Have you ever wondered what Kataklysm would sound like, if they hadn’t created Ex Deo but a bit more aggressive side-project with an oriental touch? Nah, I know you haven’t, me neither. But there is an answer to almost every question – even to the seemingly stupid ones.
Lelahell from Algiers may not be Kataklysm, but they play a groovy, brutal and oriental form of death metal, enriched with some melodic and some groove parts. You can even find an orchestral instrumental, called „Thou Shalt Not Kill“. All in all it sounds like Kataklysm, Nile, Melechesh – and in some points even Behemoth or Vader – had a big party.
To be honest: The mixture and style – including i.e. the mystical lyrics – are nothing new nowadays, but they function quite well. The songstructures are well thought through, without getting too repetitive. (And in my opinion they do a better job as Crescent from Cairo, Egypt on their new album „The Order of Amenti“, where the songs don’t sound that flawless.) Speaking drumwise: A lots of blastbeats combined with groove-parts, several oriental rhythms here and there and a straight double-bass part sprinkled in every now and then. Then come the guitars, where the riffing is fat and groovy, the harmonies are oriental style, but mostly quite simple and – like the guitar solos – pretty convenient to the songs. Not to forget about those parts, where it sounds clean with a charming melody, i.e. at the beginning of „Litham (The Reach of the Kal Asuf)“. To get a fatter and even more modern sound, an eight-string guitar is used in some parts, which can be heard quite well in the low guitar-parts of „Insiraf / Martyr“ and „Adam the First“.
The grunts are pretty deep, too, but quite understandable, while the screams are not that high-pitched, but less understandable. (The grunts are the reason why I could identify, that Redouane Aouameur – also called Lelahel – sings at least in english and french.) And here’s another point, why I spoke of Kataklysm in the first place: Lelahels’ voice reminds me of Maurizio Iacono, but it sounds a bit less powerful than Maurizios’. That’s a pity, because a bit more power could have been better for the atmosphere of the songs at this point and the screams also could have been more understandable. But that’s only peanuts, regarding the album as a whole.
All people involved in it did a really good job, whether it be as musicians or in the recording and mixing process. The musical part is played good, mostly tight, especially the drums are pure death metal dope. And not to forget the production, that is fat and has a high resolution. Pretty fine stuff! So let’s take a look who contributed to this album.
Lelahel is not only the head of Lelahell, on „Alif“ he plays bass, guitar, sings and last but not least he recorded all of his own parts. Hannes Grossmann, who actually plays with Alkaloid and Hate Eternal (and formerly played with Obscura and Necrophagist, only to name a few), could be engaged as session drummer and also recorded his own parts. Last but not least Sławek and Wojtek Wiesławski, from the polish Hertz studios, are responsible for the mixing and mastering process. So it really is no wonder, that the production is that good, as they already did a lots of the fine Vader, Behemoth, Hate and Decapitated albums, for example.
All in all „Alif“ from Lelahell is a groovy and blasting death metal album, with oriental melodies and roots. The song structures, the instrumental parts and the whole production lie on a really high level. Sadly, the vocals and the originality are a bit underneath, but as said before: That’s only peanuts, regarding the whole album. This album is nevertheless a well done piece of death metal, that shouldn’t only whet my appetite for more.