Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thrash Mercenaries Tour 2016 Chronicles Part 4

Thrash Mercenaries Tour 2016 Chronicles up next:
This is by no means a detailed account of our days spent with the iconic band Onslaught. In fact this merely scratches the surface of the wealth of information, advice, experience and friendship we have built with the band’s members.
For those of you who dare not know Onslaught, this is one of the pioneers of British Thrash Metal, formed in 1982. While the world is much aware of the Big Four and the American Thrash bands, and in fact Thrash is known to be an American genre, Onslaught, like most British Thrash bands, has remained underrated, despite being a highly respected band in the realm of Thrash metal and among its fans. They released their first album "Power From Hell", in 1985 followed by “The Force” in 1986. "The Force" became one of Thrash Metal’s classic albums, most probably one of the few outside the American arena. It is this album's 30th anniversary that Onslaught set out to celebrate by touring the world in 2016 (and of which we supported the European leg during the Thrash Mercenaries Tour 2016)
It took three years to follow up on "The Force", and here, ladies and gentlemen, is an epic example of how the music industry can destroy a band. Because of the success of "The Force", Onslaught was signed to London Records, a major semi-independent label at the time and one of the biggest in the UK. The label decided that the band needed a new vocalist, and despite the band having another opinion, they changed the frontman and made the sound much more polished. “They [London Records] wanted a British version of Metallica” said Sy Keeler to our frontman. Subsequently the follow up record was much different from the first two, especially "The Force", and fans were disappointed, which led to poor sales that contrasted greatly with the intense pre-release publicity the label had given the record. Poor sales led the label to drop the band, leaving them without a contract, after ruining their career. Eventually this also led to the band's break-up in 1990, a classic example, again, of how clueless music industry people can destroy a very successful band.
The band reunited in 2005, and later released the highly acclaimed “Killing Peace” (2007) album, followed by “Sound Of Violence” (2011) and their latest “VI” (2013). Refusing to be a nostalgic band, these releases have defied the limitation of the Thrash genre, and have been classified by many as the benchmark of “Modern Thrash”.
During our 16 days of debauchery with Onsalught on tour, we met these kind gentlemen:
Nige Rockett: Apart from being the mastermind behind Onslaught, as a main composer and lyricist and Rhythm Guitarist, Nige is a quiet fellow, maybe quiet is an understatement! More accurately, Nige is a mystery, yet a pleasant one. He keeps to himself most of the time, but would never refuse a conversation. He’s extremely supportive and a pure soul.
Sy Keeler: We’d expected the monstrous voice of Onslaught to be an angry, threatening figure of a person. But other than the fact that he is very tall and very well built, Mr. Sy is just a sweetheart. WHAT? Can’t a metal god be a sweetheart?! At age 54, his voice is incredible, from guttery devilish growls to high pitches, Sy's got it all. His knowledge of music is vast, in all senses of the word. His sense of caring about everyone around and urge to help, his calm and soothing presence, and his eternal smile make you feel a deep yet unexpected sense of serenity.
Jeff Williams: THANK GOD FOR JEFF. This is what we can say about this incredible person. Jeff joined Onslaught as Heavy Armoured Infantry (Bass Guitar) in 2006. Jeff kept the tour fun at all times, from endless (and sometimes embarrassing) challenges that he would set us up to do on stage, to the sheer fun and laughter that we had. He was the first to listen to Blaakyum’s album in its entirety and give us critical feedback. Jeff was there for us all along, watching our every show every single night, and guiding us towards showmanship. Jeff is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to music industry and band management know-how. His feedback and guidance were essential for Blaakyum and in fact, transformed us from a local act to something much better. It is because of Jeff that this tour went from a lot of fun to tons of fun!! And we are up for the next challenge mate.
Mike Hourihan: Mike is Onslaught’s Artillery commander-in-chief (Drummer). His drumming prowess made him sought after by many bands, and he is currently performing with two other bands: Desecration, and Extreme Noise Terror. Mike is an incredible and relentless drummer, which is evident; what is not evident, is that he has a degree in Astrophysics!!!! FUCK, what a blow to the stereotype image of a Metal rock star!! Aren’t Metalheads and Metal Musicians supposed to be marginal illiterate idiots (nudge nudge Middle Eastern society)!? What a sad day for social conformists.
Iain 'GT' Davies: Iain is the newest and the youngest member of Onslaught. Taking over the Lead Guitar role, Iain joined Onslaught in 2015, though most probably Iain has been around before then, as when we were watching Onslaught’s DVD “Live at the Slaughterhouse”, Iain makes a brief few seconds appearance in the documentary that was filmed in 2014. Iain can be usually found in the backstage areas strapped to his tablet, learning and learning whatever he can, and practicing on his machinegun (Guitar). He is tons of fun on stage, and when we shared the stage with Onslaught, Iain and Rabih were usually spotted cracking facial jokes and messing around!
This, ladies and gentlemen, is as we said just the tip of the iceberg of what it was like to be around the almighty Onslaught. This has been a great privilege for Blaakyum, and will probably remain one of the biggest highlights of our career.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Thrash Mercenaries Tour 2016 Chronicles Part 3

Today on Thrash Mercenaries Tour 2016 Chronicles, we have the Finnish Melodic Death Metallers Mors Principium Est… If you are wondering what this Latin phrase means, it's “Death is the Beginning”--this being in line with the Finnish personality as the country is filled with dark and cold gloom for 6 months of the year, which defines a lot of Finnish bands’ musical path.
Sadly for this tour the original MPE Drummer and Bassist couldn’t make it due to personal commitments, and their Rhythm guitarist left in 2014. That leaves the band with 2 original members, the wizard Andy Gillion, from the UK, and hellish vocalist Ville Viljanen (cowabunga!!). But the supporting sessionists were incredible as well, and loads of fun: we have Guitarist Tomy Laisto (Tomy was an official member of MPE from 2007 till 2011, will he join back?), Bassist Toni Tieaho and Drummer Liro Aittokoski. Tomy lived up to national expectations by having the darkest sense of humour on the tour. Andy was the one we got to know the most, musically and otherwise. There is something very touching about his melodies, they ensnare you and enchant you (watching Mors Principium Est during the tour became a regular ritual especially for our Drummer and Manager). We also spent many a late night hooked on Andy's surreal humour.
As for the Finns, unlike what you might imagine Death Metallers are like, they were an extremely calm and relaxed bunch off stage. But on stage they just seemed to come from another realm altogether, morbid, melodic and crushing!
It was not till the last day of the tour, before they disappeared into the darkness, that we finally had the time to chill out properly with these amazing guys… thanks to the great cataclysmic socialiser: BEER... but certainly not before witnessing Toni's hilarious 70s-inspired dance moves during the all-band stage invasion on Onslaught's set (more on that to come) \B/
This was Blaakyum reporting from the aftermath of the Thrash Mercenaries Europe invasion of 2016.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Thrash Mercenaries Tour 2016 Chronicles Part 2

Next on Thrash Mercenaries Tour 2016 Chronicles, we have No Return. This amazing French band plays a mix of Death and Thrash Metal, with guttery vocals, intricate guitar work and virtuoso solos. Apart from that, they are just a crazy bunch of motherfucking party animals.
It needs to be mentioned that they never were short of support for us, being there in the front row during most of our shows cheering for us. And in true Metal Brotherhood spirit, they helped us set up before almost every gig.
Geoffroy Lebon, the Rhythm Guitarist, was there for us whenever we needed him, setting up before the show and making sure we did not forget anything after it, and he was the one who helped our Bassist Pierre contain the damage of our camper-van after the misfortunate accident we had. On stage he is a monster of a performer.
It was the birthday of the Twins (the Bassist and Drummer) during the tour; that would be the great David and Joël Barbosa respectively, they too were a helping hand when it came to stage set up (thanks, guys!). Alain Clémentthe lead guitarist; we recommend that he insures his fingers, because it is such a sensation when he starts those lead licks. Mick Caesare is the vocalist from Hell. Other than his morbid vocals, he and Pierre were most of the time the ones setting up the back and side drops for all the bands.
Speaking of our bassist, it became evident, since he also is French, and considering that he spent so much time with No Return, that apparently being a party animal is in the French blood. Every time we lost Pierre, we found him somewhere going crazy with the French dudes!!
NO RETURN thank you for all the help and good times \B/.
This was Blaakyum reporting from the aftermath of the Thrash Mercenaries Europe invasion of 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bassist Rany Battikh departs from Blaakyum replaced by Pierre Le Port

It is with a very sad heart, that we finally have to announce the departure of Mr. Rany Battikh from Blaakyum. This is what Rany had to say:
"All good things must come to an end. I am saddened to announce my departure from Blaakyum after almost 10 years of service. Bassem and I reformed the band back in 2007 and we went through so many line-up changes but our strong belief in Blaakyum kept us going. I clearly remember when we were composing and arranging songs for our debut album, we would rehearse relentlessly, almost every day, then we would sit and envision the band “making it” out there. Since 2007, we had to re-build the band a few times, from the ground up. That slowed us down quite a bit, but didn’t stop us from fulfilling our ultimate goal of taking Blaakyum to the next level, playing abroad, releasing albums, keep on doing what we’re passionate about the most in life.
Now that I’m leaving Blaakyum, I can look back to the past couple of years and safely say that the band is accomplishing the vision that we had in 2007-2008. We toured Europe & the Middle-East more than once, met some of our idols, shared stages with them and most importantly delivered our music across the world.
To Blaakyum friends and fans in Lebanon, you guys are the best. You know, whenever I heard bands saying they couldn’t make it without the support of their fan-base, I always thought that’s bullcrap. I was totally wrong. Just seeing everybody enjoying themselves at our concerts drove us to outdo ourselves every single time. The energy that we have on stage is as real as it can get and it’s directly related to our crazy audience.
The “Journey to Eternity” has to stop for me now. It has been one hell of an adventure. Due to time conflict, I can’t commit to the band anymore. The last thing I would want is to drag the band down. I wish my brothers in Blaakyum the best of luck in their future endeavours and it has been a pleasure to perform and compose with past and current members of the band.
I’ll be working on some new music for the moment so be on the lookout for that."
We wish Rany the best in his life choices, may he know success always.
This is what our Forntman had to say:
"Rany has been my brother in arms ever since I decided to reform Blaakyum in 2007. In fact I can safely say that Blaakyum was in reality born in 2007. He has been there for the band and me all along, other than his incredible musicianship and unbelievable composition skills, he was a beast on stage, but also, a very very dear and close friend. I will surely miss his presence on stage next to me, and wish him success in whatever enterprise he will take. But the show must go on. And we are very excited about the new possibilities and fresh ideas and thrust that we are having with our new bassist Mr. Pierre Le port. Pierre saved Blaakyum at its darkest hour, and his dedication and sacrifice has been paramount for our success in our Europe tour with Onslaught. We are now composing our new album and we can't wait to feel the impact of this new change in the band sound and direction."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thrash Mercenaries Tour 2016 Chronicles Part 1

The dice are cast and things are on the rise. That is how we are feeling at the moment. Before we start with a small tour chronicle, it is very important for us to thank those we shared the road with, because this has been an incredible experience. It is very possible that few years from now, we will look at this tour and still feel the same goosebumping feeling we are having now. So without further ado, Blaakyum would like to thank:
Lina Khatib , our incredible manager and dream maker, there is no other way to say this, we are here because of her.
Jeep Moncorger, the tour manager. We heard a lot of stories about how opening bands are treated horribly on tours, and how they are practically totally neglected. This was not the case with us; Jeep was such a caring person, we will never forget how every night Jeep would pass by our campervan more than once to make sure we are comfortable, every now and then he would "smuggle" us some goodies, never refused us a request, and was always ready to help despite his overwhelming job of taking care of everything.
Andy Maguire, the bus driver, or as his tag said: “Holy Driver”. This goes out to all touring bands in Europe: If you want an incredibly skillful, efficient yet safe monster of a driver, who also happens to be lots of fun and a joy to have around, look no further, contact Andy. It was a privilege getting to know this magnificent man.
Ludo 'MADTRASH' Petit, Ludo is an aeronautic mechanical engineer who volunteered to be the merch guy on the tour. Blaakyum has gained a great friend. Other than the fact that he is extremely practical and efficient in what he does, he is great to have around. Thank you Ludo for handling our merch, we are forever grateful.
Olivier Didillion. Although Olivier was not tasked with handling our sound, he did intervene few times to help the local venue sound engineers with our sound. Olivier was really funny and kept the spirit relaxed, and also he was there for us on stage when things went horribly wrong with the drumset during our show in Sczcecin, thank you so much buddy.
Those were the behind-the-scenes people who worked so hard for 16 days to make everything happen.
The list is still at its beginning so, and as to not make endlessly long posts, we will continue our thanks in the next one…
And here is the wonderful end of tour picture with No Return, Mors Principium Est, Onslaught, us and the guys we mentioned here
This was Blaakyum reporting from the aftermath of the Thrash Mercenaries Tour invasion of Europe.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Lebanese Metal in Wacken 5/5

31st of July 2015 W:O:A Metal Battle results were announced.
On this day last year, Blaakyum planted a landmark in the Lebanese Metal Scene, and for Middle Eastern up-and-coming bands, by winning 3rd place at the Wacken Open Air Metal Battle 2015.

The German Broadcasting corporation Deutsche Welle DW made this report about Blaakyum and we are delighted to share the full version with you now after the preview two days ago.

This came before Blaakyum made headline news on YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, after the band's historic performance at Tuska Open Air 2016 in Helsinki.

Blaakyum is proud and humbled to have already been featured on two major European broadcasters, in addition to breaking the media silence of the major Lebanese TV stations after the win at Wacken Open Air Metal Battle, as Blaakyum became the first Lebanese Metal Band to ever be featured in prime time news on Future TV and MurrTV and also the first Metal band to be interviewed live on Orbit, pan-Arab satellite channel.

Watch DW's report as it follows Blaakyum's pilgrimage in the holy land of Wacken!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tuska, That One Moment

This is our first official article after our Tuska Open Air concert in Helsinki, Finland. The reason for the delay is that we were simply overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the beauty of Finland, by it being the land of Metal, by the response we had from the audience who mostly did not know who we were and yet embraced us. During our Tuska set the audience were amazing, but it wasn't until we finished our set, and saw the reaction of the crowd as they cheered us goodbye that we realised that Finland has welcomed us with open arms. Here is a small video about our time on stage, make sure to watch the end so you would understand what we will never be able to say in words.

Also make sure to read the translation of a Finnish review about our set on our facebook here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

'Line Of Fear' Artwork and Tracklist

Track listing:
01. Crossing
02. The Line Of Fear
03. Wicked Revelation
04. Destined To Rise
05. Baal Adon
06. Religion Of Peace
07. Freedom Denied
08. I Am Who I Am
Bonus Track: Riot Against Riot (Available only on first edition CD)

Thursday, June 09, 2016

LINE OF FEAR Album out June 25th 2016

After our debut in 2012 we are more than happy to announce the release of our second album Line Of Fear, on the 25th of June 2016. 
The album will be available on all online stores, you can pre-order your copy from, iTunes, or any other outlet starting from now.

We Are Who We Are

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Riot Against Riot released online

Riot Against Riot is now available on iTune,, Spotify, Shezam and almost all other online music stores.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday, April 01, 2016

Our Frontman's feelings about the upcoming tour with Onslaught...

Our frontman Bassem Deaibess had an emotional moment when he received the news that Blaakyum will be supporting Onslaught in their 2016 Mercenaries of Thrash The Full Force tour... Here is what he had to say through his personal facebook page:

It is rather embarrassing to admit that I only discovered Onslaught in 2013... And that is a shame. But as their guitarist Nige told me when I admitted this to him in an online conversation back then, better late than never... Since the second my ears heard the following words, "Spitting blood in the face of god" and the mayhem that followed it, I have been hooked and the spell has never been lifted...
I am cursed to love this band and never stop being amazed at how freshly modern yet utterly Thrashy they sound. If anyone has followed me since 2013, you could see that I have on several occasions stated that Killing Peace is the one album I would listen to from start to end without skipping a single track.
Ever since that discovery, Onslaught became a band I relate to in every aspect. Usually when you are young, you tend to be fanatic about bands you like for various reasons, but rarely is maturity a part of it. But when you are well into your middle adult age, if you then feel towards a band the same way you felt towards Metallica back in the 80s or any such band that we fell for when we were teens, then you know that you are fond of this band because it kicks ass. My mature love for Onslaught seems to have no end.
Why this long introduction you say? Because I never imagined, for the life of me, that at any point soon, something like this would happen. I mean in 2013 we performed at MetalDays and Onslaught was on the bill, and we made it clear that we performed in the same festival, we wanted to have our name next to those UK-facemelting-Skullcrushing-Thrasher giants. But to now realise that we will be touring with them, well... words cannot truly describe how I feel.
I think I can be content that I have two huge highlights in my life so far: performing with one of my Idols, Zak Stevens (Vocalist of Savatage) ), when opening for Circle II Circle, and now touring with Onslaught (check them out at Onslaught official).
After years and years of struggling to perform, to write Metal music, to try to live the broken dream of every Middle Eastern Metal musician, all this has paid off... The journey has just began, and I can never be more grateful for all the support we have received from our local Lebanese scene (despite the haters) especially from Metal Bell MagazineYMeventand Rockring, and the support and encouragement we received in Wacken Open Air's WOA Metal Battle, but most of all, the people whom Blaakyum will always be indebted to: Samer DeaibessDany Deaïbessand the incredible Dream Maker, our manager Lina Khatib
WE ARE the Middle Eastern Thrash Mercenaries \m/
See you on the road and check out Mors Principium Est from Finland andNO RETURN from France, whom we will also have the honour to support on the Thrash Mercenaries Tour 2016

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Blaakyum on Europe tour with Onslaught

Click on poster to enlarge
Ever since we discovered Onslaught, this cult Thrash band has been an inspiration for Blaakyum. So imagine our thrill that the bulk of our second album “Line of Fear” tour will be to accompany no other than Onslaught on their tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their iconic album “The Force”!
We will be on the road with Onslaught as well as the amazing Mors Principium Est from Finland and NO RETURN from France for 16 days this autumn. Yes, 16 shows in 16 days in 8 countries, driving over 5000km as Thrash Mercenaries all over Europe!
The Thrash Mercenaries / The Full Force tour will take us back to familiar grounds like Progresja and Randal club where we performed on our first album tour in 2012, and many other awesome venues in Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Slovakia, Belgium, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Check out the full list here and see you on the road!
16/09 - Hasselt (BE) / Muziekodroom
17/09 - Oberhausen (DE) / Helvete
18/09 - Rotterdam (NL) / Baroeg
19/09 - Roeselare (BE) / De Verlichte geest
20/09 - Weinheim (DE) / Cafe central
21/09 - Hamburg (DE) - Bambi Galore
22/09 - Copenhagen (DK) / KB18
23/09 - Gdańsk (PL) / B90
24/09 - Szczecin (PL) / Słowianin
25/09 - Warsaw (PL) / Progresja
26/09 - Košice (SK) / Collosseum
27/09 - Wien (AT) / Viper room
28/09 - Graz (AT) / Explosiv
29/09 - Bratislava (SK) / Randal club
30/09 - Praha (CZ) / Modrá Vopice
01/10 - Dresden (DE) / Skullcrusher
Stay tuned for more “Line of Fear” tour dates!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Lebanese Metal in Wacken 4/5

The Pilgrimage: this is a short 14 minutes clip capturing our moments during our pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Wacken Open Air Festival... we hope you enjoy it.

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