Like Metal? Move to Bahrain When You Can Fly Without Giving Away Your DNA
Maybe the coolest thing about the Metal! Live in Bahrain Vol. 2 compilation – streaming at Spotify – is that there’s enough talent on the Arabian Gulf island of Bahrain to make two volumes of scorching, original live heavy rock. What’s more, producer and compiler Hani Taqi of Studio 77 Bahrain isn’t just using these compilations as an enticement to get studio work: he captured these bands live onstage. No second takes, no overdubs, just anthemic, eclectic, original raw power, flying without a net in well over an hour’s worth of music. In a world where artists are flying centrifugally away from the center to micro-scenes across the free world, Bahrain is a place we should be paying attention to.
None of the songs by the four bands on this concert compilation follow any predictable verse/chorus scheme. Hellionight’s Extermination Now! makes a great intro. Think vintage Metallica at their most chromatic: ominous verse, sledgehammer chorus. Tantalizing, flaring lead guitar, bubbling bass, machinegunning drums: these guys could hold their own on any stage anywhere.
Ryth’s Auto Autonomous is a psychedelic burn through dry-heaving Pantera riffage, lightning tapping and ominous early 70s clang, with more recent death metal influences. Lunacyst‘s Plague of Tyranny – damn, there’s a theme for 2021! – is thrashier and crunchier: it would be cool to hear the lyrics.
Necrosin are another death metal group, with more of a raw, unprocessed, scorching Marshall amp sound, an anthemic, thrashy sensibility and a sense of humor, which is front and center in their first song, As It Is Above, So It Is Below. Everybody here sings in English.
Each of the four bands here contribute several more songs. Hellionight represent with Souls of Evil, a feast of rapidfire hammerhead riffage; Temple of Madness, a mashup of of classic doom and hardcore; the Motorhead-inspired Temptress Gold; and Witches Sabbat, veering between raw, feedback-drenched Sabbath and tongue-in-cheek bombast.
The rest of the material from Ryth’s set includes Self-Destruct, with its uneasy clang, amusing crunch and long launching pad for a solo; White Portrait, and its dense chords against lightning guitar leads and a gorgeously echoey bridge; and The Rise of Erebus, whose decay from manic bludgeoning to slow, acidic doom is one of the album’s highest points. On the record’s closing and most epic cut, Facade, the group follow a long, slow, menacingly morphing series of changes, a slow gallop to the grave.
Lunacyst’s set also includes Descent Into Dissonance, whose riffs are catchier than you’d think from the title; Vile Obliteration, the missing link between Yob and Pantera; and Butchered Construct, which strobes out in a flash.
Necrosin kept the crowd on their feet with one of the album’s most memorable numbers, the predictably sinister, hammering Under a Violent Moon, as well as the cynical, scorpion-crawling Bow to Me. There is a best albums of 2021 page coming up here next month, assuming that the politicians don’t bow to World Economic Forum pressure and destroy the internet. If this blog is still live, watch for this record there. Bahrainian metal bands: send your stuff here, we need more of it.