Heat after heat, we’ve been covering this year’s GBOB with event reviews, jury interviews, and local band merchandise stands. It was an exciting competition to say the least, some bands left disappointed while others impressed the judges and made it to the finals, but the most important thing of all is that there’s no shortage of good bands in our local Rock/Metal scene. Finally, a big kudos goes to RockRing for giving local bands a chance to be recognized on an international level by participating at the GBOB 2011.


In aim for diversity, three LebMetal.com staff members have participated in this review: Patrick Saad, Amer Alameddine and guest member Kareem Chehayeb from Kuwait-based band Voice of The Soul.

  • Limelight

With their song ‘Rain On’, Limelight had the perfect ambient setup on their side, as it was actually raining at the Amphitheater. Sadly, the odds weren’t in their favor, although the band has an international appeal and can definitely make it in the music industry. I hope that they’ll still seek out even better opportunities in the near future! – Patrick Saad


Limelight’s members are some of the youngest among the local bands; nevertheless, their skills surely surpass some of the older musicians around. They had a catchy Alternative Rock sound, and played their song flawlessly. The highlight of their act was when it started to rain as their vocalist sang “Rain on Me”; a potential rain song perhaps? They pulled off a good performance, and were well-received by the crowd. Regardless of that, they didn’t make it to the final round, but with more experience and practice, they’ll definitely have a better shot next time. – Amer Alameddine

Limelight put on a pretty good show! I enjoyed their song, and thought the band was tight and that the singer had a great voice. They lacked a bit of spark, though the rain pouring when they sang “Rain On” was pretty awesome. I hope they keep going because they were really promising! Definitely one of the better bands of the show! – Kareem Chehayeb

  • Episode

I gotta tell you, this band is the real standout amongst all bands participating in this competition. They are definitely meant to play in an outdoor setting, and they really stepped it up during both rounds. I ditched my wild card choice (The Passive Standouts) and put all my money on Episode (a significant 500 L.L bet with other LebMetal staff members). Sadly and unexpectedly, they didn’t win the title. Nevertheless, I see a bright future for this professional band and I’m sure they’ll raise eyebrows wherever they go. On a side note, the LebMetal.com stand had numerous requests for Episode CDs. – Patrick Saad


Episode’s style was very unique; a mix of Progressive Rock and Classical music. The trio includes a violinist, a bassist and a drummer. They’re technical in every sense, and their approach to music is very distinctive. They pulled off a flawless performance and managed to qualify to the final round. However, one of the reasons I believe they didn’t win is the fact that their music focuses a bit too much on one aspect: the violinist’s soloing throughout the majority of the song. A little more variety in their composition would’ve surely given them a better shot at winning the title. – Amer Alameddine

Episode are really talented. They did very well, but I felt like the violin overshadowed the rest of the instruments, but I thought the bass and drums were one of the tightest rhythmic units that night. They have a lot of good things coming up for them (maybe bring in a keyboard player too?) , but I didn’t think they were the right fit for Global Battle of the Bands. I am looking forward to an album by them though. – Kareem Chehayeb


  • Arctic IX

Opposed to Episode who had the most focused songwriting in the competition, Arctic IX were good musicians without an overall musical message to deliver. Their song had the riffs, the ambient, the effects, you name it, but it didn’t have solid songwriting. It’s fair to mention that some of the band’s members participated in several other bands during the 7 heats, so with proper preparation, Arctic IX should really polish their songwriting and show us some great instrumental music at upcoming shows. – Patrick Saad


These guys were the second instrumental band at the event. However, they leaned more towards a combination of Progressive Metal and Djent; from the keyboard solos, to the low-tuned seven-string riffs, their song packed a lot of variations. They even included a reggae part at some point. Even though they had quite a lot to offer, they lacked smooth transitions between the different parts of their song, so it wasn’t very consistent. – Amer Alameddine

I was a bit disappointed by their performance; I’m not one to say that songs should follow a strict structure, but their should be a backbone to a song. I didn’t feel like they had one with the song they performed. I don’t know much about them, but from what I saw, they all have incredible talent. They have to get a bassist at one point or another and refine their song-writing. I saw some really awesome riffs and solos fly around though. It’ll be interesting to see what these guys can come up with later. – Kareem Chehayeb

  • The Passive Standouts

After naming these guys as ‘GBOB 2011’s wild card’, I was slightly unimpressed by their performance at the finals, they definitely sounded way better during heat 6. Even after their second round performance, I thought that they had little chance of going all the way, because they were in my opinion overshadowed by no other than Episode. However, the jury members chose them as winners of the competition, and I hope that they would represent us well at the GBOB 2011 world competition. Best of luck for this trio! – Patrick Saad


The Passive Standouts’ energy and flair made them the perfect candidates in the judges’ eyes to represent Lebanon in the global competition, and I totally agree. These guys were tight! The high tempo and liveliness of their music was complemented by their stage presence and crowd interaction. Out of all the seven bands, these guys seemed to have the full package to qualify them as winners, primarily because their music targets a wider audience, and they deliver it with great attitude. Good luck to them at the world GBOB, I’m sure they’ll do well. – Amer Alameddine

They were deserved winners, in my opinion. I saw them play in Nova for Heat 6 and they just had something that I really enjoyed about them. They’re really tight and have this fresh sound that unites Punk, Indie, and Thrash (though Thrash does come from Punk). All in all, they had a fresh sound, and I can’t wait to see how they do in London. – Kareem Chehayeb

  • Homemade

For a second there, it almost looked like Homemade were already chosen to win this competition. Their performance at heat 7 was nothing less than spectacular, and I was almost certain that they were the obvious candidates to win the title, according to the jury members’ specifications mentioned in many of their interviews. Homemade didn’t win the competition, but I don’t believe that will stop them from reaching their musical goals. – Patrick Saad


Homemade’s sound was a nice blend of Rock and Funk, and they seemed very well-prepared for the show. The judges liked them, and so did a lot of people in the crowd, and they ended up qualifying for the final round. It was a very close competition between them and the two other bands in the finals, so at that point it seemed a bit difficult to assume who’d take first place! – Amer Alameddine

It was really close between them and Passive Standouts to me. Homemade were incredibly professional and tight live as well. I really preferred the songs they played that had more elements of Funk and Jazz in them as opposed to the second song which I thought was good too, but had a sound that was way too overdone. I think if they focus on defining their sound, they’ll do well. I think they really excel their songs influenced by Funk Rock and Jazz. – Kareem Chehayeb


  • In Sanity

In Sanity also had a perfect setting for their show, with the Harley Davidson bikes on stage, and the whole Judas Priest setup with those leather outfits. Perhaps the band wasn’t the most eager for the title, but I don’t they think cared much, they had an enjoyable performance and so did we. – Patrick Saad


It was pretty clear to everyone that these guys lived up to their name with their performance. They were really fun to watch, and they played their music with no mistakes. However, I thought their song was too traditional in its structure, and it sounded like too much like a typical Heavy Metal song. – Amer Alameddine

In Sanity were pretty insane to say the least. I think they have great stage presence and know how to work a crowd, but their song didn’t really blow me away. However, they’re all incredibly talented and entertained us that night, especially the horn. – Kareem Chehayeb

  • Nocturna

After winning heat 5, I noted that Nocturna, regardless of their performance and musicianship, would not have a chance in the finals due to the competition’s ‘requirements’. While that turned out to be true, it’s fair to say that Nocturna played one of their best shows to date and have proven to be a solid Metal band that can handle big stages and bring intensity to the crowd. Looking forward to hearing that album. – Patrick Saad


This is probably one of Nocturna’s best shows by far. The majority of the Metal fans in the crowd gathered in front of the stage during their performance to cheer for them.These guys were easily one of the tightest bands of the night; their performance and musicianship were spectacular. I was disappointed that they didn’t make it to the final round, but it was inevitable because of the judges’ requirements. Still, these guys have a promising future ahead of them. – Amer Alameddine

I haven’t heard much from Nocturna before, but I knew they were the standout band in this situation. They honestly had one of the best performances that night. They were fully prepared, rocked the crowd, and had some cool riffs going on. The way they blended melodic death metal, doom, and black metal was just really cool. It’s a shame they didn’t make the top 3 because I thought they put in a great performance, but with the way the audience responded to them, I think they knew they did a great job. I was very pleased with them. – Kareem Chehayeb

  • Blaakyum’s Guest Appearance

Lebanon’s 2007 GBOB winners Blaakyum went on stage before the second round of this final, and put on an average show when it comes to their own standards. There was just no spark in their performance, largely due to technical difficulties with the sound. However, as always, Blaakyum’s main man Bassem Deiabess passed down his political/social messages during the performance and fired up the young and hungry metalheads who still had the energy after two explosive performances by In Sanity and Nocturna. Hopefully waiting for Blaakyum’s debut release! – Patrick Saad


Blaakyum’s performance as 2007’s Lebanese representatives in GBOB was great. Although they had a few technical difficulties that held them back a bit, they managed to captivate the crowd and delivered one hell of a show. It was quite obvious why these guys won four years ago; their experience shows well in both their musicianship and performance. – Amer Alameddine

Blaakyum put on a great performance and it really showed why they represented Lebanon in 2007. They were full of energy and managed to play cleanly as well. The experience definitely shows when a band can sound extremely tight as a unit while showing off their individual skills, whether it’s Bassem’s versatile vocals or Elias Njeim’s crazy solos. It was definitely a good experience checking them out. – Kareem Chehayeb

Make sure you get your tickets for the upcoming Beirut Rock Festival 2011 on September 2nd/3rd. More info on that here.