Drinking With Satan: Al-Namrood & Darkestrah – Tajer Al Punqia/Akyr Zaman

drinking with satan

Is it March already? I mean… it’s been March for three weeks already? What year is it? What’s going on? Who am I? What’s my purpose? Spoiler alert: NOTHING… for all of it. Zero. Zilch. There is no point to anything. Everything we do for our century-ish of life is so incredibly pointless when you think about it. No matter what we do while our consciousness is trapped in these bodies we abuse on the regular, we all die. Rich, poor, healthy, sick… all ends in the same result. So who gives a shit? Anyway, the theme of quarter one has been nihilism, in case you haven’t noticed. So why am I here doing is if it doesn’t matter? Easy answer: I want you all to join me in my cynicism and general disdain for our existence. So let’s get drunk and talk about metal! Welcome to the end of March, cretins!

I’m sitting here on my couch in my soon to be dismantled living room (I/we move in a week) pounding down a Dale’s Pale Ale… pounder. Which, to be completely transparent, I am only drinking while I wait for my double IPAs to get cold. Yes, it’s going to get aggressive. One doesn’t simply going into a gas station for beer and not leave with something they can drink immediately. The fact is, if you’re buying beer in a gas station, it’s probably gonna be consumed soon. So, here I am. Watching hockey as I prepare for my trip to Detroit tomorrow (Go Red Wings). Detroit Weekend 2015 was basically 36 hours of black out-ery, so I’m pumped to see what damage I’ll do to a damaged city with an extra 24 hours to play with — I don’t come back until Sunday.

IMG_1474
Like my pounder koozie? And hockey?

Did I mention it’s going to get aggressive? Today was my Friday. I get Good Friday off from work as a holiday, which, ya know, LOL. But I’ll take it either way. No reason to wake up (which to be fair is also every other morning) means I can finish this pale ale and start to do damage on my many Six Point Resin double IPAs without worrying about work tomorrow. Which, again, to be fair I don’t really do anyway. But this beer is aggressive as I am. What do I mean by that? 9.1% ABV, 103 IBUs. My only complaint so far? The can is fucking tall and skinny and won’t fit in my 9C koozie :(. But got damn does it have a delicious bite to it. And the high booze level makes it super warming on a cold night (which it really isn’t but ya know… let’s focus on the few positives in life). Another positive? I just found out the Red Wings didn’t manage to blow their 4 goal lead against the Canadiens. So at least I’m not depressed tonight. Anyway. Moving on. We’re here to talk about METAL.

Do you guys remember that other time I got weird and talked about Al-Namrood? Well, everyone’s favorite Saudi black metallers are back. This time, it’s in the form of a split, released with Darkestrah. When I was scanning our promos to figure out what I wasn’t going to remember listening to or talking about this month, this little number immediately caught my attention. I guess we can talk about it now. Or. I guess you can deal with me writing about it.


 

COVER

How freaking cool is that artwork? I couldn’t think of a better split cover that involves a Saudi black metal band. Cobras, a spire, …colors?, a weird portal thing? Whatever. It has cool stuff and I think it’s fun. I guess we can talk about the music now?

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We start with Darkestrah and “Akyr Zaman”. It slowly opens with very suppressed growls that are actually kinda cool in a haunting way. It sounds like they’ll be drag out since this is a 12 minute song, but after only a minute with instrumentals kick in. It’s very melodic/symphonic at first. Really nice work here. Dry percussion underlying all these elements gives this song a lot of… soul. Harsh vocals briefly enter and then fade away before things really explode a quarter of the way in. It’s rough around the edges, but very well put together. The production is a little curious, the guitars feel a little fuzzy, but the shrieks echo nicely and the percussion crisp enough to resonate. This is some really impressive work from the German black metallers. It does sound relatively traditional black metal with a definitive twist. But I love it for that. The rises and falls of the passages in the second half of the track are absolutely mint. This band was formed in Kyrgyzstan, and some regional influences definitely shine through. I think I’ll listen to it one more time.

…Yep. Still awesome.

Ok. Onward to Al-Namrood. And I gotta by saying “Tajer Al Punqia I” is far more chaotic than I expected it to be. God damn. And just a head up everyone, I may leave you briefly to catch the end of this very important Flyers/Avs game. But at just under five minutes, this thing is pure chaos. I can’t make sense of it. The barks and shrieks are incredibly diverse, much like the percussion… which doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. And then the vocalists laughs his way to a rather curious regional instrumental interlude. And then it happens again. You kinda sway along with the guitar passages and how their interplay with vocals. But like I said… chaos. Insanity. That is the game here. Does anybody else ever deal with that sensation where an eyelash is obstructing their view so they stop everything to yank it out aggressively? Good, me either.

Alright gang, time to talk about “Tajer Al Punqia II”. Since the fucking Flyers tied the game up. This is a bit more like the sound I expected from Al-Namrood. The diverse instrumentation, deliberation of the pacing, and the half-growled, half-shouter vocals… this is what I remember kinda. Either way, I think their sound is really cool, really unique. And now the Flyers lead. Shit. Side note: I rarely pull for the Avs. But they aren’t in the same conference anymore, so it’s whatever. Anyway, I love this particular version of Al-Namrood’s music. The lead phrasing is kinda curious and at times the time changes make no sense whatsoever. But who gives a shit? It’s different! Anyway, this track is even shorter that the preceding. So it’s easy enough to get into and out of. Heh. So I’m going to wrap this up and watch some more hockey. And maybe listen to the new Amon Amarth again.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

 

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