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Beneath Eternal Oceans of Sand – Kurdistan’s first death metal band

Notes From KurdistanNotes From Kurdistan

By: Susakan Fadhel – 

Death metal, that most notorious sub-genre of heavy metal, has finally clawed its way into the Kurdish music scene.

Metal has always been controversial in its own right, but when death metal was pioneered by American groups such as Death and Possessed in the 1980s, critics were quick to dub it the ‘new evil’.

In recent years, Kurdish music has witnessed a variety of new genres influenced by western styles. Electronica and rock count among the newcomers, along with death metal, distinguished by its deep, growled vocals, blast beat drums, and heavy guitar riffs.

On a personal level, I have been very happy to see the recent diversity of the region’s music. Let’s be clear, traditional Kurdish music is not simply going to fade away, but it is always pleasing to see different musical genres catering for different tastes.

One year ago, Sulaymaniyah hosted a concert featuring a group called Beneath Eternal Oceans of Sound. At first I didn’t pay much attention to this news, but when I heard the words ‘death’ and ‘metal’ in the same sentence, I immediately decided to find out more about the band.

Beneath Eternal Oceans of Sand, or BEOOS for short, are a Sulaymaniyah-based death metal band, and when I contacted the group, I discovered the frontman was none other than an old friend of mine, Mir Shamal. BEOOS, Mir told me, were formed in 2009, and take their name from a song lyric by American death metal group Nile. Mir chose the name, he said, because it “represents all the elements of life”.

The band consists of Mir Shamal (guitar and vocals), Drood Salam (drums), Goran Saleh (bass), and Muhamad Moosavi (guitar), and according to the members, their songs fall under the category of ‘Mesopotamian death metal’, with mythology and religion a big influence on their lyrics. BEOOS have covered songs by a number of bands and, more recently, have released their own single, “Temples of Fire”, and are now working on their first album, entitled “Whores of Babylon”.

BEOOS have expressed their desire to play gigs beyond their home city, but say that for practical reasons that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. The band insist they are not in the music business for money, and are just doing what they are passionate about. When asked about the group’s plans for the future, Mir simply stated he plans “to keep this going as long as possible”.

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