Al-Namrood – Wala’at
Release Date: 22/06/2020
Running Time: 36:27
Review by Beth Jones
Good evening earthlings, it is I, Beth of the Words, come to interrupt your evening with my musings again! Today has been a serious kind of day. The sort that makes you question your species, and not come up with any answer of satisfaction. Fitting really, for the album that I’m about to review. A serious mood calls for some serious subject matter.
Tonight’s tunes are being brought to me by a band that have astounded me for many reasons. Firstly, it’s black metal that I actually quite like. Secondly, for the genre, it’s pretty exploratory, and has some interesting use of instruments that you wouldn’t usually expect. But thirdly, and most importantly, it’s an album that, if the laws of this band’s origins were able to find the source, would see its makers being tried and sentenced to death.
Under Saudi Islamic law, this sort of music is strictly prohibited. Seen, as the work of the devil against the powers of righteousness, purveyors of metal are outcasts at best, which makes the fact that this is Al-Namrood’s 8th full length release all the more astonishing.
The album is recorded in lo-fi, but given the circumstances, that’s understandable. The band, who remain anonymous and have never performed live in order to protect their identity, are doing this under the cloak of darkness, with minimal equipment, in unsuitable spaces that would not be found or investigated. If they were found, that would be the end, no matter how much pleading forgiveness they did. There are no words to describe the sheer admiration that you have to have for that. How many musicians are prepared to say they would die for their art, and actually mean it?
Wala’at is an intense soundscape, full of middle eastern themes and ethnic instruments. This is both very interesting musically, and also mildly disturbing, as its discordant nature adds something eerie to the overbearing emotion that this album inspires… Fear. It feels out of control, like it could all collapse at any moment. The pace of the drums, the insane tortured vocals, and the repetitive melody motifs conjure up an image of the woeful madness of the oppressed. It’s both painful and beautiful to listen to, all at the same time. I have heard many a black metal band from leafy middle England try to create the same atmosphere that Al-Namrood do with this release, but somehow it just doesn’t have the same effect when you know they can go home and cuddle up under their snoopy blanket with a cup of cocoa that their mum made for them.
This release is raw, passionate, real, tortured and indescribably brave. I don’t usually dig black metal, but I salute these guys for believing in their art so passionately that they are fully prepared to die for it. And I have nothing more to say than that. If you’re feeling emotional, it’s probably best left until you’re feeling more balanced, to be able to fully appreciate what this band have achieved, and the lengths to which they have gone to achieve it. But if you like raw black metal, dive right into this, you’re going to love it.
1. Al Hirah
2. Sahra Yaesa
4. Kail Be Mekialain
5. Al Shareef Al Muhan
7. Aar Al Estibad
9. Wahum Alhaat
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