BLAAKYUM might lead you to think black metal but this is not true about this band. Just check them out. You won’t be disappointed. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You have one of these names that does not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-Well I am glad you think so, for a reason a lot of people think we are a Black Metal band just because we are called Blaakyum. It wasn’t really hard at all; I had this name in mind way before the band was formed and yes it has a meaning… I assume you will wonder why it is not written Blackium. Well, you didn’t ask so I do not have to answer that!
Could you give us a short introduction to the band?
-Alright here we go:
We are Blaakyum.
On a more serious note, people have been trying to fit us into a variety of genres, the only constant in them is Thrash Metal; we have Groove Metal and Traditional Heavy Metal elements as well, and sometimes Death and Black Metal, all this is infused with Middle Eastern and Levantine music. We are the product of the environment we live in: Heavy Middle Eastern percussions and melodies invading thrash riffs as angry as we are.
What would you say has been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-It’s hard to pick one single influence. We have been around for so long that we have picked up a lot along the way. Maybe the closest I can get is to say that the whole Metal music with all of its subgenres, especially NWOBHM and Thrash Metal, have been the greatest influence on us.
4. What is the scene like in your area? Do you feel that you are a part of a scene?
-This has two sides to it. When you are in Lebanon, you feel secluded as a scene, since rarely any major (or minor) international Metal bands ever come here, we feel we are like a closed scene. But once we started performing in and watching festivals and gigs outside Lebanon, we realised how similar we are, and we realised that indeed we are part of this global tribe called Metalheads. We even have the same debates about what is Metal and what is not, and we have the same jokes about Manowar and their fans as in the west…
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-I think this feeling is what we get not just when we play in a band, but also when we are in a gig or just gathering as Metalheads. Of course being in a band gives you a platform, as you can interact on stage with the fans. But giving the spread of the disease we call Social Media, now everyone has a platform. The band just remains the strongest of these platforms because of the power of conveying emotions through music, like our anger and frustration.
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-I think some bands are actually trying to get out of the dark themes trend so I wouldn’t be surprised if I see a Metal band with an album cover of birds and bees! I am a fan of both digital and hand drawn artwork. Also I am a fan of symbols, so usually album covers that can combine symbols with dark artwork but without being too dramatic about it are the ones that catch my eye. The last three albums by Onslaught have great cover art in my opinion, along with Metallica’s Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, especially Master of Puppets as it really still is to this day my favourite because of how strongly it conveys the message.
What is your opinion on digital versus physical? Is digital killing music?
-Like everything, it is a double edged sword. It can be good and bad. I do not think anything can kill the music. If anything digital releases have killed the greedy music industry… Not that they won’t find way around it! But I also think that the digital generation is missing a lot. I have always bought CDs because of the goodies that come with them: THE BOOKLET, and what it contains. I do not know why but even when the internet is literally littered with band images, I find it much more interesting to unwrap a CD and check out the booklet. Yet if not for digital music a lot of us in the Middle East wouldn’t have had the chance to listen to new bands or even our favourite bands since a lot of the times the CDs are banned in the countries we live in.
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-You mean for unsigned bands? In 2016 we toured in Europe opening for Onslaught, Mors Principium Est and NO RETURN and we also played Tuska Open Air and both experiences were amazing in terms of audience reaction. People told us they didn’t know what to expect from us but soon after we started playing they were headbanging along. So the audience is out there and is interested, but it’s a matter of the music industry giving unsigned bands a chance.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-When we play live it’s a statement. It’s a show. Maybe also you can say it’s a party as we enjoy our interaction with our fans, when we perform and we all have common frustrations, common hatred, we really just let loose our anger, and stick the finger all together. Maybe some bands like to have their fans’ hands in the air; we want to see their middle fingers, sticking it up to all the bullshit we receive from our backward societies and the threats we face.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-The end of the worst species on the planet, the despicable human race!