Middle Eastern Metal / Interview With Anarchadia
First Published: 29 November 2012
Those who are familiar with keeping their eyes on the thrashiest prize will no doubt be familiar with the excellence being created and re-crafted by our Middle Eastern Metal brothers and sisters. Keeping true to the original sound outlined by the founders of thrash but adding the personal touches and groove to create something mindblowingly good looks easy to the new thrash groove bands emerging from the Middle East and – Syria based Anarchadia are the top of the talent.
If you haven’t heard of them before get yourself a drink and make sure the neighbours are out before listening to these guys as it is impossible to resist the impulse to turn them up.
Additionally, as reports come in from Damascus today of yet another car bomb and fighting devastating may lives and families we are aware of the unique bond music creates and we are aware of our fellow music affectionados and keep our fingers crossed that they are safe. This is what it is like to create Metal in a country at war.
Hi there Anarchadia, how are you all doing?
“Hey there MetalTalk, we are fine – thank you for having us.”
What can you tell us about Anarchadia?
Nour: “Well, for me I have known the guys for two years, but they have known each other for a long time, since childhood, and they all had the same musical obsession, they formed several bands together, but did not get as serious as when Raafat came back from Egypt with the determination of making some real shit and Siam had the same passion for it, so they started to gather the right people to initiate a serious project and form a real band, and that’s when Ala’a joined the group to play bass, and Sami was suggested to take over drums, but then Sami had to travel to Dubai for business, and in that time I had some mutual friends with Raafat and Siam and Alaa and I knew the guys by names in the metal scene here.
“They saw some videos of me covering some thrash bands, so Siam contacted me and I took the vocals part and that’s how Anarchadia was formed, and now Anarchadia is more like a family than a band because it’s not just about the band itself, it’s about our friends who were always there supporting us, now we are planning to gather with our drummer Sami in Dubai after finishing the full length (which is going to be released very soon) and start to throw some gigs and spread our music as much as possible, and get the word out there.”
How is the Metal music scene in Syria just now?
Ala’a: “For starters, Metal music is not a new thing in Syria, it goes way back, it was and still is an underground scene though. There are not so many active bands, yet the scene, fortunately, is growing in the last couple of years and fans are just starving for more bands, more music and more gigs.
“And not like any other music genre, Metal music fans share the same passion so it’s a community no matter what society did to it or how much it tried to ignore it. Anything that is real and honest and contains a true message always sticks and stands the test of time.
“Authority as much as society has a misconception about Metal music and Metalheads in general, just like any part of this world, stuck with the same old song, Satanism and actually during times of war, terrorism, and I am not kidding about that at all. I am talking from a personal experience. There is no Metalhead in Syria that didn’t suffer from such accusations and sometimes suffered from a collective oppression from both society and government.
“Of course, it is related to the idea that anything differs from society, gets abandoned and accused of weird stuff but I have to admit that these days things are getting better. It’s not like five years ago, during those times walking the streets with a long hair and a guitar was a very alien thing.
“Due to these misperceptions and wrong understandings of what’s different, Metal wasn’t an interesting movement to the state neither to the private business sector, because Metal is about exposing and debating such topics and such entities. And this played a major role in keeping Arabic Metal music in the underground, with no physical materials to be released.
“But Bands in Syria like us, Netherion, The Hourglass and Brotherhood are trying to change that fact, and create a newborn wave of Syrian Metal music, and gladly I can see it happening right now.”
How would you describe your music? I liken it to early Metallica and one of my all time favourite albums – ‘Ride The Lightning’. What do you think?
Raafat: “First of all, we would definitely be honored to have some sort of resemblance to such classic record. Albums like this from such era must have been stuck in our subconscious because we grew up listening to this shit, and it must have inspired us in certain ways, but we would like to think that we are forming a unique combination between many different genres and vibes, and not obliged or attached to one specific school, we have the old sound, the pure thrashing blasts, and there are the – groove- elements that can’t be mistaken, and with the new songs that are about to be released soon you will find a whole new dimension being presented in addition to the existing ones in the EP.
“We added a more technical and progressive approach to the material which we think created more diversity that can appeal to different tastes and ears… as for the writing and arranging process, it’s mostly a group effort, we all contribute to each and every piece. Even Osama our manager had some opinions which were pretty smart and were added to some parts.
“I think the best way to create an original piece that you can call your own is to mix everyone’s taste into an organized formula that contains several ideas and approaches therefore the songs will have some twists and won’t be boring.”
I really love ‘Devolution’ although it is brief, but there are sounds of fighting in the background; tell us a bit about that song.
Siam: “‘Devolution’ is basically an audio expression of the chaotic life we lead. I’m talking about the human race of course. Evolution is a natural thing that happens in life spontaneously but when humans used their ‘intelligence’ to play with the laws of nature, they de-evolved in the process which led to the global corruption we are witnessing right now. And this is where the title idea for the song came from.
“And about special effects and the explosive sounds, I was actually inspired by the real war sounds bashing every spot in Syria at this very moment. It’s a very painful thing to witness such destruction and chaos happening in your home land, so after I heard and saw all the explosions and bullets such as artillery… tanks… whatever you can imagine, it came to me, I combined the sounds of the bullets and the explosives then manifested it into notes and melodies to reflect the horrible image of what we hear.”
What are your top five favourite songs ever?
Nour: Megadeth: ‘Tornado Of Souls’
Raafat: Slayer: ‘Angel Of Death’
Siam: Ark: ‘Waking Hour’
Alaa: Queen: ‘The Show Must Go On’
Sami: Pink Floyd: ‘Comfortably Numb’
What is your message to the world?
“First of all, Metal, and specifically the extreme types like thrash, death and speed is always portrayed as this negative form of music, but the truth is Metal music could not be more positive! Talking about something negative and screaming about it in people’s faces to try and stimulate their inner voice to rise and take a stand is NOT a negative deed! When you encourage people to start forming their own opinions about things, and to start digging more into what’s been known as taboo like politics and religion and what not, and to question everything around them, everything that’s been taken for granted as the disciplinary guiding rules, then I tell you, you are doing them a big fucking favour!
“So it’s quite the opposite of what people have perceived it to be. We play extreme shit yea, but we are not negative, each song has a form of solution or – suggestion – if you may, and the message basically is to find that center that makes us all one! It’s the one consciousness that binds us yet we keep denying it.
“We are against everything that is corrupt and authoritative, from any organized institution that is based on the idea of repressing the masses, and choking their freedom of speech, to your very own inner demons. And we are taking this matter very seriously, and we are trying to be a part of the change that the world MUST see eventually in order for this damned race to not only be able to exist, but to live and co-exist as well.
“It has to happen somehow, otherwise we will just keep killing each other until the last man standing looks around as he crawls in an endless ocean of blood, and realizes the atrocities of mankind, and just says “fuck it”, and shoots himself in the fuckin’ head!”
Wow, that is intense! Thanks so much guys, stay safe, hope the fighting and craziness in Syria is brought to a sensible and lasting peace very soon and look forward to seeing you all on tour in the UK sometime very soon!