Desert Moonlight Spells
The most interesting thing about ARALLU is, of course, their origin. Many bands are not coming from Israel, namely from Ma'ale Adummim, and Metal ones not at all. The only known band from Israel is, of course, Salem of Tel Aviv, who has been on the scene since the 80's. Of course, there are also the genius Melechesh, who moved to Holland and later to Germany, so I can peacefully place ARALLU as the third largest and best-known Metal band in this area. Especially in recent years, this band is highly active and representing the genre of Middle Eastern Metal, more specifically Black Metal. They were formed in 1998 and their name means the underworld ruled by the goddess Ereshkigal and god Nergal, where the souls of the dead are judged. As the name of the fresh new "Six" CD suggests, it is already their sixth full-length album with "The War On The Wailing Wall" debut from 1999. How is Metal playing in the Middle East way, what are the differences between it and western style and many others themes were answered by Butchered (bass, vox). We are honored to introduce ARALLU on the pages of Necrosphere!
Hello Butchered, first you could introduce ARALLU band. What was the initial impulse to create a Black Metal band? Weren't you afraid to form a band of this type in Israel, in a strong Orthodox Islamic environment?
B: : Hello from Jerusalem, I'm Butchered the main member of the band and I'm the founder of the band. And itís a pleasure for me to interview for the czech metal scene every time you ask. Arallu was founded in Jerusalem in the middle of the conflict between the religions around the old city of Jerusalem in the 90'. When you live as the terror is surrounding you and you grow up for this endless conflict, if you want or not, it inspires you whatever you do. I saw so many death and blood over my life, so I'm really not afraid of Islamic groups because my music.
I remember the bus exploding next to me around the streets of Jerusalem when I was in my way to school. We saw every day the hatred comes through the TV news. I was 16 years old and the extreme black metal concept around Europe comes to my life mixed with bloodshed around Jerusalem is what brought Arallu band to life
How did you actually get to Metal? Who was your "teacher", or who got you to this musical extreme branch of presentation? Or did you find it all by yourself? Could you tell which bands were the first to take your attention and how you really perceived Metal at that time? What have you been listening most to before you started listening to this type of music? Was it the traditional Persian music?
B: I donít remember exactly who brought me the first media of metal music, but I remember it was really hard to get a tape of extreme metal music bands, and I'm not talking about CDs at all. I'm talking about tapes. And that was made it so interesting and unholy. I remember I looked for "Deicide ĖDecide" and a friend of mine had it, I think it was copied 8 times from the original tape. I heard more white noise from Decide musicÖ it was funny days.
You are a type of band that has implemented traditional elements of your culture into your music, which is quite a normal thing. I didn't hear your earliest recordings, but have you been influenced by more classic Metal music in your beginnings? What ratio would you put to your traditional influences compared to Metal from the beginning till today?
B: when I started to listen to the European black metal bands of the 90's, I really liked the idea of the local folk music inside the raw sound of the black metal. I thought to myself "I can't play like that. I canít write music like that. I can feel the cold and mountains coming out from the speakers! This music is awesome! And, if I will try to sound like that no one will listen to my music. I can't make sound like that. BUT if I will bring a special sound and guitar riffs with special instruments I can flow above them , if I will play middle eastern music with metal music sound it can work! And thatís what happened.
You have recently released your last "Six" album. Does this name have only a symbolic order meaning or it have any other secondary meaning? How would you compare your lyrics in the beginnings and today? Are you still dealing with the same topics and they are likewise sophisticated? I know your lyrics are strongly anti-religious, but to a certain extent also anti-political. Have you ever written lyrics based on mythology, demonology or the like?
B: "SIX" like the previous albums of the band is talking about the situation around the Middle East as it crawls to Europe and the US, and some personal issues we deal with our everyday life. Every album by the band we used other Middle Eastern Instruments except the Drabukka that we have on every album because it's a basic instrument of Arallu music. I believe in the next album we will be looking for other instruments. We donít want our listeners to feel like every album of Arallu is the same. We're trying our best to not repeat ourselves, so every album we're using different Middle Eastern instruments. Even in the lyrics. The song "Adonay" is talking about a simple man from Jerusalem killed by terrorist attack and left behind him a huge world of people who loved him, but actually this song was talking about the last days of my grandfather who really suffered before he died a few months agoÖ He was my model and I really admired him. The song "Possessed by Sleep" is about the murder of a little girl named Hillel Yaffe Ariel who was killed in her bed by a terrorist while she was sleeping. When you live around Jerusalem and you have 3 children all you're thinking about is how to keep them safe in this horrible world. From the other aspect we have the song "Soulless Soldier" which is about a soldier in the army service who fights the wars around Israel and when he killed a terrorist who tried to kill soldiers the government put him to trail for that. It's absurd. Arallu is the horn of the situation in the Middle East and specially the horn of the wars all around the years in Jerusalem. We don't look for paper news Headlines. We play and live black metal from the 90's. It's more than a decade that Arallu screaming about the global terror. "Satanic War In Jerusalem" our second album from 2002, talking about the situation in Jerusalem that spread to the world. I wrote this album in 2001 when the Islamic terror attack everywhere in Israel and especially in Jerusalem. Unfortunately "Satanic War In Jerusalem" become a self-fulfilling prophecy and today we all know it. "The War On The Wailing Wall" our debut album from 1999, was the mix between our daily life and extreme black metal Against religions. When Iím writing my music and my lyrics I'm not looking for some victories. I mean I'm looking for something fresh, something that no one touched before. Because our music is a mix with extreme black metal music and Arabian / Middle Eastern music it's very hard to understand it in the first listening. Usually people who like extreme black metal don't like the Middle Eastern parts and vice versa, when we wrote this album we knew its risky and we know it from the debut album from 1999, but Arallu always looks to bring something different to the global metal scene and we're doing it in small steps. The atmosphere of this album is similar to the old albums. It's the feeling of the desert force and battles around the Middle East. Weíre coming against what is offensive and hurting us. Us as human beings, us as individuals. The people in Israel donít know what good life is. We are busy with worrying about personal and national security. Our lyrics are straight in your face, against the religions and what they represent and of course the people behind them. Our last album GENIEWAR and "SATANIC WAR IN JERUSALEM talk about all those things. From the wars of the ancient times as kings tried to rule Jerusalem. With that, "SIX" album talking about the wars of today as ISIS are trying to destroy and kill anyone who doesnít agree with their religious views. Like in the song "Only One Truth". Arallu concept is the mirror of the human race, hypocrisy of the governments all around the world including Israel, and the unwillingness and fear to fight against the extreme religion leaders. We live in the Middle East as u know. The situation here is not easy here in Jerusalem and Israel. We live in days of war religions, and religions hatred that inspired our music and lyrics.
As written in your profile on Metal Archives, ARALLU is kingdom of underworld ruled by the mighty Ereshkigal and one of the most notorious Mesopotamian Nergal god. Why are you interested in Mesopotamian culture, religion and culture? What fascinates you most in this basic branch of mankind?
B: Itís a really long story but I will give you some points about that. In the ancient time around the Middle East was the Ottoman Empire. Almost like Europe of today. No borders one big country. In Mesopotamia was one ruler around the Middle East. The Heart regime was Jerusalem. A never ending bloodshed, battleground. We live in Jerusalem. The heart of the religions conflict from the ancient world until today. All Arallu music and lyrics talks about this area and his history. Unfortunately we can't see the rainbow over the horizonÖ I was born in the middle of war and probably I will die when the war is still a reality.
I have noticed that some of you carry the sign of Farvahar on your chest, a Zoroastrian symbol of perhaps the first dualistic religion. What do you think of Zoroastrianism? It is quite obvious this religion naturally came from the old faith of the Sumerians and other primordial religions. Why do you think people always needed to believe in something, worshipping Gods? Do you think religion was clearer and more sincere back then?
B: Look, in the ancient time, chaos was around the world. People acts like animals, people raped, stole and murdered each other for surviving. I finished my study a few years ago about the "Spirit science" its about the how people decided to bring order for the people and build the first state. (Athens) because it's impossible to live when people kills people to living, and they start using Gods and his rules. They scared the people if they behavior not will change god will punish them. The church got strong and the people was weak. People are not even thinking by them self, the priests were telling how everyone should live. Unfortunately, most of the people like that until today, they do exactly what the religion is saying.
Your music is strongly influenced by the traditional culture based on Persian or Arabic music. On the new "Six" album I find these roots are contained in great extent what I personally like very much, even your fastest and most furious Metal parties are in this spirit as well. Have you ever got some critics of your music for these elements?
B: The atmosphere of this album is similar to the previous albums. It's the feeling of the desert force and battles around the Middle East. The Middle Eastern music is my childhood home music. My father was listening to this music since I was a child. The combination between the European sound and the Middle Eastern sound is not easy to do. Not every part of every song you can add the Saz Drabukka or Sitar like in the latest album. It takes hours to add these instruments in the right way and right place. Not everyone understand what we're playin. Like you can see some reviews are good and some are not good, when u play risky music u know thing like that can happen. We are not going with the main stream of black metal music, and that's ok with us.
It is clear the music of Western civilization and music coming from the Persian region are quite different, ruled by other theorems, rhythms, harmonies, structures and overall moods or content. Is it difficult for you to combine these two branches to make it all natural and to make it classy, complex and original?
B: mmmÖ not really. For the western ears it may sound really unusual but for me it comes almost natural. But like I said before, to mix them together in the right place and harmony, this is the hard work.
In my opinion, it is quite natural that you, as Israelis, are playing Black Metal with your own influences, like the bands playing the Nordic branch of Black Metal in Scandinavia, or with Slavic influences in Eastern Europe and Russia. Or in Greece with their own and the like. Are you proud you play this officially called Middle Eastern Black Metal?
B: exactly! This is the main Idea of the black metal concept. Like the Nordic stream, we bring our Middle Eastern stream. I donít understand bands from Israel that play Nordic black metal music. I always look to be leader and not a follower.
How are you satisfied with the new "Six" album? Is it the band's peak for all the sides so far? Or do you have any older album so favorite that you think you have not overcome it yet? Which song from the new album would be the most highlighted and recommended to the unaware listener as the best composition?
B: I think every each album of Arallu has it's own personality. If will check the previous album, you will see that you know you're listening to Arallu but each album is different from the others. Like we tried to bring new sounds to the world in the 90', we looks to take our music forward with new others idea. We doing our best to not repeat ourselves. Its not easy and we work hard for that.
Do you think it is harder to make production for this way of Black Metal because of guitar tuning or performance? Each band tries to find their own sound in order to achieve a specific aura, differentiating themselves from others and creating their own seal. Do you think your sound has been identical for you since your formation?
B: Before we entered the studio to record this album we worked with Dory Bar or who made the mixing for our last album "GENIEWAR" and the pre-production of "SIX". He knew what sound we were looking for. This guy is a real professional and knows how to take Arallu music from the stage in to the speakers. We worked hard for this sound. Something like 7-8 of final version of mixing. We donít like the new sound of the metal bands around the world. We like to make our instruments clear but raw. Evil. War machine. We're trying to let our music sound live Even though it is recorded in the studio.
This question will point to the sad organization of the Islamic state. It is clear they did more than enough and did not end yet. I would like to ask the destruction of old cultural monuments, which have not only enormous financial value but, above all, it is a heritage for the whole mankind. How did you feel when you saw them demolishing such a beautiful things?
B: this ISIS organization is a pile of shit. I think they are good example for sheep with a leader. (Like I said in 6th question) they so stupid that they donít even know what they do. It's not about the religions, I'm talking about that, itís a fucking piece of history! It's so infuriating to see that man. Fucking shit!
Ok, that would be all from me, hope I didn't forget anything essential. If so, you have the space to write. Thank you for answering my questions and, of course, wish ARALLU other great years, a lot of creativity and inspiration for new materials
B: I would like to thank u for your great questions. It was really great interview.
Like u know preformed in "Czech Death fest" around 2016 and April 2017 we was in a tour of 9 shows around Czech republic, Slovakia and Germany. We really hope to come soon again and perform from your great metal scene and I wish we will do it at "Brutal Assault metal fest"!
Butchered Mortuary 9. 10. 2017