Alif – 2018 – Metal Age
S= Carnavage, Litham, Devast>>LELAHEL [REDA]>>Carnavage, Devast
G= Neanderthalia, Carnavage>>LELAHEL [REDA]>>Carnavage
B= Barbaros>>Nihil>>Barbaros – RAMZY CURSE [RAMZY ABBAS]
D= Deadstone, Barbaros, Orcus>>Slaveblaster>>Barbaros, Orcus
Formed in Algeria in 2010 by Lelahel the boys from Algiers bashed out a demo called Al Intihar (‘suicide’) in 2012. In 2013 the band played in France at the Skull Krusher Death Fest. Several other European shows were also performed. Horror Pain Gore Death Productions had Lelahell signed to its roster and issued the full-length album Al Insane... The (Re)Birth Of Abderrahmane. It was mixed and mastered by Ivan of Anthropocide Studio (Abominable Putridity and Aborted Fetus). The band played at the Malta Death Fest III Open Air - 2014. Algerian metal documentary Highway To Lelahell was a 52-minute documentary tracing the career of Redouane Aouameur, the “emblematic character of the Algerian metal scene.”
Algerian trio Lelahell’s new album Alif was slated as the group’s second full-length album and third release since the band’s formation in 2010. The band was set to record at Hertz Studio in Poland under the guidance of producers the Wieslawscy brothers. To this end the band had a crowdfunding campaign. Following an Indiegogo fundraising period Lelahell was in studio in the summer of 2016 recording an album called Alif. Hannes Grossmann (Hate Eternal, Necrophagist, etc.) was on session drums. Lelahell announced a European tour for May 2017 and a new session drummer, Mac Dzierzon of Centaurus-A and Dew-Scented. Metal Age Productions signed Lelahell to release the band’s second full-length album Alif in the summer of 2018.
LELAHELL - AL INTIHAR
LELAHELL - AL INSANE... THE (RE) BIRTH OF ABDERRAHMANE - HPGD
It is 2014 and metal bands, which hail from exotic countries are no longer matters of astonishment. Heavy metal bands have called atypical regions homes for at least thirty years. Countries like Abu Dhabi, Iran or India have maintained metal scenes despite adverse conditions. What is new, however, is how such groups are meeting and occasionally exceeding international musical standards and no longer can automatically be relegated to second or third tier. In this framework comes Lelahell from Algeria whose new record, Al Insane... The (Re) Birth Of Abderrahmane, was the album of the month on Metallian this November. Band leader Lelahel was on the telephone to Metallian Towers looking to speak about the band and the aforementioned context. Ali “The Metallian” spoke to the musician with results being below. - 30.11.2014
METALLIAN: Congratulations on the release of the new album. Why the title The (Re)Birth Of Abderrahmane?
LELAHEL: Thanks for those compliments. The album has two titles: 'al insane' which means 'the humans' in Arabic and also 'insane' in English. The main theme is talking about the insanity of humans. The (Re)birth Of Abderrahmane is a kind of metaphor for the rebirth of Algerian metal and maybe this album will contribute to its rebirth. Abderrahmane was my father, who lived from 1936 to 2003 while it is my son’s birth in 2012.
METALLIAN: Interesting answer. What is the status of Algerian metal and why or how it is undergoing a rebirth?
LELAHEL: The Algerian metal has from its beginning always suffered from the same problems, the main problem is to find suitable venues for playing metal because most of them are cinema theatres with chairs and to find a place for rehearsing. So this is why bands exists for three or four years and split up!
METALLIAN: So is there a resurgence or rebirth right now or is that title simply a hope?
LELAHEL: It is a hope. There is a new generation that is trying to change things, but they're always committing the same mistakes as before.
METALLIAN: What are those mistakes?
LELAHEL: The main mistake is not to build a base. I mean that the most important thing isn't only to organize shows but we have to create reviews and interviews and all such underground things as a kind of platform for the local scene where all Algerian metal musicians can meet and not just to create pages about metal and publishing youtube videos from western bands.
METALLIAN: The foundation.. and it is easy to agree with you... but many 'Western' bands have the same lazy attitude as well.
LELAHEL: ...or supposed to make a radio and publish downloaded MP3s from mainstream bands... yes, but the difference is that there is a solid underground movement there.
METALLIAN: What makes you and your band different?
LELAHEL: I don't have the pretension to say that I am totally different and I don't care about that. Years ago I was organizing a fest, a zine, a website and a compilation. See fb.com/lelahelmetal, but I was seen as a Martian. So I now prefer to concentrate more on my band Lelahell.
METALLIAN: What do you mean 'like a Martian?'
LELAHEL: Let me explain with examples. I released two issues of Lelahel 'zine, and the main critique was: "why are you a doing this Xeroxed paper?" I sold a few copies only. I did five editions of the fest and the main preoccupation of the bands was if they would get paid or not. It was a self-financed festival and I lost a lot of energy and money on it without any recognition from musicians.
METALLIAN: I understand. Let's talk Algeria in general. To many people it is still strange that the country has metal, metal bands or a scene. How is the country's attitude towards metal? How difficult or not unusual is it?
LELAHEL: In general, it is considered as western culture and most of non-metal people don't care about it.
METALLIAN: Are you saying there is no societal attitude against it? No animosity from the mainstream? Is there an Islamic movement that wishes to stop it?
LELAHEL: I am playing this music for more than two decades and for the moment there is no Islamic movement that tried to stop it. In the '90s there was a lot of metal on the mainstream TV. radios and newspapers, but now it is more underground.
METALLIAN: That is a valued answer because perceptions outside Algeria can be quite different from what you just described. What do you think of how non-Algerians think of Algeria and its society?
LELAHEL: They have a completely different vision about the reality. They think that it is a radical Islamic country governed by Islamists, yet that is totally false. For example, I got a contact in the Italian Cultural Institute to organize a show here in Algeria and invite an Italian band to play here. I contacted more than 10 bands and no one want to play here because they have a totally false idea about the real life and the real situation here. Ten years before when the situation was really worse it was easier to find foreign bands for playing here because the media has totally manipulated the western people’s opinion about our country.
METALLIAN: It is good to conduct this interview then... when you say media, are you referring to Western media only or Algerian as well?
LELAHEL: Western media of course.
METALLIAN: In your opinion, why do they distort the facts?
LELAHEL: In general, they don't distort but just amplify things.
METALLIAN: So is there some truth to what they say?
LELAHEL: The situation was bad during the '90s to 2000s during the black decade, but we were playing metal and doing metal shows and the shows during this period were the best - more than 1,000 people came to shows during this period.
METALLIAN: Impressive. Are people listening to hip-hop now instead or what happened?
LELAHEL: I don't know now. Things have changed and the new generation becomes lazier due to Facebook, youtube... and also it is really more difficult to organize shows than ever before.
METALLIAN: How did your band become such a band with international standards when, in general, most African bands do not achieve such standards?
LELAHEL: As I said before I was really an underground activist in the past years so I got some experience with that and I learned how things work.
METALLIAN: Yes, but there are so many African bands that form, practice, give shows, release demos and the standard is really below international standards. Lelahell manages to surpass that and be equal to any band anywhere.
LELAHEL: Yes, there is no secret about that, just practice and practice and practice! After that you have to invest your energy and money in the right direction!
METALLIAN: Good. Let me ask you: do you make money or profit from the band?
LELAHEL: For the moment, I am spending a lot of money on it, but no profit at all! It becomes really difficult nowadays because there are so many bands! So in the beginning you have to invest a lot of money and maybe you'll get a good deal to at least recoup what you invested.
METALLIAN: So you lose money now, but have a hope?
LELAHEL: For me it is a hobby and a passion first, so I don't consider it as money lost!
METALLIAN: Perfect answer. And I understand. But I asked you this because I wondered if the younger generation is becoming more and more materialistic and focused on the money so - since bands mostly make no money - forming and maintaining a band is less appealing.
LELAHEL: Yes, don't forget that I am an old school man (laughs)! The difference is that the music does not sell as before so the band has less financial support and we have to spend more and more bucks for recording, touring, merchandise, video, artwork...
METALLIAN: Yes, I get it. You are confirming what I believed. Is Lelahell a band, in this respect, or is it all falling upon you as an individual?
LELAHEL: The band started as a one-man band in 2010. After that I was joined by Slaveblaster and Nihl at the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012 so in general we take the main decisions together as a band.
METALLIAN: ...and share costs and responsibility and writing et cetra?
LELAHEL: For the moment the costs are not shared and I write the main riffs and structures, but we'll see in the future.
METALLIAN: If you had to choose one to be or to describe yourself, would you say you are first and foremost an Algeria or a metal fan or musician?
There are two trains of thought: First is that one is a person who believes in his country and is proud of his origins or second that he is a metal fan and feels closer to metal listeners and scene than his countrymen. Some people talk proudly about their country, say Amorphis, some people talk about the fraternity of metal, say Manowar, and even release albums called Hail To England and songs in different languages.
LELAHEL: The second.. I am a metal fan and don't care about origins and stuff like that! On our first EP we had a song in Spanish and on this album we have a song in French and maybe on the next release we will write In Italian or Portuguese or... in my opinion if you play metal it is for music first.
METALLIAN: OK and here is why I asked: I noticed the Arabic influences and medleys in the songs. It was, I think, the sole point I criticized. When I got into metal it was seen as a fraternity transcending borders and people, but now it has become a commercial farce with people paying tribute to their countries, ethnicities, skin colour and national beer and I don't know what.
LELAHEL: Personally, we don't care about that! We like music first, we are not making politics or such things!
METALLIAN: But what do you think of my criticism regarding the inclusion of non-metal melodies?
LELAHEL: In my opinion the metal music was created in the USA and UK. This is what you call 'metal' melodies, but nowadays you can find metal everywhere, so why not include some local melodies?
METALLIAN: I always thought of local touches as separators rather than uniters. Finally, I want to ask you: what is new or next with the band. What is upcoming?
LELAHEL: For the moment, we are preparing a European tour for December: Al Insane Tour. We will start on 19th of December and finish on the 28th. We will perform three shows in Germany, two shows in Switzerland, one show in France, Poland and Czech Republic. We are waiting for two confirmed shows. After that we will start the writing process of the second full-length.
METALLIAN: Will the next album with the same label. Was the contract for more than one album?
LELAHEL: Nothing is planned yet, maybe we will look for a label that can give us more exposure. Horror Pain Gore Death was good for a first album.
METALLIAN: Is there something you wished I had asked or you wanted to mention to all the readers?
LELAHEL: Thanks for this great interview! You can purchase our album at https://lelahell.bandcamp.com/. Support Lelahell or die !!
In addition to the aforementioned address the band has a presence at https://myspace.com/lelahellband.
If you enjoyed this, read Sanktuary