In a world where Metal IS truly global, come Ostura, from the not so glamorous metal scene of Lebanon. I'm one lucky puppy being involved in a scene that is truly remarkable and being part of a friendly club of people, that no matter who they are, or what they do, or even where they live and breathe, all have the same gene in their DNA that loves Heavy Metal/Rock etc. Call the genre what you may.
Most people would associate Lebanon with Phoenicians, inventors of the alphabet, which writers like me would be well and truly fucked without. Ostura (meaning 'Legend' in Arabic) is a metal band that has recently finished recording their first album: Ashes of the Reborn.
Ostura's lyrics represent an epic tale in a fantasy world, and their music is a blend of melodic and progressive symphonic influences that defines them as one of the best bands in the Middle East of this style. Want a comparison? Think Kamelot, blended with Avantasia and that should explain the style and content
The idea of the Ostura project first started when Chris (Naimeh) approached Danny (Bou-Maroun) in May 2009 with lyrics, and asked him to write the music. It later turned into one big collaborative project between 15 people, including the 3 main vocalists Tony, Elia, and Youmna, who are now members of the band along with Chris and Danny. In August 2012, they held auditions for a guitarist to replace Elie Hnein, who had to leave the band to live in Texas. After a long search, they found Alain Ibrahim, who joined the band later that month. The different vocal timbres along with the variety of moods and variations in their music blend together perfectly to take the fans on an epic musical journey. Ashes of the Reborn is Ostura's first concept album, and it tells an epic story (hence the band name Ostura).
The quality on offer here stands out immediately, with the male vocalists in Elia Monsef and Tony Ghanem blend and entwine throughout the whole album. Throw in the enchanting and delightful vocals of Youmna Jreissati and Ostura have all the emotions for a concept album completely covered. A hero, Galeron (Ghanem) was chosen by The Druid (Monsef) to fight the evil dictator, The Tyrant (Clala of growling guttural vox). Assisted by the Ancestral Spirit (Gabriel) and guided by The Oracle Jreissati), Galeron uses the Sword of Erus to confront and defeat The Tyrant.
Ashes of The Reborn gets off to fine start indeed with the heavy and powerful A Warrior's Tale, and Ostura set out there stall for the rest of the album, light and dark, heavy and melodic, etc. Sword of Erus complete with metal opera choir lifts the standard higher and the song is a 'sing-a-long-a, tankard in hand' anthem. The instrumental King's Crowning with a light keyboard intro building itself up to this crescendo that would fit perfectly into a Lord of The Rings movie setting. On Hills of Glory has a cutting, heavy riff and powers along to be the best of the album so far. Youmma Jreissati shines like a beacon on the stylish Tears of Paradise a delicate piano intro and a really nice duet. Folk metal comes to the fore for The Gathering, building its intensity as the track progresses. The metal orchestra wades in before the chugging guitars kick-off of for Infernal Hymn, all taking part in this true metal opera, where we see The Tyrant making his appearance known to the listener with increasing tension, depth and power. All good stories/opera's/concerts have to come to a conclusion and Ostura do this in style. With Ashes of the Reborn the whole ensemble throw in the kitchen sink - great guitar work, power chords, and the vocalists all shine once more. A fitting end to a very decent debut album
I know that Lebanon is not what you would normally expect for a power metal band, but Ostura will certainly be putting themselves and their region on the global metal map. If the debut is anything to go by, Ostura have a very bright future ahead of them. If you're a fan of Euro style Operatic / Power Metal/ Melodic Metal (Kamelot/Avantasia/Rhapsody of Fire), then look no further than Ashes Of The Reborn
Chris Naimeh - Drums/Lyrics
Danny Bou-Maroun - Keyboards/Music Composition/Arrangements
Elia Monsef - Male Vocals
Youmna Jreissati - Female Vocals
Tony Ghanem - Male Vocals
Jack Hayek - Bass
Elie Hnein - Guitars/Co-Music Composition [Former member]
Sami Gabriel - Male Vocals
Etienne Chlala - Growl Vocals
Wissam Tabet - Choir/Co-Keyboards
Naji Safiti - Choir
Michel Doumit - Choir
Wissam Saliba - Choir
Hady Barhoush - Acoustic Guitar
Rayan Seif - Violins
The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Karim Sinno at Mixdown Studios.