Metal Bulletin Zine (est. 2006) is a metal music zine (Seattle region), online and on paper. 160 issues so far.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014
the music of the devil in Saudi Arabia: WASTED LAND
Wasted Land (Saudi Arabia)
Ahmed Khojah, the guitarist from Wasted Land—who call themselves “melodic death metal”—recently responded to questions about the band and metal music in Saudi Arabia. Wasted Land released its debut “Wasted Land” in 2013, but the band has been around for years, persevering. It’s challenging to keep a metal band together anywhere, and Saudi Arabia presents a set of concrete and special circumstances, as Ahmed explains here. At the end there is a link where you can hear the complete album. Thanks to the band for making its music available this way on Soundcloud!
Wasted Land was formed in 2005, so you must feel very proud to finally have the album for everybody to hear!
Well, it was a relief! We waited too long to finish this record and went through a lot, but thanks god finally we did it. Actually, after all what we went through yes we are proud of this record indeed. After we finished or actually during recording most of band members got busy with things kept them away from music, some members got married, some started new business, you know life always keeps us busy from things we like! That's why we need music its always takes us away from all life commitments and routine.
You live in Jeddah, an important city in Saudi Arabia. Are you one of the oldest metal bands in Jeddah or are there metal bands from the 90s, too?
Actually, yeah, there were metal scene before in the 90s, there were like few bands, but since the beginning of the 2000s actually these bands increased and reached a good number here and in the whole country in general.
What was happening in 2005 that you decided to form a band? Was it easy to buy instruments in Jeddah? I suppose that your neighbors were not pleased with loud drumming and loud guitars, ha ha!
Actually, we all started to gather and jam together before 2005, let’s say in beginning of 2002, we used to jam only and play covers, no bands no scene yet here in Jeddah, and we were a huge group of metalheads and musicians after that smaller groups formed, then it turned to be bands and Wasted Land formed this way in a small jam session!
We were doing a folk/melodic death project, the feedback were awesome so we decided to start a band. Regarding instruments and stores in Jeddah, there are actually, but its very limited and few, you don't have many options, so most of metal musicians here buy their stuff online. Speaking of neighbors, yeah its a headache! It’s always hard to find a place to jam or rehearsal, but in our case we used to jam in an isolated room in one of our member's house backyard so we didn't have a problem.
Are there many opportunities to play live for metal bands in Jeddah or in Saudi Arabia in general?
Unfortunately, it’s banned to play live here, specially metal or rock music, as you know, it’s considered the devil music. You will have to bring a license or permission from the government and I guess it’s no way to get that approval for such a thing. So we used to make private gigs and concerts in Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh and still it was very risky and led us to several problems, so basically that's why the live metal scene here is kind of dead now.
Are Saudi women becoming involved in metal music?
Yeah, I remember one female rock band from Jeddah and you can find a good number of female musicians and metalheads around Facebook and social media unveiled everything.
Do you have plans for a second album? What do you think will happen with Wasted Land in 2014/15?
Yes, indeed, we have an idea we are working on lately or you can say a new theme. There are many riffs, melodies, materials in general on the shelf! But things are going slowly again with us so let’s hope we can make it up soon. We haven't planned yet, but we are coming back! As I said we have materials and ideas so why not! Let’s do it!!
FYI: Hear the complete album at Soundcloud.