Lelahell - Al Insane... The (Re) Birth of Abderrahmane
Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Reviewer: Rak Hiasat - 2014-08-27
LELAHELL is an Extreme Metal band founded in 2010 by Redouane 'Lelahel' Aouameur, the frontman of LITHAM, the legendary band from Algeria. The band's latest release "Al Insane... The (Re)Birth of Abderrahmane" is one of those albums that cannot go unnoticed. The music of DEATH, CANNIBAL CORPSE and NILE has obviously had a huge influence on these guys' musical direction, yet they managed to somehow create a sound that belongs to them alone. If for one second you are hoping to get any blasts in any way brutal, you had better to think again. The aura covering the album shows exactly how it will sound: very gentle, yet hasty; chaotic, yet impressive. Many bands entered the musical stage with albums like this one, which is a work of art, just an amazing example of North African passion.
Going into the album, it starts with an amazing into called "Mazaghran", followed by "Al Intissar" the second track on this outfit... What can you really say about this? It's really fast, it's really intense, the vocals are deep roars, the guitars chug at an inhumanly fast pace, and the drums are absurdly fast and technical. There, that's all that I can say, what more do you want me to do? I mean, there is a pretty cool riff in the chorus of course, and songs like "Voices Revealed" or "Kalimet Essir", but that's one of these memorable moments that I'm sure that will make fans of NILE all over the region flock to LELAHELL, because it's the same basic idea. Hyperfast brutality with really original ideas.
The opening of the track "Hypnose" is probably the most exciting, epic (and longest) on the album. A really grabbing intro comes with very sudden drums interjections. The song fits the music and the atmosphere very well, but it is the most of the time incoherent until you go deep with the band style. I’m not really fazed by this as the musicianship works well enough. There’s a great middle section that has this really progressive time signature that doesn’t go on a tangent. The guitars at the end of this song and on the next instrumental track "Imzad" have to be heard too, just too unique to be unmentioned here.
It is not often that the efforts of a band from such a low-key country (on the Metal field) as Algeria are noted. LELAHELL comes from this small country, which is probably why they are not as well-known as they should be. The quality of this album makes me pleased that I waited so long to find a new work from Redouane 'Lelahel' Aouameur after hearing LITHAM, one of the first ever Metal bands in the so-called broader Middle East, specially now with bassist Nihil on the band. Although this album is consistent and good on its entirety, I feel that there are some notable tracks worth being remarked, like "Am I in Hell?", "Hillal", "Black Hands" and "Mizmar". I have been searching for great Progressive/Technical Death Metal bands for quite some time. THE FACELESS sparked my interest in Tech-Death Metal a few years ago with the album "Planetary Duality", which I still consider as one of the best albums of the genre. But LELAHELL have certainly outdone that band with this one. What isn't there to love here? It's brutal, technical, and has lots of groove elements too.
The mixing here is absolutely phenomenal, allowing each instrument to be heard clearly. All the instruments sound good (no, no drummers beating empty paint cans here), and the sound is clear enough to be enjoyable without losing any brutality. What I love the most is how well you can hear the bass, especially since the bassist is amazing. Overall, the album has a very brutal and technical sound, while also being very Progressive. Ultra fast playing, with slower parts that have a Jazzy feel. There is not a single boring moment to be found here, except the minutes of silence on the last song.
The drummer does an excellent job on this album. He keeps everything tight, while displaying crazy speed and incorporating some unique fills. Surprisingly, there are few blast beats to be found, partly due to his Jazzy playing. When he does it, he keeps it tight and fast, but somehow manages to make the blast sound more brutal than other drummers.
As for the bass and guitars, a similarly excellent performance is made. The bass is very audible, and it kicks ass. Whether he's following the guitar, or doing his own thing, the bassist keeps things very interesting. Similarly to the drummer, the bassist has a kind of Jazzy style. During the slow parts, he really shines through with some great fills. The guitar player makes sure this album doesn't come off as too Jazzy by keeping things brutal with super technical riffs. The guitar work here is very interesting, and sometimes sounds a bit on the experimental side, which is super cool. Both strings players bring a lot to the table.
The vocal performance here is perhaps the most interesting and enjoyable. There is much going on but deep growls, they are executed well and fit the music. The vocalist knows when to growl and when to shut up, unlike some other vocalists out there. If you want variety in the vocals you won't be pleased, but I think the vocals fit well and do what they need to bring it together.
Give this album a listen, and you probably won't regret it. If nothing else, you can enjoy some of the most interesting Technical Death Metal out there. And one of the best albums from the broader Middle East of this year.