Review : AL-NAMROOD – "Estorat Taghoot”

Al-NamroodEstorat Taghoot
Release: 2010May18 (US)
Label: Shaytan Productions
Rating: 5/5

In the deserts of Saudi Arabia, where ignorance reigns and religious doctrine is literally law, media is off the radar. Metal has fortunately circumvented the obstacles to plant a desire for passionate, meaningful music. From these seeds sprang a few amazing individuals who have thankfully managed to penetrate their surrounding desolate landscape, to propagate a groundswell that is forming a fertile crescent for the 21st century.

Inspired by older Darkthrone and Bathory, one man known as Mephisto set out on a journey to find like-minded individuals in Saudi Arabia. His tenacity paid off when he formed Mephisophilus in 2007, but attention is now focused toward Al-Namrood, whose new line-up consists of Mudamer (from the one-man-band, Thamud) on vocals, Mephisto on guitar/bass/percussion and Ostron on keyboards/percussion. Their name is derived from the historical autocratic figure, King Nimrod, and roughly translates into “the non-believer”.

The trio’s blackened beauty arrives not through classical Western execution—that is where the uniqueness and innovation of this band comes into play. Where a symphonic black metal band from Europe might use violins and violas, Al-Namrood employs the oud and the tabla; melding the traditional with the Western so well that sometimes I have trouble distinguishing which style inspired which. The vocals are consistently raw and ferocious with no harmonious accompaniments, and most amazingly, the bass is prevalent in nearly every song. All lyrics are in Arabic, with the theme based on ancient Babylon. The main focus is Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned the Neo-Babylonian Empire c. 605 BC – 562 BC. The storyline also includes events of bloodshed that involved the ancient Arabs at that time.

Estorat Taghoot follows an interesting progression with three instrumentals at both ends and center, each setting the mood and style for the songs they frame. “Arousal At Nebuchadnezzar Fortress” opens the dark and ancient-sounding atmosphere with no guitars or Western drums—only keyboards, oud and tabla are present. The songs move into more brutal and fast-paced progressions using purely Western instruments to play out the Middle Eastern melodies. By the fifth track, “Endma Tuqsaf Al Ru’os” (trans: “When the Heads are Minced”), their only native elements present are the keyboards and the short solo, plus a backseat oud later in the song.

That sets the mood up perfectly for the second instrumental, “Ma’dabt Al Audhama” (trans: “The Magnificence’s Feast”), whose end heralds the crazy guitar solos found in all songs following. Once we get to “Wata’a Bakhtanasar” (trans: “Nebuchadnezzar March”), we are immersed in familiar doomy and dark black metal territory, with a more authentic sound than Nile, reminiscent of older Melechesh. The album’s closing instrumental, “Ajal Babel” (trans: “Demise of Babylon”) perfectly packages the pure evil that emanates from the latter portion of Estorat Taghoot. A bargain at any price, you would be wise to seek the savagery of Al-Namrood.

Try: all tracks, in order.

1. Arousal At Nebuchadnezzar Fortress
2. Junood Al Amjaad (Glories Warriors)
3. Estorat Taghoot (A Legend of Tyranny)
4. Ma Kan Mn AlDahr Mundthera (What was Buried from the Age)
5. Endma Tuqsaf Al Ru’os (When the Heads are Minced)
6. Ma’dabt Al Audhama (The Magnificence’s Feast)
7. Fe Youm Thaqeef (In a Praised Day)
8. Wata’a Bakhtanasar (Nebuchadnezzar March)
9. Laylat Ghabra’a (Obscure Night)
10. Asda’ Al Dmar (Echos of The Ruins)
11. Ajal Babel (Demise of Babylon)

The original edit of this review appears HERE on Passion For Music.


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