Sand Aura - Elegy of the Orient [2nd Review]
Label: Haarbn Productions
Reviewer: Nada K. Ahmed - 2013-01-01
Highlights: Ya Sabyya, Sidi Abd El-Raheem, Aljahelia
From the very roots of the revolutionary Cairo hails the Egyptian Oriental\Progressive Death Metal Sand Aura, representing a new organism in the heavy oriental music mingled with such a unique set of ethnic hues. On their 2012 record Elegy of the Orient, Sand Aura parade the era of Jahiliyaah and the dawn of Islam in 8 tracks embracing the contemporary frontal, and both eastern and western cultural music at the same time.
Formed in 2007 by Shung (Guitars. and Bass) and Hassany (Extreme and backing vocals.), then joined in Bassma Kamel (Female and backing vocals.) and Mustafa Sami (Traditional Arabic vocals.) to complete the current line-up, featuring Haitham Ebbed playing Oud, composing and lyrics-writing 2 significant tracks out the 8 which are Ya Sabyya and Sidi Abd El-Raheem.
The album, as a whole, is a mere step towards “unification” and “global peace” manifested in a musical figure that attempts to deliver the message through a religious and\or ethnic concept. Alike the inflow of other middle-eastern acts that have taken the same path such as Myrath, Acyl and Orpahned Land whose vocalist Kobi Farhi had featured one of Sand Aura’s tracks Fountain of Moses in CENTURY MEDIA: Oriental Metal Compilation along with other big acts like Arkan, Amaseffer and Nile.
Technically speaking, richness, yet simplicity are the basic aspects of the album. Plenty of various instruments like Oud and flute, as well as various vocalling techniques like clean, brutal, and recitation are masterfully inlaid within, benefiting it on account for providing an abstract Prog. Death Metal music merged with classic, or, rather, authentic Oriental tactics.
It’s quite significant how Sami’s voice dominates the course of the album, leaving this immense impact on the ear even after a track ends, not to mention that his voice is much alike Ali El Haggar’s (a famous Egyptian singer) and somehow making it sound more ‘familiar’ and ‘cozy’ to whatever listener. Even better, Hassany’s brutality fulfills the DEATHic side of the album and imprinting a somewhat melancholy along with Basma’s, which, though, comes fragile and only sounding complementary at some parts.
In terms of production, quality stands out to be one of the album’s weakness points, so does the mixing that happens to be a little bit incohesive, pretty much not what to expect from the Indie Russian label Haarbn which’s been dealing with bands such as Narjahanam and many others.
In total, one can count Elegy of the Orient as to be 2012’s satisfying closure and a plea to wait for more middle-eastern newcomers to rise in the horizon of the music scene.