, but never too extreme. They mostly sing in English with a few Arabic verses, while there are also 2 songs completely in their native language and you can find all of them in the CD booklet.
Sand Aura was a very pleasant surprise for me. “Elegy of the Orient” is a very good album, due to the originality of its compositions, but it could be a real masterpiece if the band had a better production and avoided a few indifferent moments in the songs. I also strongly recommend the use of authentic traditional instruments, that would make the whole result more “professional”. Of course we are talking about the debut album of a new band from Egypt, so all these remarks are just “details” compared to the quality of their music. I believe all Middle Eastern folk metal fans, as well as experimental progressive lovers will appreciate them, since we have to do with a very special and atypical band. The album is released by Haarbn Productions in a standard jewel case edition with a 16-page booklet illustrated by Xavier Vanrius. You can visit their pages below to get a taste of their unique music.