The Headbanging Moose talks to the leader of Algerian Death Metal band Lelahell, Redouane “Lelahel” Aouameur, about their new excellent album, their plans for a world tour, his full-blooded passion for extreme music, as well as the current state of Death Metal in Algeria. Support Lelahell or die!
The Headbanging Moose: First of all, congratulations on the release of your first full-length record, Al Insane... The (Re)Birth of Abderrahmane. Could you tell us a little about how Lelahell was born and how difficult the band’s path was until this album became reality? What were the easiest and the most arduous parts in the recording process of the album?
Redouane “Lelahel” Aouameur: Thanks for your great support! And for giving us the opportunity to talk about our music and our band!
Lelahell is an Algerian Death Metal band founded in 2010 by me (Lelahel) and started first as a one man band. One year later it was joined by Slaveblaster (drums) and Nihil (bass), two talented musicians from the band Barbaros.
In January 2013 we started to record drums of our first full length album, two months later we started the recording of bass and guitars. The vocals were recorded in August 2013 just before our first tour. After that I was going to mix and master the album, but it was difficult to find a suitable sound for our music which was the most arduous part of the recording process, so we decided to search for a producer, and by the time we could find someone for that we were already in December 2013. The album was mixed and mastered by Ivan from Athropocide Studio from Belarus. He did a great job, this guy is very patient and talented! But very slow lol! Because the album was finalized in March 2014.
The easiest part was the writing process because it was something very natural and without any stress, everything came from our guts!
THM: Songs like Al Intissar and Hillal do not only offer the fans the traditional Death Metal they’re looking for, but they also carry some interesting and relevant message in their lyrics, especially in regards to the Algerian culture. Can you tell us more about how those songs were created and what they truly mean for you?
Lelahel: “Al Intissar” is an hymn to victory and all against those fuckin’ losers who complain all day long without doing anything from their lives. Move your ass fucking assholes! It was the first written song of the album, and maybe the most interesting.
The other song, “Hillal”, has a more philosophical concept and it is about the interaction of the human with the nature. The main riff is taken from a melody used in a song called “Into the Past” from our first EP, and played differently. And maybe we will do the same thing in the next album?
THM: Another song that caught my attention in Al Insane… The (Re)Birth of Abderrahmane was Mizmar, which also contains elements of the Arabic culture. Although you’re a traditional Death Metal band, are you considering one day recording any songs that are more connected to your country, and consequently less brutal, like the acoustic and tribal songs Sepultura added to some of their albums in the past?
Lelahel: Maybe just an intro or a prelude of a few seconds, we are a Death Metal band not a folk or other kind of metal band. The main concept of Lelahell is brutality through melody!
THM: How much do you think that singing in French is beneficial to your music? Don’t you think that the French language can become a barrier for Lelahell to enter the North American and European markets, which are more than essential for the survival of any band?
Lelahel: In general we don’t sing in French, we used French in only one song, “Hypnose”, and we used also Spanish in “Hermanos”, a song from Al Intihar (our first EP). Maybe we’ll use Italian, German or another language in our future albums. We just do that in one song only in each release, it is the trademark of Lelahell! But in general we use English, Algerian and classical Arabic in our songs, and I don’t think that it will be a barrier to enter the European and American markets! Nowadays many known bands use their native language in their music.
THM: This topic might be a little delicate, but many people believe that the African continent, in special its Islamic countries, are not a place for Death Metal or any type of heavy music. What’s your opinion about that? Have you ever suffered any type of discrimination inside or outside Algeria because of your music and origin, and if so, how do you deal with this type of issue?
Lelahel: I play metal for more than 20 years, and never got any problem in my country, I think that you have a false idea about our countries which is transmitted by your media. Outside Algeria we played in many Europeans countries (France, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Malta), I also played in Belgium and France 10 years before with my previous band Litham, all without any problem.
THM: What can you tell us about the Death Metal scene in Algeria? How does it differ from the state of Death Metal in countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, Brazil and Japan?
Lelahel: We can’t say that there is a Death Metal scene in Algeria. Actually there are only a few bands which are active. And the main problems are the lack of places for playing and rehearsing! This is why bands disband after 2 or 3 years of existence.
THM: What are your tour plans now that you finally have a full-length album to promote, and how are your fans and first-time listeners reacting to your new songs at your live performances? Are there any specific songs that are receiving more positive feedback than others?
Lelahel: We played a few weeks ago at the Malta Death Fest, it was the first gig after the release of the album and we got very positive feedback from Maltese and many European death metalheads! The song that received more positive feedback from all listeners is actually “Kalimet Essir”.
Our next plan to promote the album is an Euro tour planned for December of this year booked by Axa Valhalla productions from Romania. The confirmed dates are in Germany, Switzerland, Poland and maybe France. Stay in touch for more news!
THM: Who are your biggest idols in music, and to what extend have those bands or artists influenced what we can hear in your debut album? And did you consider recording a cover song of any of your main influences in Al Insane… The (Re)Birth of Abderrahmane or did you feel the album should have been 100% original, just the way it ended up being?
Lelahel: We don’t have any particular idols, but we have two main sources of inspiration: everything which is related to Death Metal and all brutal stuff, and the second is our local music. With those two things we can write more than 100,000 albums, no?
In my opinion no one can be 100% original in music except if you are living in another planet!
THM: How do you see the future of heavy music in Algeria and in the rest of the world, especially in regards to Death Metal, a music genre always marginalized by the vast majority of the society? In addition, do you believe the Internet has been having a more positive or negative impact on your band and on Death Metal in general?
Lelahel: Back to the early days: the tape trading and paper zines and such things, when the people where more supportive to small underground bands buying demos and going to small shows! Nowadays things have really changed, people prefer to spend thousands of bucks for going to a festival with big bands instead of 3 or 5 to support their local band. The internet has its benefits because it is really easier for a band from all around the globe to spread music and all info than before, but the technology and mp3 really killed the charm of music. People became lazier!
In the future I think that things will go on the same way!
THM: Thanks a lot for your time. Feel free to send a message to all true Death Metal fans all over the world, especially to the ones here in Canada that are starting to enjoy the music by Lelahell.
Lelahel: Thanks a lot for your great support! And stay brutal!
You can purchase our album from our webstore.
SUPPORT LELAHELL OR DIE!!!