Sunday, September 3, 2017

interview: AlNamrood

AlNamrood (“the nonbeliever”), a black metal band in Saudi Arabia, has under its belt a consistent and constant discography since 2008. Now in 2017 the quest adds another journey by the name of Enkar, a strong introduction to the band’s “Arabian occult metal,” which is black metal interpreted through the medium of the participants’ music knowledge of their surroundings in their part of the world. To the initiated the new chapter should be very pleasing and will renew their support to the secretive group. Below are the answers received in response to questions about the latest music.
Congratulations on your new album Enkar! It is a very memorable work and I listen to it a lot. How is life in Saudi Arabia for you all?
Thank you. Things are like the usual, living in the shadow, avoiding social contacts, keeping very low profile and doing what pleases us in our private place.
Metal Archives says that you are in the city of Al-Khobar. Are you able to find a job and pay the bills there? Saudi Arabia is a rich country and some social classes live well. Yet, you criticize the state and government there. Is your criticism based on what you consider a lack of freedom, not economic issues?
We are not from that city, I’m not sure why metal archive assumed that, or it was inputted by someone, although we never revealed our whereabouts. At anyhow, Saudi Arabia is a rich country indeed, but opportunities is reserved for certain class in the society, it is like tribal levels and the rich class is owning everything and controlling everything, the poor class get nothing, merely the leftover from the resources of this country. Economy is solid but the distribution of resources is unfair, job are reserved, health care is poor (the rich class get their health care abroad) education is poor, infrastructure is poor, freedom does not exist. Social equality is a big issue in the country.
How many people are members of the band?
3 members who played in the latest album Enkar.
Can you tell us the relation between the album artwork and the title?
The concept is rebellious in nature, brutality of authority, the artwork illustrates an execution scene, illustrative to what happen in our country, where the religious regime oppress all those who do not follow their path.
What instrument is the solo at the beginning of the song “Estinzaf”? Is it the oud? Is it something that someone from Saudi Arabia would recognize immediately?!
Yes, it is Oud, we thought about this combination and it blended very well with the song. I suppose any one knows Arabic music will recognize that this is the sound of Oud.
If you play electric or acoustic guitar, it should be rather easy to play the oud, right?
The oud is close to the construction of guitar, but it differs in sound output. It has no frets (fretless) shorter scale, doubled strings (11 or 12 typically) the sound is more bassy than acoustic guitar, the scale is different, out notes start with “C”, unlike standard guitar which starts with “E”. The oud uses the concept of quarter note, which is very different than guitar.
Songs 4-10 all begin with the letter E, as shown on Metal Archives. Is there a reason for that?
The words start with “E” because it is an adjective in Arabic language, for example, in English, to describe the situation of force, we say enforcement. So each song title is written as description for something.
On the song “Nabth” we hear what sounds like mad laughing and lunatic babbling. Do you record the crazier pieces at night when you feel a bit crazier?
Well, our vocalist Humbaba is lunatic by default so no need to wait for a certain time.
The song “Ezdraa” has what appears to be keyboards. What can you tell us about those melodies? It sounds a bit like classical music with Arabian melody.
Yes, this song written by our keyboardist Ostron it embedded his skills in keyboard, backed by epic playability of guitar and another mixture of oud. This song was made as the Arabian instruments are prevailing.
What instrument did you use for the main melodies in “Entiqam”? The vocals sound like you are choking and about to die!
Instruments used: Oud, Qanoon, synth. This sound is AlNamrood classic sound, as you may notice it is very similar to our previous work. Humbaba did an excellent performance in this one as well, he embodied the maniac unstable, fluctuating personality.
How ridiculous sounds the Arabic when AlNamrood is pronouncing it with blasphemous intonations?! Is it comprehensible?
Not at all, we use fluent Arabic and it sounds correct, in grammatical and vocabulary manner, it sounds like a historical poet or ancient movie, sadly, fluent Arabic is not used nowadays anymore, all Arab no speak slang Arabic, redefined for each country.
Did you use the kanun on this album? That instrument seems harder to play. It has lots of strings!
Of course, it is our favorite instrument, it is used on ”Halak”, “Estibdad” and “Entiqam”. This instrument played through keyboard; we do not have the actual instrument, sadly it is not sold anywhere in our country.
The third song is called “Xenophobia.” This seems to be the only one with an English-language title. What can you tell us about it?
Humbaba wrote this song specifically to illustrate the social classism, rejection of different people, rejection of immigrants, fear of different people who are not following the same path, social inequality and nationalism illness.
Bands from Saudi Arabia like Creative Waste, Wasted Land and Grieving Age have publicized their photos for the whole world to see. Do they not have problems? If AlNamrood shows pictures, would you have problems? Why is that?
The mentioned bands are Muslims, and they cleared their way as pro government and pro Islam, they use music in alignment with Islamic law, so basically they won’t have a problem. However, for us, it is will be a big deal, and you already know the reason.
Since you record your music at home, do you have many songs that you have not published yet? You certainly have an active discography so far!
Yes, they are unpublished songs, so many actually, we spend too much time experimenting with sound production, so many songs are created for experimental purposes, other just canceled, others kept for later use.
What is next for AlNamrood?
Continue what we always do, make more and more music. This is our passion and we enjoy it so much.
Thank you for your time. I really enjoy your albums.
Cheers from the doom land.

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