Hello Friends, Today I have the pleasure to talk to Blackhour, a Heavy Metal Band from Pakistan, very cool stuff.
Hi guys, let’s talk a little about the beginnings of the band. How was Blackhour created?
Blackhour was the brainchild of guitarist Hashim Mehmood and Hasan Rauf (ex-member) who got together in college to do music and do something that was non-conventional with their axes. Through a lot of ups and downs and line-up changes, BLACKHOUR saw its current line-up, which also recorded and composed the first debut album Age of War, in late 2009.
As a band which plays heavy metal in Pakistan, where the music industry is mostly dominated by pop-culture native language musicians, we had to go through quite a lot of struggle to get where we are today and this would not have been possible without the local and global Metal Community and our fans all across the globe.
What differences are between your first album and your new work “Sins Remains”?
The first album was the one with which we sort of started to discover our sound and hence it was more riff oriented and really aggressive on the vocals, plus the socio-political situations in the country and the war on terrorism being at its peak during that time, a lot of content was driven with angst and raw emotions.
For this new record, ‘Sins Remain’, we decided to experiment on the sound and tried to translate what we had learned and developed over the many years since the first release by channeling the emotions and the ideas with a more progressive feel to the music, we even experimented with Rubab (a native pakhtun stringed instrument) in the title track… this has never been done before… So yeah the new album is more music oriented with a mix of both aggressive as well as more melodic vocals to showcase the range of Mr. Tayyab Rehman
I like very much the stuff in this album. Creative, technical, dark atmospheres and melodic tunes, a lot of variety in your music. What do you think?
We were indeed going for a similar theme of variety in our music, and the fact that you can hear all those elements in our new songs makes us proud that we have achieved what we had aimed for.
Blackhour has an international sound, do you think you will play in Europe some day?
Growing up all of us watched the really massive metal festivals in Europe and amongst other things, this is the dream of each member to play live in Europe and show the people not just in Europe but all over the world that metal exists even in a place like Pakistan..
So to answer your question, yes we really hope to play in Europe one day very soon J
How was the design and creation process of the album?
The writing process had begun way back, just a couple of rough ideas here and there. We didn’t want to make it a big album consisting of 10 or more songs.. So we were happy with having 5 good tracks but catering the newer sound of the band.
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, each musician contributed a song to the album, giving it a unique taste for the fans out there. Hence it definitely ranges from, melodious metal, rock to progressive and even experimental.
We recorded the album at our own studio and later got Fahad Humayun, a good friend from Bracket Productions to mix and master two initial tracks and later after their video releases we got the remaining three tracks mastered by Saiban Khaliq a very close friend and who did an excellent job on the album.
The album sound is raw, live and reminds you of an old time where it was all about playing your heart out and not literally killing the sound by making it more than perfect. So overall we all were really happy with a different sounding record.
And obviously as songs were being finalized, our artwork was being designed also. The entire album art, booklet and everything was done by our friend Asim Salman from Deztopia, putting in brilliant ideas and his efforts to making it possible.
Finally it was all underway and thanks to Mr. Kunal from Transcending Obscurity from getting the album the recognition it truly deserved.
In your opinion, which are the stronger points of the band?
In a nutshell, playing live. This band is all about performing live for the friends and fans out there. And we really like to experiment with our live shows, like recently at our album launch show in Pakistan, we carried out country’s first ever Theatrical Concert, where while the band performed the album live, actors came on stage and visualized the concept of each song through theatrical performances.
What are your musical influences?
For all of us it varies from heavier stuff to soft rock even.. From bands like Judas Priest, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Guns & Roses, Alice in Chains, Slipknot, Black Sabbath and more.
My Favourite Song is Battle Cry, what is yours?
For each member there is a particular song from the album, but between all of us, Sins Remain, the title track is our most favorite!
It usually varies from song to song, or album to album.
The old record usually talked about the horrible things that were happening all around us, in our country and outside. The newer sound talks about more of the social issues and existential crisis that a person faces in exploring who or what that individual is… and the eventuality is that we are nothing more than whatever we do in this world, the words and sounds and the impacts we leave behind.
How do you see the current scene of Heavy Metal in your country?
From the time that we started out, the heavy metal scene was very insignificant but over the years the underground metal community of the country, the fans and fellow bands alike have really gone out of the way in arranging shows and making metal music more prominent. Today the venues are bigger (growing from small coffe shops), live sound is massive and fans attending these shows have grown… So it’s pretty amazing the Heavy Metal scene in Pakistan, still small but we’re getting there.
And keep a look-out for the amazing shirts that are coming out soon!
What are your future plans?
We have already started working on two new singles. Probably going to work towards the third album. Alongside that playing shows within our country and if we are lucky enough then probably an international tour this year.
Thank you very much and congratulations for your great work. If you wish to add something, go ahead…
Thank you so much for your support and taking the time out to interview the band and helping us reach a wider audience J