Our Lives in Music… Blaakyum

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Black Album (Metallica)  Looking back now, it would seem unlikely that this album was my initiation to the world of Thrash Metal, but that is what happened. It was all over the radio in Lebanon, and although Master of Puppets is my Metallica’s all time favourite, it was the Black Album that started it all for me.

Use Your Illusion I & II (Guns N’ Roses)  I was an angry teenager, and we didn’t have a big choice of records other than mainstream pop to choose from, so when I saw the double cassette tape package with Guns N’ Roses’ unmistakable logo, I wanted to buy it. I literally just had the exact amount the double release cost, I didn’t care about my next meal I just wanted to get my hands on the music I loved. Definitely later on Appetite for Destruction became, and will remain, the ultimate Guns N’ Roses album, but Use Your Illusion has a special place for me.

The Killing Kind (Overkill) Back in the day we barely were able to get our hands on original cassette tapes, we were too poor to even own a vinyl record player. But the scarcity of albums alongside the government’s blacklist of Metal music meant that most of us had to do with whatever unlabelled, copied cassette tapes there were. I got the tape from our drummer  in 1996, all I knew was that it was by a band called Overkill. I never knew the name of the album until I actually researched it on Google in 2007. It does seem atypical that a Hardcore Crossover Thrash album was such an inspiration for me, I grew later on to love Overkill because of their unrelenting Thrash sound, but The Killing Kind shaped the way I arrange music.

Fear Of the Dark (Iron Maiden) My first ever Iron Maiden tape! Although if you ask me today, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and Powerslave are my top favourite Maiden albums, Fear of The Dark was my first true Metal love story. From Here to Eternity also is my favourite Iron Maiden song of all times, it never fails to give me the shivers exactly the same way it did the first time I heard it and watched the video. It also was the first time I watched a Metal music video, just a year before Metal was banned in Lebanon.

Killing Peace (Onslaught) I still beat myself till this very moment, why I never knew about Onslaught before late 2012. Somehow we never heard of them here in Lebanon (surprise huh?). But the gods had it that I would stumble upon the opening riff of Killing Peace on a random “10 best thrash riffs” video on YouTube. Ever since, Onslaught became a MAJOR influence for me and my brother and thus the band.

The Last in Line (Dio) Dio has been one of my biggest inspirations on a very personal level. The first time I ever heard Dio was through the song We Rock which I had on a mix tape that found its way to my cassette player, and I have no idea where it came from! The tape was labelled “Rock & Metal”, no artist names nor song names, nothing, but I eventually learned that it was Dio, and subsequently every sung line in The Last in Line became sacred to me.

Chaos A.D. (Sepultura) During the first wave of persecutions and crackdowns on Metal fans and listeners in Lebanon that took place between 1996 and 1998, Chaos A.D. was there to keep our morals high! Although my Sepultura’s all time favourite album is Arise, it was Chaos A.D. that kept our fighting spirit high against a corrupt and ignorant society.

Dehumanizer (Black Sabbath)  I think Dehumanizer is by far one of the heaviest albums Black Sabbath ever released. Although Dio is more known with Black Sabbath for his work on Heaven & Hell, Dehumanizer can crush skulls and bones with sheer Metal Heaviocity!

Painkiller (Judas Priest) Judas Priest is my all time Metal band favourite, so it is really hard to chose just one album, but although I consider the Jugulator among their top albums, and the incredible Rob Halford’s return album Angel of Retribution to be a masterpiece, Painkiller remains the album that defined the modern sound of Judas Priest… It was such a smack on the face when it was released, and I can never forget how it mesmerised me, and still does till this day.

Machine Head (Deep Purple) Deep Purple is my favourite band of all time, and so with this it is extremely hard to pick one album. Between In Rock, Who Do We Think We Are, Fireball, Machine Head, Burn, Stormbringer, Perpendicular and Rapture Of The Deep (to name my top albums of the Purple gods) it is really difficult to choose. Machine Head had a lasting mark on Rock and Metal for generations to come, and this is why I named it, but I shall never forget that for me the song Fireball (and the album) alongside Machine Head, was the initiator of Metal. The rhythmical double bass (though using just a single bass drum pedal) and the heavy alternate picking of the song Fireball make it the first ever speed Metal song in history in my opinion. From Machine Head, songs such as Highway Star, which was the first NeoClassical Metal song ever written, Smoke On The Water, definitely a prototype for the typical Heavy Metal song 7 years before Heavy Metal was conceived, and Space Truckin’–these songs are the parents of Heavy, Speed and Thrash Metal. Deep Purple is really the most amazing band that has deeply touched my everyday life.

Blaakyum’s new album Line of Fear is out now.


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