Ostura (meaning ‘Legend’ in Arabic) is a metal band from Lebanon 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 great bands in the Middle East of this style. Influences: Nightwish, Stratovarius, Rhapsody, Avantasia, Kamelot, Symphony X, Film Music (Mainly John Williams) http://soundcloud.com/ostura/ http://www.facebook.com/osturaband/ Read more on Last.fm
- From the archive
- “The Room” Artwork
- Interview with Elia Monsef (vocals, production)
- You’ve been away for around 3 years, tell us what you’ve been up to during that time.
Directly after the release of the first album, the band was reformed and new members were brought in. Immediately musical ideas started to move around between the members. I shared an idea for a concept story with Danny and he did his first composition. We took it from there and we’ve been writing, composing, recording, mixing since. Now we are doing our best to present the album in its best form so people would enjoy it fully.
- Let’s dive into the new album, does it follow the sound from your debut album “Ashes Of The Reborn” or did you develop a more refined sound, perhaps something more Prog Metal and less Symphonic (I got an insider in your band). That being said, what are the main influences behind the music?
I wasn’t in the band when “Ashes” was being written, Danny and the boys already had their vision at the time. Being involved with this new album early on, I had enough time to explore some new options for sound. Also everyone involved matured and acquired new tastes… I mean we all matured musically and sonically. So yeah, when the writing team is different you’d expect a different vibe naturally.
The sound is MASSIVE, from Brutally heavy sounding riffs, to incredible drums, to cinematic sections, we did it all. We experimented a lot with arrangements, and managed to make it sound fresh and ass kicking. It is very progressive this time, with insane tempo changes and time signatures, synths, movements, themes and so on. One thing we made sure to keep was keeping the music listenable and memorable rather than being technical.
We expanded our horizons sonically this time, we went for a full live orchestra. Several ethnic instruments were used, percussions, electronics, it was lots and lots of fun.
In terms of influence, there was a ton of film scores that came out while we were writing which would draw our attention to a certain sound or a detail. We absorbed everything and spit it back out the way we see it should be. When it comes to music bands, Ayreon were always a good place to calibrate, Disturbed, Pain of Salvation, Tool, Olafur Arnalds, Woodkid, OSI, Dhafer Youssef, Prodigy, Infected Mushroom, and even the soundtrack for Frozen 😉
Also we decided to mix with Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Haken, Symphony X, Angra, Sepultura, etc), the guy is the best in the business and we flew over to Sweden back in December to work on the mixing and mastering. We couldn’t be happier with our sound.
- “Ashes Of The Reborn” was a concept album with an entertaining fantasy storyline. Should we expect the same level of storytelling from the new album? Describe its lyrical theme for us.
I think it is safe to say that this time the concept and the story are as complex and intricate as the music. For this album we wrote the story first, and then we scored it as a film/musical.
The story deals with very human elements described in a somehow unconventional way. We wrote about the wonders of the human mind, ever so expanding and growing and capable of incredible things, yet so fragile and difficult to fix once broken. The Room tells the story of a social recluse girl who takes refuge in an empty room. Through her imagination the room becomes a world of her creation where she is God. Once the creations gain awareness, comes the conflict between the creator and the created and the internal struggle between the girl and her broken mind. so yeah, darker, more philosophical and we let go of the traditional European Metal themes.
- From a composing and recording perspective, what was different this time around?
Danny and I handled all composition production and arrangement. We then worked with Guitarist Alain Ibrahim on the rhythm guitar parts and with Alex Abi Chaker on the drum parts. During that phase we saw that is was best to hire a new bassist to replace Marcelino Said. Logistics and Alex’s sudden work trip to USA had us work with an international Drummer (we’ll announce the name soon 😉 ) singer Tony Ghanem also had to be replaced with an international Singer after some unfortunate medical complications with his voice.
Early on we tested several formulas and combos for writing and we found that the best working formula would be if Danny and I write arrange and produce, and we would later work with every musician on his parts taking everything to the next level. We decided that Power metal isn’t what we are passionate about.
Danny is a world-class film score composer, and I’m making my way in the international Prog rock/metal scene. We decided that these elements are our strong points and we should utilize them to the max. Once that barrier is crossed, everything came into place beautifully and the chemistry was flawless.
Original singer Youmna is on the record with the some amazing performances. Alain also kicked so much ass on Acoustic and Rhythm Guitar.
The best thing about this recording was the fact that we now have our very own professional studio (The Citadel in Dlebta Keserwan). Having your own studio removes the pressure of the clock ticking during recordings. This allowed us to get the best performances out of everybody involved. We had all the time in the world to be as anal as we wanted.5- Is there going to be an album release event? How will the album be available to fans both in Lebanon and internationally?
We are still looking at distribution deals as we speak. So far it has been very unfortunate how the music business looks at bands that aren’t already touring. The live event is unlikely at the moment due to how big this production is, yet we are still looking at options as to what is the best way to give the people the music they want to hear, yet maintaining a part of the business side. To say the least this is the most “not fun” part of making an album. However, the album will be available locally and internationally very very very soon.
- Your first show “The Live Opera” was well attended and gave local fans a long-awaited live performance. Are you planning on more shows following the new album’s release?
This is still being discussed internally, the production is huge and it is a nightmare to get everyone involved with you on the road. A nightmare we are ready to handle with a big enough fan base of course.
- Last year saw great exposure for Lebanese Metal music with BLAAKYUM releasing their critically-acclaimed album “Line Of Fear” coupled with their performance at Wacken. Do you see OSTURA making it on the international stage in the near future?
We’re just making music that we love, wherever this may take us we’d be grateful and happy 🙂
- Any last words for OSTURA fans?
We can only promise an amazing journey when they pick up the new album. We put our hearts and souls into it and we hope the energy passes through to them.
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