With the release of ALIF, Algerian band LELAHELL delivered a knuckle sandwich of a death metal album that takes the listener by desert storm. Wagner & Heavy Metal spoke with frontman and founder of the band, Redouane Aouameur.
. What is the story (if there is one) behind the name Lelahell?
Lelahel (with one 'l' letter in the end) is an angel of the zodiac exercising dominion over love, art, science and fortune. We appeal to this being of light for good luck and good fortune. We added an 'l' because there is already an Italian rock band named Lelahel, and Lelahel is also my nickname so to make a difference between them I added a second 'l' in the end of Lelahel.
2. On both your albums you are telling the story of Abderrahmane. What lies at the root of this character? (e.g. religion, mythology, folk stories, real life events etc.)
Each Lelahell release is conceptually linked to the character of Abderrahmane, yet focusing on another evolutionary step—another chapter in his own book. In the lyrics of our first EP "Al Intihar" Abderrahmane is tired of his own life full of constraints, so he commits suicide. Our first album "Al Insane... the (Re)Birth of Aberrahmane" deals with his rebirth. Our new album "Alif" is now focusing on Abderrahmane's first steps in his new life, just like a child learning to speak, walk, learning about the world around him. Yet this is full of foes and fears, that's why Abderrahmane needs to save himself from those dangers.
The root of that character is a pure fiction!
3. Is there a special reason why you choose to write your lyrics from the perspective of Abderrahmane? (What inspires the band the most when it comes to writing lyrics?)
Abderrahmane is the name of my father (R.I.P) and my son. When it comes to writing lyrics we get our inspiration from our past experience, our daily life and everything around us (nature, society …)
4. What are your main motivations to play this kind of music (death metal)?
The main motivation is we like that sound, we like the sound of the guitars, we like the fast rhythms and the guttural vocals!
5. What musician / bands made you wanted to play music yourself? What bands are of the biggest influence on your music?
The biggest influence is the old school death metal scene with bands such as: Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Death and more …
6. Is there a metal scene in Algeria? And if so, what is it alike? (Does is know subgenres? If so, which of the subgenres are most popular?)
The metal scene in Algeria isn’t as new as people imagine, it exists since almost 3 decades. I’m one of the formers of that scene, and one of the last active survivors!
When we started in the early 90’s it was really difficult because we were the firsts, there was no models to follow, no experienced musicians to ask, no references, but we were very ambitious and motivated . Some years after in the mid 90’s it was the golden era of the Algerian Metal, a lot of bands were formed, a lot of people in the concerts, full support from government, … But 10 years later a lot of commercial musical styles appeared in Algeria, and the authorities were not supporting that music anymore because it was something ‘non’ conventional and ‘occidental’ so it was really difficult to find venues for that music and a lot of musicians have stopped playing because they approached the 30’s and preferred to focus on their life (job, marriage,…).
In 2018, things have changed. There are some new promising bands that were formed and have made some interesting releases, there are also more concerts but not enough, we are trying to change things with government to get more access to the venues, and why not create a big international festival!
The most popular subgenre in Heavy Metal are Death Metal and Thrash Metal.
7. What is the writing dynamic among members of the band (does only one person write the songs or is song writing more a band effort)? Does each band member bring their own specific influences or are all the band members into the exact same music?
I’m the only one who writes the music and lyrics. The band started first as a one man band, it is the right method since the begining of Lelahell, and maybe it will change for the future.
8. Lelahell's music has influences of Algerian folk music. Does the band (its members) have more influences outside metal?
We all listen to different music than metal, but we don’t use it in the music of Lelahell, we just add some folk scales and rhythms!
9. How do you see your own musical development? Are there musical areas that you still want to explore?
For the future we will focus more on the music itself, I mean the arrangements and the interaction between the instruments. We will add new sounds to the music of Lelahell. Stay in touch and you will see!
10. Do you believe that music (and heavy metal in particular) can be more than just entertainment? Can it be a force that can change things for the good on a larger scale? (Music as a mean that can raise awareness about, for instance, political and environmental issues.)
There are many people that consider it as more than an entertainment; it is a way of life in certain regions like Finland, Norway or Sweden.
Bonus question: do you have any specific goals in mind for the band (besides world domination of course)?
Our main goal is to create something in the music that people will remember it for a long time, for example a new sound or maybe a different way to play the music, or a new concept, or I don’t know something different.
From Algeria comes LELAHELL, death metal that takes your eardrums by desert storm
LELAHELL's latest output, ALIF, is a follow-up to their debut All Insane ... The (re)birth of Abderrahmane. ALIF tells the story, in music and lyrics (in English, French and Arabic), of Abderrahmane. A man who takes his first steps in his new life, like a child that has to learn to speak (again), to walk and has to learn about the world around him. A world that harbours many dangers.
With PARAMNESIA the album opens in kick-start mode and takes the listener from there. Caught in a desert storm of fiery riffs, with references in rhythm and melody, to Algerian folk music, the death metal of the Algerian combo massages the ears and cleanses, like good metal should, the soul from everyday's weariness. If the music on ALIF gives us any indication of the way Abderrahmane deals with the dangers he encounters we can consider the third track of the album, the contemplative instrumental THOU SHALT NOT KILL, an aural depiction of a resolution made in vain.
ALIF contains aggressive and violent music, packed in tight instrumentation. The folkore references (e.g. the intro of INSIRAF / MARTYR) bring colour in a musical world of black and grey and are used freely and thoughtfully. The result is always organic and adds significantly to the energy of the music. This is heavy metal world music, one cannot help thinking of Max Cavalera's Soulfly, that leaves an ironclad groove in your brain every time you listen to it. And although the vocals stick to a staccato / hardcore grunt most of the time, the music contains a rich array of melody.
ALIF is knuckle sandwich death metal that comes with a lot of atmosphere. When we arrive at the last track, the instrumental IMPUNITY OF THE MUTANTS, we await a album-closener that sounds like an accumulation of everything that has passed us by in the nine previous tracks. It leaves us with the feeling (whether we were able to follow the lyrics or not) that we have been through a lot. That we've witnessed a story that came with an urge - as if it fought its way out to the world. A story that is not only most pleasant to listen to but that is also worth telling.
RECORDING LINE UP for ALIF :
Redouane Aouameur : Guitars/Bass and Vocals
Hannes Grosmann : (ex-Necrophagist ex-Obscura, Alkaloid, Blotted Science): Drums
ACTUAL LINE UP:
Redouane Aouameur : Guitars and Vocals
Ramzi Curse : Bass
Slave Blaster: Drums
ALIF by LELAHELL on Bandcamp >>
Interview with Redouane Aouameur >>
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