What is oriental metal? This is one of the first questions we get when introducing our band IGNEA. Perhaps, this genre is not as clear and well-known as death metal or metalcore, but still it has its representatives, key features, and listeners.
Oriental Metal Bands
According to Wikipedia, oriental metal is a sub-genre of folk metal. So, if you are aware of, let's say, what Celtic metal is, then you'll probably come up with oriental metal understanding as well.
In fact, Orphaned Land, a progressive metal band from Israel, was the first to play music combining heavy sound with Middle Eastern style, traditional elements coming from both Jewish and Arabic folk music. Thereafter, the world saw the formation of Melechesh. This time guys mixed black & death metal with Middle Eastern melodies. Later on, Myrath from Tunisia joined the rows of oriental metal pioneers by bringing up prog metal with Arab & North African melodies. They have even toured with Orphaned Land in Europe.
Well, you got it. Oriental metal = any kind of metal + folk eastern melodies/instruments/scales.
If interested, check out the following bands to get more idea of this music genre (the list is not in the sequence of importance, just what comes to mind first): Arkan, Arallu, Narjahanam, Aeternam, Arsames, Sand Aura, Acyl, Al-Namrood, Amaseffer, Al Qaynah, Salem, Born of Osiris, Nervecell, Rudra, Odious, Khalas, Shokran, Ouroboros and others. Browse the web, and you'll definitely find more.
By the way, there are also many metal bands who are often releasing oriental metal tracks, or even albums. Check out Amorphis (Perkele, Shades of Gray, Death of a King etc.), Moonspell (Under Satanae), Lamb of God (Embers), Opeth (Derelict Herds, Slither), Sabaton (Stalingrad), Symphony X (Charon) etc.
Controversies around Oriental Metal
Some people believe oriental metal is something different that described above. There are adherents of metal with Chinese and Japanese traditional influences. Those stand for such music to be called oriental metal. Another wave of adherents insists that only those bands that come from Middle East can be called oriental metal representatives, meaning that origin and geographical location specify the genre, not the music. But, as you can understand, a band from Iran is free to play absolutely usual thrash metal without a glimpse of Middle Eastern elements. And, in my opinion, it doesn't make this band oriental metal.
Anyway, these versions also have a right to exist, and we are not the ones to lay standards for people's minds.
What about IGNEA?
IGNEA is an oriental metal band from Ukraine. Each of our tracks includes oriental flavors, more or less. It can be a Middle Eastern instrument, such as bouzoukitara, played by Yossi Sassi on our single Petrichor, or just a distinctive scale like in Planet War song.
And though we are not born in Middle East, the music we play comes right from our hearts and souls. And yes, it is heavy and has an oriental framework.
In the upcoming posts, we will continue speaking about oriental metal, focusing on particular bands, news, instruments, and specs. Stay tuned!
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