Too many bands from the more exotic metal countries try to sound like their western counterparts. While it is interesting to find a random band from Asia that sounds like it could be a mediocre German thrash metal band, it doesn’t add much to the experience besides novelty value. Luckily Blaakyum is not a mediocre thrash metal band.
The fragile and flammable situation in the Middle East throws a lot of fuel into the fire of Blaakyum. When the first track Crossing is a killer and merges musically and thematically seamlessly into the next, Line of Fear, one can’t help but wanting to brofist whoever decided upon this. Blaakyum’s political thrash metal really gets more kick from local detail.
Bassem Deaibess is a very proficient vocalist who both adds deeper growls and falsettos to his raspy shouting. In the title track Line of Fear he even channels Warrel Dane for a while and in Destined to Rise shortly sounds like Martin Valkyier (talking about novelty details)!
Musically, Middle East is present but not that distinctly, mostly the album is a great sounding straight out thrash record. Nearly every track has minor unusual twists though. Usually its the traditional clickety tabla percussions (also known as derbukke) or atmospheric melodic guitar lines in slower sections with one occurrence of Arabic. Bass-lines are above average, occasionally standing out in the mix. Refreshing feats that add necessary originality that most thrash bands lack.
Blaakyum has soulfulness and a bunch of killer songs like the powerful attitude-rich Crossing and the hard-hitting Baal-Adon that suddenly starts to embrace the whole Middle Eastern aspect with magical guitar solo that closes out the track. The emotional and catchy chorus and rhythmics of Freedom Denied sheds more value to the 2nd side of the album.
Line of Fear is rightfully short at 39 minutes, because everything under 40 minutes is a short album, right? With thrash metal under 40 minutes is usually ideal, unfortunately though Blaakyum does idle a bit. Namely, the longest track Destined to Rise, Religion of Peace and the ending track I am Who I am do not rise over mediocreness. It does not disturb the entity but leaves Line of Fear hanging short of masterclass with exactly 23 minutes of really high-quality thrash.
It is quite unbelievable to note that Line of Fear is an individually released record. It should be only a matter of time before some big metal label picks them up. Blaakyum is surely one of the most potential Asian bands out there to appeal to big metal masses.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of great bands in Middle East, but I think it’s only a matter of time before one of them rises to public knowledge, and most of the great bands are too weird, original or raw (excluding Myrath). Blaakyum has originality but also immediate catchiness. Line of Fear might well be their “The Link” (if you excuse my Gojira analogy) and the next album, the “From Mars to Sirius”. Oh, my, I’m ranting and future predicting again, feel free to ignore my excitement :).
Remember that till the end,
no matter what life we choose, we end the same