Narjahanam “Undama Tath’hur Al Shams Min Al Gharb” (2008)

Once the name and CD art had set in, I pressed play and was not disappointed. Epic and mystical keyboards lead into the Middle Eastern fuzz-blast of the opener Taht Alamat Al Najoom. Imagine if you a will, Nile cavorting with old-school euro-death, all overseen by the Jinns of lo-fi symphonic black metal. The production is slightly hissy, and a little subtle, but clear enought to make out the wonderfully enchanting melodic instrumentation. The vocals are also classic death metal (closer to the greek school in my opinion).The songs groove along morbidly, with the blasting used sparingly (thankfully). The more one delves into the album, the more the atmospheric brutality of the music works it magic. It also shows that what bands like Nile work hard to do, is this duo’s birth right. All the song titles are in Arabic, with english translations provided. The moodiest of the lot are tracks 4 and 5 (“Al Jihad” and “AlShar Waljan”). Listen to this stuff alone in the dark and its guaranteed to raise hair.

The drum programming is nicely handled, getting the job done and almost sounding live in places. A lot of middle eastern percussion is hidden in the layers, and adds nicely to the ambience. I imagine with one of those new-fangled crystalline production jobs it would have warped minds, but as it stands, its still a classic underground atmospheric death metal album, that shows a surprising level of maturity in composition and technique. “Rajat Al Mowt” also has some great dark lead and keyboard trade offs, with suitably layered slow riff work and the ethnic sounds. “Hurrob Al-zaman Al Akhir” has a great arabic percussive and string section that only a band like this would have the nerve to put in a death metal dirge. Astounding, and it works well !

I wish lyric sheet was included for the Arabic dirges ,with or without translations (I know around 30-40 % of the language), because since the song titles refer to traditional (apocalyptic) Islamic and Arab mysticism, it would have been interesting to know what Mardus was growling about. It sure as hell is not about the cleansing power of prayer ! I have never heard Arabic (which is a beautiful and truly ancient language) sound so evil.

If they find a producer who can harness the power of this duo’s mind bendingly dark compositions to a production job that makes a little more punchier, wihout resorting to the by-the-numbers modern metal production, they will undoubtedly come out as one of the reigning kings of Middle Eastern metal. It is always a pleasure to behold unique original metal from different corners of the world, and here’s to Narjahanam for a job well done.



Release:  2008
Label:  Haarbn Productions
Avantgenre:  Arabian Black Death
Duration:  50:31
Origin:  Behrain
Official site:
Review online since:  02.08.2008 / 17:15:36


1- Taht Alamat Al Nujoom
2- Laheeb Al Nar
3- Al Jihad
4- Al Shar Waljan
5- Rayat AlMowt
6- Nehaya Wa Bedaya
7- Huroob Al Zaman Alakheer
8- Yowm Al Maw’oud
9- Al Aukhira

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