Blaakyum - Lord of the Night
Reviewer: Mujtaba M Badr - 2012-09-05
Highlights: Lord of the Night, The Land
2011, with all its flows and low moments, was a great year in the history of the Middle Eastern metal, more and more releases, more and more gigs and European tours for some of the major bands in our scene. And because of that, 2012 must be better, be more promising, and what's more promising than the return of an old band who's been in the scene for more than 15 years , and their first and only official release was their 1998 highly acclaimed single “Am I Black”? Yes people! Blaakyum had finally made it, and released the god-damn album we always wanted to hear. Most of you will say:“was it worth the wait?”, well, I guess yes it dose!
“Lord of the Night”, was intended to be a concept double album called respectively "The Gate" and "The Land", but ended as a standard album with few aspects of the concept still remaining here and there, but that doesn't change the album's great atmosphere. More than 70 minutes of METAL, ranging from very classic old school Metal, going over Power/Thrash, adding Middle Eastern treats here and there, and giving us some Classical music to expand the image even more, all given and delivered to the fans ears with great musicianship and professionalism.
The album kick off in a Blind Guardian style, musically and thematically, a Classical music opening track, followed with the title track “Lord of the Night”, a song inspired from the lands of J.R.R. Tolkien' s Middle Earth, a song fueled with powerful performance by Deaibess and Co, that makes you get into the album from minute 1, and makes you feel that you need to stay away from the rest of the world for the next 70 minutes and enjoy the ride.
After that the songs progress towards a heavier sound and more Thrash incorporated into the music with “Last Stand” and “Cease Fire”, the lyrics fueled with anger just complete the picture, with Elias Njeim's great solo and Bassem Deaibess' performance that remind me of the late Gus Chambers from Grip Inc.
“Am I Black” re-recording doesn’t add that much into the original version, if not saying the original is even better, since it got the classic status among the fans. So you can skip it without missing anything, and get into “Journey to Eternity” and “Battle Roar”, two songs that remained from the early concept, a return to Thrash Metal, with many of the old Metallica and Testament in the air. Thumbs up to Rany Battikh and Jad Feitrouni for their phenomenal performance here and the band's chemistry, in general.
One of the best tracks on the album, “The Land” is an ode to Lebanon, land of peace and love. Yes indeed, the song is just as beautiful as Beirut could be in a summer's night. The amazing oriental intro, continues into a rock ballad, and gets heavier towards the end with another brilliant solo by Bassem Deaibess this time, just amazing, without forgetting the surprising Lebanese folk outro
“Awakened Dreams” continues in the lighter mood, a song about love between Sir Black and his Queen, that remains as part of the concept album, followed by the epic 10 minutes songs “March of the Eastern Man”, and the title says it all, a song about the Eastern man's journey, musically the song sounds like an Oriental version of Iron Maidens classic “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, lots of oriental music here and there, and another great bass line by Rany Battikh.
Testament in a slow pace, that’s how “Rip it Off” sounds, and Deaibess harsh vocals make you feel like Chuck Billy is here, a great “F**K YOU” style song, followed with a Scoprion-ish ballad song “Living Forever”
The album is now finished! you can turn off your player, and that’s it, Blaakyum had delivered their goods and it was quite great journey, but Bassem Deaibess had another opinion and added a Classical instrumental song. Now, without judgment of the technicality and its musical worth, the song just doesn't belong there, it may belong to the intended double album, but not in this album, its long and doesn't have any continuity with the album bulk body, nevertheless, it’s a nice try and may be looked upon as a bonus track for the listeners to enrich their ears.
The album production is a bit old school, to match the band live sound as much as possible, and to emphasize the fact that this album chronicles the story of Blaakyum over the past 14 years, it’s a compilation of an era in the history of this band.
The key mark in this album is defiantly Bassem Deaibess, the master mind behind Blaakyum and the sole consistent member, his vocals are strong as hell, as if they had never changed since Am I Black single, on the contrary, they have become more powerful, and most importantly, he utilize his vocal ranges as he never done with any of his previous releases with “The Hourglass” or “Blaakyum” before. Another great thing were Elias Njeim's leads, they were amazing every time he started the solo.
Personally, I have always loved Lebanon, for its culture, nature, and non-metal music, such as the Rahbani Brothers, Fairouz and her son Ziad, now with metal, my love continues and got its way paved with each release I hear from a Lebanese band. “Lord of the Night” was the pen that connected the dots for me and made me reach this conclusion.
Finally, may be “Lord of the Night” in its small details is not an original album, the elements of each song apart had been heard before by the big names, but put the album all together, as a one piece of art, and you will get one of the best Heavy Metal albums that had been released in the time line of Middle Eastern metal development, it’s an album you must get if you are Middle Eastern metal enthusiast, and/or fan of good oldschool Heavy/Thrash Metal