Mentally Murdered – featuring MxCx, Takatak & Irritum

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Time to dust the cobwebs off this rotting city’s heavy music scene. Three acts on the bill, names as follow;

Multinational Corporations – Grindcore/Hardcore Punk. Performing new cuts from upcoming splits as well as crowd favorites from last year’s “Jamat-al-Maut” EP, this grindlashkar is poised for another deadly aural assault on the senses.

Takatak – Instrumental Prog/Groove Metal. Veterans of the Lahore music scene by now, and well renowned for their technical abilities, they are on the cusp of releasing their first EP after a great response to the single “Placental.”

Irritum – Funeral Doom Metal. Masters of the almighty riff, conjuring atmospheres equally haunting and majestic. Hear tracks from their upcoming full-length album while they doom you to eternity.

Live at Opositive studio’s (308 Ravi Road, opposite Badshah Mosque NEXT to the Ufone Franchise)

Call for further details
0345-4064728 (Hassan)
0322-5345356 (Sheraz)

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Irritum Interview

Over the period of the last 4 years, there has been somewhat of a resurgence in Pakistan, or at least a fresh surge of interest, for the art known as Doom Metal. Though early Pakistani Metal stalwarts Dusk had already paved the way for a future interest in Doom with their mournful sounds, it wasn’t until recently that things started to kick up. A few bands mostly centered around Karachi and Lahore emerged – Dionysus, Myosis, later on Khorne, and recently Munkar, helped foster further interest with a series of releases. Made up of Dionysus mainman Sheraz Ahmed and aided by his former guitar students, Irritum emerged as a new Doom force in Lahore and are all set to release their debut album next year after a series of live shows and well-received songs on Bandcamp/Soundcloud. 

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– Hey lads, how’s everything going?

 

Sheraz: Its all good, thank you.

 

 

– Since it’s the first interview of the band, a little background info on Irritum, the inception of the band into the current onset of the debut release.

 

Sheraz: Irritum was formed when Farid and Ahsan got to know about their new found joy for Doom metal and came to me asking to form a band and since my older band Dionysus was on hiatus due to our vocalist moving out of town. I thought what could be a better outlet to fulfil my love for this slow and murky style of art that we call Doom?! We later recruited Ahmed Malik on vocals that had never done growling vocals in his life before Irritum, but he’s the best vocalist I’ve ever worked with.

 

 

– Sheraz you already made waves with your other band Dionysus’ debut EP. What seperates Irritum from Dionysus musically and aesthetically, especially since both fall under the broad category of “Doom”?

 

Sheraz: Dionysus was doom initially but then it started delving into more black/death style while still having the doom moments. Dionysus’ music cannot be categorized under one style, it’s too diverse. While on the other hand Irritum is strictly all about doom. But then again, it’s not just one kinda doom. We’ve songs like Crossing the gates which is a goth/doom song in the vein of bands like Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy, Draconian etc and we’ve songs like Treading the Lands Unknown which are remnants of the early 90s UK death/doom, for me it’s all about atmosphere and the feeling. Most of the doom bands are diverse in songwriting. That’s why it’s the most interesting music ever made!

 

 

 

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– Did either of you imagine having a band together when Sheraz first started giving you guitar lessons?

 

Sheraz: When I started giving guitar lessons to Farid with Ahsan coming by occasionally, I never thought we were going to be recording a whole album together. But it’s funny how things turned out and I am proud of these guys!

 

Ahsan: At first we never did. My man Farid used to take formal lessons from Sheraz I just went along and day by day we picked up bits and pieces of inspiration and understanding of Doom metal from our bro. We started making our own riffs and showing them to Sheraz, then we made some songs together and here we are!

 

 

– The song you guys put on Soundcloud – Crossing the Gates – has 2 guest appearances, from Olga and Rauhan. Are you going to involve other musicians on the album as well?

 

Sheraz: Don’t know about other musicians, but Olga and Rauhan will be appearing on more of our songs in the future.

 

Ahsan: As Sheraz said so I don’t need to repeat the answer but yes featuring both of them was a brilliant decision.

 

 

– How have live shows been for Irritum? Has the Pakistani metal crowd adapted well to the usual crawling pace and horrific atmosphere of Doom?

 

Sheraz: We started playing live earlier this year. We’ve played 4 shows till now and that’s a lot considering the frequency of live metal shows in Pakistan. One of them was in Islamabad at an event called Hellfest (not the French metal festival). lol. All of our shows have been phenomenal, we were able to introduce a lot of people to doom metal and we always include some essential doom classics in our setlist to let the crowd know about our roots. Like we played Saint Vitus’ born too late at our last show and we’ve been playing a lot Katatonia, Saturnus’s covers at our shows alongside the original songs.

 

 

 

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– Speaking of Pakistan, there’s been a sudden interest in Doom in the last few years with bands from Karachi and Lahore starting, as well as veterans Dusk returning to the eve. How would you explain this paradigm shift from the general groove/mallcore tastes to Doom?

 

Sheraz: Dusk has been there since the beginning and I owe them a lot for shaping my thinking for the underground metal and how it’s supposed to be. I think the shift started with the release of Dionysus’ Hymn to the Dying. Dusk was there since the beginning but a lot of new kids in Pakistan didn’t know about them and Dionysus with our live shows were able to re-introduce the pakistani crowd to this art which was long forgotten due to overload of modern metal on the live front. I am happy to help and be part of this new movement of bands in Pakistan trying out different stuff, it’s not just doom. Like we’ve sludge bands like Munkar and death metal bands like KBC and grind stuff like Throttle instinct etc. It’s all good as long as they keep evolving.

 

 

– Sheraz, all your bands have so far achieved physical releases on a variety of formats. This includes Flaw and Ilhaam as well. How do the physical releases fare in general, especially within the context of our region?

 

Sheraz: I think physical releases are really important. Although most of the promotion is done on the online streaming sites but to own the music in substance is the whole another thing. I think we’ve a lot of enthusiasts in this part of the world who still collects CD and hold formats like tapes and vinyls in high value. And you can expect Irritum’s CD release soon! 😉

 

 

– Top 5 Doom albums that have had a profound impact on the band’s sound and style?

 

Candlemass: Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
Asphyx: Last One on earth
Anathema: Crestfallen EP
Katatonia: Dance of December souls
Decomposed: Hope Finally Died

 

– Thanks for your time! Eagerly awaiting the album.

 

Thanks for the support!

 

 

Irritumlineup

Irritum on Facebook

Irritum on Soundcloud

Irritum on Bandcamp

Zia Zaidi Interview

We normally cover far more heavier forms of music than what this Singer/Songwriter from Karachi plays, but good music is good music and I wanted to do an interview with him the second I heard some singles off his debut album. Zia Zaidi, ladies and gents, is a part of Karachi’s “indie” scene, and stands out with his vast assortment of 60s/70s rock influences, reminiscent of Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan. In his debut album, the lad gives his home city of Karachi the sort of melancholic musical treatment it has always warranted – check it out after you’re done reading this interview!

 

 

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– Hey Zia, hope you’re doing well!

Hey Hassan, right back at you!

– Most of our readerbase is metal/punk and you’re from the indie spectrum, so introduce yourself and your album to the unaware among us!

Well my name is Zia, but you already know that. I’m an indie musician based in Karachi, indie in the sense that I self-finance my musical projects and release them myself. I don’t particularly like the “indie” label though, it has started to seem a bit pretentious and it tends to limit what people expect or want from me. My album is basically a few songs I wrote that happened to sound fairly similar and created a reasonably coherent musical narrative. I have no other songs like this, the rest of my songs are quite different, as I have a chronic inability to write within a single genre. The album was delayed several times as I tried to work out a grouping of my songs that wouldn’t be too diverse, that would compliment each other but I was eventually able to compile the songs that eventually ended up on my album and record them.

– Can you tell us a bit about the recording process of your album? I understand Ali Suhail helped you out, a prominent member of the Karachi indie scene as well.

The recording process basically involved me, a laptop, an audio interface and my instruments all shut up in a room for a few hours every day. Well, maybe not everyday. I procrastinated a lot. I would basically start with the drum track which I would program using Superior Drummer (I couldn’t afford a live drum recording) after which I would record the instruments (bass, guitar etc) and finally the vocals. Ali basically mixed and mastered the songs, but he also helped me out by programming a string section I composed for my song “Marble and Bone”, composing and programming percussions on “I’m Just Glad” and playing the guitar solo on “They Got Pills”, as well as ambient guitar on By Their Bones. My friend Maaz Muhammad also helped out a lot, he played the guitar solos on Convict Wayne, Be As Us and What’s That, as well as additional lead guitar on They Got Pills and some additional guitar on By Their Bones. Halfway through recording the album my laptop broke, so that delayed the album a lot. I finished it eventually, though many months later than id initially intended.

– Lyrically and thematically, your debut opus comes off as a celebration of Karachi – with a very tragic and melancholic undercurrent. Would that be a correct assessment?

You are absolutely right! I’m glad I was able to convey that through my songs. Karachi is very much the foggy pearl of the “Land of the Pure”, and one can’t help but love her, stubborn little bitch that she is, despite all her flaws.

– What I liked about the lyrics is that they were very poetic, and the performance in the songs was very Bob Dylan-esque… I don’t think I’ve heard any South Asian artist with that approach to their music, not even in the Karachi indie scene. What drove you to make the kind of music you did?

There was just so much amazing music in the 60s and 70s man! The Beatles, Dylan, the Stones, etc. and these guys accomplished so much with their music. I mean they brought about a proper social movement, they had an impact on society and that’s very cool. I guess I channelled Dylan in “The Streets” and it was sort of natural because his style and voice are very nostalgic and The Streets is a very nostalgic song. Apart from that I can’t really say where I’ve been influenced by whom, I don’t really think about it while I compose or write it just happens.

– How has the mainstream press responded to it in Pakistan? Does the mainstream press even know of the thriving Karachi music scene?

Well Ahmer Naqvi (known on the twitterverse as @karachikhatmal) wrote an article about me in Dawn, and I was invited to do a session with City FM89 so I guess, considering that I am a complete and utter noob with 0 press or marketing, the response has been pretty great. On both these occasions I was approached by the concerned parties, I didn’t have to bust my ass trying to get anyone to notice me. I guess, in the grand scheme of things, an article and a radio session is, perhaps, not all that much but what I’m trying to say is that it was really encouraging to have gotten a response like this from mainstreamers, especially considering the fact that I’m a complete unknown. As far as covering the indie scene goes, pretty much every other musician I know or am involved with, Ali Suhail, Shajie, my band E Sharp, Lower Sindh! Swing Orchestra, all of these guys have gotten some sort of press so it’s not like we are completely ignored. I have more of a problem with our audience. I mean if some guy in the US released an album with no marketing or anything, an article in a national newspaper would have been crazy. That being said, there would have been a lot more people willing to buy his music, attend his gigs and otherwise support his music career financially. So basically I don’t have a problem with the mainstream press, were getting newspaper space and radio slots, TV can’t be all that far behind, what we’re really worried about is the fact that we get a few people willing to listen to our songs with each article/interview but we don’t get proper fans that would buy merch or attend gigs. That’s the real problem we face.

– Tell us a bit about Karachi’s music scene in general. There are a lot of good artists out there it seems, and it causes quite a bit of jealousy up north here in Lahore at times! Haha.

Dude I have the feeling that Karachi has more musical talent than anywhere else in the world. We have a genius around every corner. Such good music man! Mole is (was?) a world class band. Lower Sindh! Swing Orchestra has to be one of the finest bands Pakistan has produced, and they’re well on their way to succeeding Mole as the spearheads of art rock in Karachi. My band, E Sharp, was well established when I joined earlier this year, and they brought me in on a grand concept album that they have been working on. We have a thriving EDM scene via “Forever South”, I mean we work our asses off for peanuts (if we’re lucky) and we do it again and again because we are of Karachi, and so we are by default stubborn little pricks. And the acts I mentioned barely scratch the surface of the endless smorgasbord of music that is Karachi! That being said, gigs are close to impossible to pull off here, the people are indifferent at best, hostile at worst, and to earn money we either have to whore ourselves or, well, there’s no other options really just varying degrees of whoring, but these are problems every musician in Pakistan faces haha. And I guess we have a lot of music here, but Punjabs metal scene is crazy and Lahore specifically has the crown jewel of indepependent Pakistani music: Poor Rich Boy!

– Do you see the scene going anywhere in the next 5 years?

There is just so much music being made and so much momentum building up from all of this music the dam will break eventually. I think the scene kind of got kickstarted back in late 2011 with both poor rich boy and lussun tv entering the game, and since then every subsequent year has been better than the last. So, I don’t know what you mean anywhere, but I think in the next 5 years we are going to see bigger and better gigs, more and better music, I’m hoping by that time that all of us can quit our jobs and start working on music full time but that’s more of a pipe dream than anything else.

– What’s next for your solo act?

I have a second album ready to record, it’s a lot weirder, dark acoustic finger picking Prog rock, or maybe not Prog rock but you get the idea, but I’m not going to start working on that for a while. Like I mentioned before, I’m part of a band called E Sharp (I’m the bassist) and were working on a concept double album of 20 songs. It’s a pretty grand concept, we want  to do a lot of things with it so it’s taking up all of my time at the moment. I’m going to try to release my second album by mid 2015, and a third album by early 2016.

– Thanks for your time bro! Stay safe.

Thanks man, you too.

 

Zia Zaidi on Twitter

Zia Zaidi on Facebook

Listen to his album on Soundcloud

Listen to his album on Bandcamp

Karachi Butcher Clan Interview

Karachi Butcher Clan are an act that’s been around for a while, with the members being around in the scene for even longer. Their history stretches back to the initial era of Pakistani metal, with frontman Kamran aka Coffin Feeder being one of the legendary vocalists of the late 90’s / early 2000’s. Despite a long dormant period, KBC are back in action and are ready to decimate all those who oppose their brand of crushing, groove laden and ultimately catchy death metal. I managed to get some of Kamran’s free time to chat with him about the band, the old scene, and the future of Pakistani metal.

 

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– Hey there Kamran, how’s the preperations for the upcoming gig?

 

Don’t ask man, I’m stuck here while the band jams in Karachi, I went there for a few days and we managed to pull off a jam session in utter heat, planning to jam one more time before we hit the stage on the 21st.

 

 

 

– I remember first coming across KBC back in 2006 on an Orkut page and was pretty intrigued with the group. Can you tell us the history of the band and its story til now?

 

Hahaha Orkut man, good old days. Well to cut the long ass story short, I met Leslie through a mutual friend and a guitar player Estes, Les had seen me in my former projects and had been jamming with Kamran Rasheed, our drummer. We started hanging, drinking, smoking and jamming. To my surprise, Les was a brutal shred player with monster riffage and without any force or push, the Karachi Butcher Clan was formed.

Did the first gig after an air jam (no instruments) and it came out to be a blast, we kept going on, through many phases in life, marriages, kids, divorces, more marriages, more kids etc. But it kept growing within us..

Initially we had no studio and then came our salvation as Marnald Jacob (Mickey Jay) Les’s cousin and a good friend also the manager of the band. With his extreme help les set up a studio named Ground Sound and we got all those thoughts over the decade into shape by recording our originals, something we always craved for.

 

 

 

– Despite being around for a long time, you guys have only put out 2 originals. Any reason behind the relative inactivity? Can we expect a definite release in the future?

 

Yeah as I said, we didn’t have a studio and our sound and the music we do, we couldn’t take it to any tom dick or harry to make a fake attempt at the thing we hold religious, and yeah now the things are all set to our needs, we can release a track every week but we’re keeping it low for now, our third release is HEAD HUNTER’S GLORY, due to be released right after Hellfest. We might be doing a pre-release kinda thing playing the track in a radio show ONCE 😉

 

 

 

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– You’re also a veteran in the Karachi metal scene, having been a part of now-legendary bands such as Hell Dormant and Autopsy Gothic. Can you talk a bit about both those bands? Any chance of reuniting either band?

 

Aaah, Autopsy Gothic was my first love when it comes to my own music, but no chance we’re getting it back since doing it with the original members seems vague. Hell Dormant was me and Wasi Raza forcing our overflowing wicked thoughts into a Pentium 2 (RIP) recorded the whole album in 2 days and I mentioned this somewhere before – I remember the take was on record and Wasi was sleeping with the guitar plugged and so was i, hahaha good old days those were man. the world was very real back then.

If Wasi comes back, we can do a track or two for sure…

 

 

 

– What do you think about Dusk? You’ve been involved in the band as a drummer too, if I recall correctly.

 

One of the first outfits I heard here before Autopsy Gothic was DUSK and SHEMHAMFORASH. Babar Sheikh (GOAT) has always been a friend and an inspiration, his metal has brought good name to Pakistan and yeah me and Aman Durrani recorded an album with him and a track with my drums and backing vocals was in one of his latest releases DEAD HEART DAWNING…

 

 

 

– Being a part of local metal scene since 90’s, how do you think it has grown since then? Do you think the scene and the fans have improved or has it become shittier?

Hahaha both man. Nu Metal has fucked up things a lot here, kids don’t know playing Cannibal Corpse and Limpbiz-DICK on a same player is sin. It has definitely grown over the years but then again, metal is something you can’t force on someone, it just lies inside one’s soul, and seeing all the overall acts in action, I say it’s definitely on the right track…

 

 

 

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– How did you get into metal back in those days? Was it difficult without the internet, and without metal magazines and stuff?

 

My school buddy, a friend and my band mate Aneeq got me into metal, he used to see me growl and scream for nothing back then and he once gave me a metallic tape, and then onwards life has been VERY different.

And hell yeah man, TDK tapes, old magazines, 8 month old issues of Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and 2-3 music stores were all we have besides some of the buds that we made through metal – Salman Mumtaz, Nabeel, Babar – i copied a lot of metal from their hard drives to mine and damn those days man, it was a religion that we followed very honestly.

I remember hitting a net cafe to see the world is and got out with print outs of Cannibal Corpse and Death’s lyrics to all the tracks we loved but hardly understood. Internet has made it really easy for anyone to do anything.. then again its good as well as bad.

 

 

 

– Tell us about your previous experiences playing at Hellfest. Are you looking forward to the next edition?

 

Man we were super excited to play here in Hell Fest-1, immediately after that we had a hangout session with Inferner boys – Atrium Animus back then and we made good friends with them. I think it’s a great platform and KBC will always be a major support…

 

 

 

– Do you feel Hellfest improves the scene?

 

It surely does, if proper coverage is done in the magazines and news and over the internet, it clearly shows that the metal scene still lives amidst all the crap that the new world and media has to offer.

 

 

 

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– What’s in the future plans for KBC?

 

Hmmm, we’ll be releasing the third track soon and then the debut album by December this year probably, we are in touch with some labels that showed interest n our music and I’m quiet hopeful this year will mark the debut album for Karachi Butcher Clan.

 

 

 

– Thanks for your time. Any last words?

 

Hahaha i don’t see a gun on my face but yea my last words would be – BE YOURSELF, as a nation, we are extremely fucked, we lack the emotion to co-exist and i think this is the one thing that is taking us down as a country, learn to co-exist , support and like each other, the world out there is waiting to crush us under their boots, if anything can save us from vanishing from the face of earth – it surely is coexistence, genuinety and honesty to any profession.

For younger musicians, I’d strongly suggest, there a time for listening music first, don’t rush to be on stage, i have seen kids making a joke outta themselves on stage and this can be handled when you practice to the max, be on stage after 4 years or maybe 10, but once you are on, do it with your heart, not fingers, limbs or throats.

Horns up to you guys for this interview, to everyone doing metal in this age in Pakistan, to the Hellfest management and every single one supporting metal.

KEEP FUCKING SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL UNDERGROUND.

Cheers and Respect. \,,/

 

 

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Karachi Butcher Clan on Facebook

“Wasted Years” – Karachi Metal Scene 96-03 pics

I found these pictures on Facebook and I decided to post them on my webzine. I feel it’s important to preserve the heritage and history of Pakistan’s Metal scene, and expose them to people who may not have been a part of that specific era. I got into metal in 2006, and all of this happened before even I was a part of the local scene in my own city of Lahore. A lot of classic and cult Karachi acts are featured in this set of pictures – it’s definitely interesting to note how the crowds were back then and their sense of rock/metal fashion back then. All picture credits go to Hasan Shirazi.

 

 

Autopsy Gothic 2003

Legendary Karachi Death Metal crew “Autopsy Gothic” slaying the audience in 2003. Random gig, couldn’t get the name of the fest. Vocalist Kamran Farooque also was with Hell Dormant for a while but now roars his ferocious growls for Karachi Butcher Clan.

 

 

Fawad Balouch Gig PACC 1996

Fans headbanging at a gig in 1996. 1996! This is from a gig of Fawad Balouch, who had a now-cult band called Kainath/Kosmos. According to some fans, he put out a demo tape in 96/97 and was very Morbid Angel inspired, and also had a cover of Helter Skelter. He was known for his crazy shredding and for being completely innebriated on stage.

 

 

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The crowd at Karachi’s Rockfest 2001. This used to be a major yearly event in Karachi back in those days and usually drew a large crowd – as you can see. Metal bands took center-stage with rock bands during those days.

 

 

RockFest2001-2 Autopsy Gothic

The Autopsy Gothic crew posing for a picture with some fans, at Rockfest 2001.

 

 

Rockfest2001-3 Autopsy Gothic

Another picture of Autopsy Gothic at Rockfest 2001. You can see Aneeq Zaman (currently of grindcore/hardcore band Throttle Instinct) there with the same hairstyle and look that he has in 2014. Haha. Aneeq also does artwork for local bands Multinational Corporations (Grindcore), Irritum (Funeral Doom) as well as design posters for the Hellfest event in Islamabad.

 

 

Rockfest2001-4 Seth

A decade ago, in Lahore, there was ONE band that had the notoriety and badass image that no other band could cultivate at that time. That band was Seth. Here’s a picture of Seth’s guitarist tuning his guitar at Rockfest 2001 in Karachi.

 

 

Rockfest2001-5 Babar Sheikh

This man is credited to have laid the foundations for every metal band in Pakistan back in the early 90s. Dusk’s Babar Sheikh has a smoke on stage during Karachi Rockfest 2001. I’m not sure, but his band Northern Alliance was probably playing at this event. From making horrific yet progressive doom/death metal to making barbaric and bludgeoning black/thrash, Babar has always made killer music through the decades.

 

 

Rockfest2001-6

Random shot of some random band playing at Rockfest 2001. Couldn’t get their name, but you can see the crowd’s enjoying themselves. You actually can’t get this sort of packed audience anymore in local gigs. Must have been good times for live music.

 

 

Zakfest 2003-1

Babar Sheikh of Northern Alliance/Dusk with some other people at Zakfest 2003. Zakfest was one of the other big festivals in Karachi during those days.

 

 

Zakfest 2003-2

Another killer shot of the crowd from Rockfest 2001.

 

 

Zakfest 2003-3 Ash

Ash were one of the premier hard rock/grunge bands in Karachi during the early 2000s. This is a fucking legendary picture in my opinion, of them playing at the classic Zakfest in 2003. Look at the fan crowd surfing. You don’t see that anymore at local gigs in Pakistan!

 

 

Zakfest 2003-4

A shot of Zakfest 2003. Autopsy Gothic were ravaging the stage. I have no idea what’s going on there but I want to get up on stage and stagedive ASAP!

 

 

Zakfest 2003-5

Another “I dont know what the hell is going on” picture, but it’s awesome as fuck! 2003, Zakfest. Autopsy Gothic

 

 

 

Hope this sent some of you guys to a nostalgia trip. I’ll be doing another feature on classic pictures of the Lahore metal scene too. If anyone has any pics they’d like to submit, send ’em over.

– Dozakhi

Blackhour Interview

 Blackhour are one of the few Pakistani metal bands to have broken out of the local scene’s limitations and instead promoted their music to metalheads worldwide. Their debut album “Age of War” was recieved to a host of great reviews and they’ve continued to hone their craft since then, playing gigs and accumulating a rabid loyal fanbase in their hometown of Islamabad/Rawalpindi. This is the first time I’m interviewing them, as a part of a short series on Paki Metal. Check out my conversation with band founder Hashim below.

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– Hey there lads. How’s everything going?
As our manager would say, “not as much and much as all”.

 

 

 

– Can you tell us a bit about the history of the band – its formation, any lineup changes, key moments?
The band was started in 2007 by me (Hashim Mehmood). Started of like any other college band, loads of line-up changes. We literally had 4 to 5 different vocalist before TayyabRehman joined in. A few more members left and a few joined and in the end only the serious people remained in the band and the current line-up has stayed this way since the debut album in 2011. Although we now have a Co-manager, Chaudhry Ali Hassan alongside our main manager, Hassaan Ahmed.

 

 

 

– You put out “Age of War” on a now-defunct label a few years ago. From what I understand, the distribution was not good and the CD’s themselves were mostly defected – despite that, the album got a great following through your own promotional efforts and live shows. How do you feel about the whole thing now that some time has passed since?
Well, “Age of War” album really went out viral despite all the label and CD drama. The album put up a great name for Blackhour not just in the local markets but since it was released internationally also, it gave us a big boost and surely made a name out there. One thing good about our previous label was that it gave us the push we needed to get things rolling, we completed the album very quickly and we got out in the market. We experimented a lot with our sound and to a point that now we know what the BLACKHOUR sound is.
The road since then till now has been amazing and things are moving in the right direction for Blackhour. In a way it was not too bad working with a label/distributor, after all we were one of the  few heavy metal bands to come out with an album, which is pretty amazing.

 

 

 

Blackhour_-_Age_of_War

 

 
– A key thing about Black Hour is the power of the vocals and how they compliment the music without taking over the reins completely. Clean vocals as well isn’t something you see often in local Pakistani Metal bands. What motivated you guys to give more emphasis to more traditional metal/rock elements rather than the extreme edge of things?
I personally am a song person, so I kinda listen a lot to what the singer has to say and I find it easier to understand when he isn’t screaming all the time. Hahaha
If you think about it in a way, clean vocals mixed with those metal/rock elements is the Blackhour sound.

 

 

 

– You guys tread a fine line between hard rock and heavy metal, is the future stuff gonna be more rock-ish or more metal?
The future sound will definitely by more heavy metal but we still want to experiment with some rock side of music also. What may be heavy for someone else might be soft rock for the other. Even if our songs do get translated into other genre’s, they will still remain true to the Blackhour sound.
 
– Black Hour is playing at Hellfest. What do you feel about the festival and its organizers, considering you’ve played at it before too? Are you playing any new tracks this time around?
The organizers are awesome people and mostly they are all very good friends. They know how to pull off a great show, they have been doing an amazing job since the last two festivals and the third one is going to be kickass!
Blackhour will definitely be playing new tracks again and I think we always end up playing a few new tracks with some old classics because I believe it keeps things fresh, see you don’t want to be a cabaret band or a circus band playing the same old tracks again and again. But yeah do not mistake the band for an MP3 player, there’s only so little we can memorize at one time. Hahaha

 

 

 

blaclive

 

 

– How does Hellfest help the local Pakistani scene?
It’s the biggest metal festival of Pakistan. My message to all the young upcoming metal bands, If you’re a metal act then come down to Hellfest and be a part of the biggest metal concert of Pakistan. Because Hellfest gives u the opportunity and the stage you deserve \m/

 

 
– What Pakistani bands would you recommend to a foreign reader?
All good metal bands that are active in making new music, playing live and whatnot.
Well, to sound selfish I’d say people should check out Blackhour, just kidding … but really if people are to explore Pakistani metal bands, I can’t start naming all the bands because the list would go on and on. But still to any foreign reader they should check out the data base at Iron Markhor because every metal band has their unique taste to offer and they all are the reason why Pakistan’s metal scene is what it is today!

 

 

 

– 3 albums that changed your approach to music?
For me it’s, “Dance of Death” by Iron Maiden. For Tayyab its, “The sound of perserverance” by Death, for Salman its “Volume 3” by Slipknot and for Mashoo it is “Reload” and “Black” by Metallica.

 

 

 

– Thanks so much for your time. Hope to see you at Hellfest!
Thank you so much for interviewing Blackhour and see you at Hellfest 2014!

 

 

 

 

blacklineup

 

 

 

 

Blackhour Facebook

Blackhour Soundcloud

Multinational Corporations – Jamat-al-Maut (2014)

mxcx art

 

 

South Asia has a surprisingly small punk scene, considering the social and political condition of the countries in this side of the world. Multinational Corporations – a duo comprised of Hassan and Sheraz, who also happen to be members of several metal bands in Pakistan – are among the handful of grindcore bands in South Asia who understand the roots and the original intention of this genre of music.

 
On their debut EP, Jamat-al-Maut, MxCx play the most unadulterated form of grindcore, drenched with undeniable crust punk riffs along with deathgrind tendencies, akin to Terrorizer. Even though grindcore is known for its spontaneous style of songwriting, with bands mostly being content with rather mindless, simplistic style of playing as long as it serves the purpose, this is not the case here. The songs are espcially crafted to be catchy and memorable which makes Jamat-al-Maut less isotropic than From Enslavement to Obliteration. Musically, this is very competent crust punk/grindcore, however, the duo never intended Multinational Corporations to merely be a “grindcore band that plays brutal and catchy riffs”. The theme and content here are of utmost importance, as with any punk release. The lyrical content of the songs deal with several social and political issues plaguing the country including but not limited to the acts committed by taliban, the endless race for more money, naivity and hypocrisy of so called upper class “communists” and general hatred and misanthropy. The aforementioned is vocalized in a growled fashion, very similar to that of Assuck and Brutal Truth.

 
Unfortunately, Jamat-al-Maut is only 13 minutes long, which is short even for a crust/grind release. This is not a complaint, however, since even in the short span of 14 minutes, the EP is very satisfying, especially with the closing track which is similar to some of the darker neocrust/hardcore songs from the 90s. A very competent and enjoyable release which any fan of the genre will enjoy.

 

 

mxcx lineup

 

 

Multinational Corporations on Facebook

Multinational Corporations on Bandcamp

 

 

 

– Rohit Chaoji