A band that emerged in the 1990s with a long history, being one of a kind at that time. After a long hiatus, Osiris are back with a kickass track – which you can listen to here – RockEra had a talk with them, to know where they have been and what are they up to.
First of all, thank you so much for having this interview with us. We are thrilled to have you back on the scene. Let’s start with the most awaited questions:
- Where have you guys been the past 20 years?
Scattered and caught in life. Osiris disbanded in 1998 due to a few reasons. Firstly, the metal scene was shut down in Egypt after the January 1997 incident. Secondly, ex drummer Shaadie Eric Khoury left the country and it was very hard to replace him. Thirdly, life happened. Naturally as things are in Egypt, we started university life and had no venue to perform music anymore. The flare died as did the extreme metal scene dream along with it.
Life separated the members’ locations and priorities. The internet was not prominent back then and the idea of an online project was not viable until much later.
Around 2012, ex drummer Shaadie contacted me through social networking and suggested we rerecord the old demo in better quality. It was an intriguing idea, something we always wanted to do since the demo was so poorly produced in 1997. Somewhere within, we had always wanted to redo Osiris properly. The idea sparked but not all the members were available. Things did not take off until late 2014 when it was feasible for me to commit.
- How did you prepare for your comeback? Were there any obstacles?
We started by contacting the original members to revive Osiris as an online project but some were not interested and others could not commit. The next step was to search for musicians to fill the vacancies.
Both Shaadie and I had been away from Egypt and from the revived metal scene, we only knew people in our generation who more or less were already preoccupied with their own bands and projects. It was pretty hard to come across musicians from a different generation with the same mindset at first.
Time passed and unfortunately Shaadie could not continue with Osiris, making me the only member left. The largest obstacle was finding a suitable vocalist. I started to do countless auditions over a couple years. The wait was definitely worthwhile when I was introduced to Scott in May 2017 thanks to a good friend.
- Let’s refresh people’s minds a little bit, who’s new and who stayed?
Scott Taylor is the only new member. Others are guest members. Ashraf El Ziftawi helped us produce the single “Forgotten Stones of Time” released last June, a very talented sound engineer and was a great honor to have him with us.
For this upcoming comeback album, we will be featuring Walid Waked and Miral El-Husseiny, both talented and inspiring vocalists. Patricia Gonzalez-Peña, a talented musician is helping with piano takes and some voices as well. It is a great honor and pleasure to be working with them.
- How did the new members meet?
We met online through common friends thourgh social networks. A modern day blessing.
- More than two decades ago, you guys formed an important stage in the history of the Egyptian Metal Scene, how did the idea of composing your own originals come along? What were your main influences?
Composing was a hobby for me from a young age. I started metal prior to graduating from high school. Back in the 90’s, there were plenty of bands and concerts. Going to gigs like “Marlboro” and watching Egyptian greats: Steele Edge, Legacy, Viper (later Vyper) to mention a few, inspired me to start my own band. Being on stage as a metal band was such a cool thing to watch as a kid, I had to do it as well. From there I searched for members and eventually met the members of the original line up.
In terms of musical influences, well that’s a long story but to make it short, my personal influences are orchestral and extreme melodic, symphonic and atmospheric metal styles.
- What are the influences of Osiris’ music and how do you think you guys developed musically through the past 20 years?
Originally, our influences vary as the original members come from different backgrounds. I personally come from an orchestral and somewhat classic music background, thus I always tend to combine metal with orchestral aspects to create a more dynamic musical expression.
The Egyptian element, which was still unique back then, was mainly brought into Osiris by ex-keyboardist Tameem Abu El-Ezz. His addition was significant and his style added to where I lacked. Together, Tameem and I shaped the musical direction of the demo “Storms from the East” released in 1997. Ex-vocalist Tariq Fahmy and ex-drummer Shaadie Khoury took our music to another level as well. Ahmed Samadi did the bass.
The new Osiris is musically and conceptually more mature. Scottis a vocalist with a spectrum of extreme vocal styles which was crucial and suits an expressive style of metal.
Osiris in the past had always been mainly about the ancient Egyptian civilization and what it entails; nowadays an overused theme. Our new material is more about the dark side of human elements, inner and external struggles with self and society, self-confrontation with emotions of pain, anger, hate, solitude and depression etc, symbolically discussed through an ancient Egyptian context lyrically.
Many comment that Osiris is a black metal band but for me, our music has always been more progressive. It depends on the track. “Storms from the East” is not really a black metal album; the tracks are different in style. It is the same for the new material, some are black metal oriented because the theme demands it. Others are more melodic, others have doom elements; it is different for every song. Genre is a cage while music is a bird, it needs to fly freely.
- You announced that you are working on full-length and you released a new single – congrats – tell us a little bit more about the process and your musical themes.
It has been four years since Osiris has been actively making content. We discussed what would be the right thing to do; whether we should release a revamped “Storms from the East” first or do we add new tracks to it. Finally we came to the conclusion that releasing only new material would perhaps be the most sensible thing to do as Osiris is now reborn and is different compared to what it was.
The single “Forgotten Stones of Time” is one of the tracks in the upcoming album. The album is now in the last stages of recording, production has already started with George Nerantzis, who has done great work with Abbath, Dark Funeral and a whole bunch of other great bands. We are confident George will make the best out if the tracks, he is putting in so much passion for us.
Recently we revealed another track from the upcoming album called “Of Hate, Passion and Eternity”. We wanted to do that because the wait has been long since the release of the previous teaser.
- Will the album be out on CD or on the digital platforms?
- Did the feedback after releasing the new single meet your expectations?
To a certain extent yes. Given that we have never performed before, the feedback has been amazing.
- In your point of view, what is the difference between the 1990s/2000s metal scene in Egypt and now?
For one, there is more freedom now believe it or not and by that I simply mean that there are venues for metal music, may it be one or two, it is still better than none as it was in for us when we started.
Regarding the difference, I cannot answer this question properly as I myself took a long break from the metal scene in Egypt but it seems that nowadays people are making originals and this is fruitful.
Artists should express what they feel freely, it’s natural. You don’t really get anywhere presenting something that isn’t yours.
- Let’s get a little bit personal, who are you favorite Rock or Metal bands that are currently on the scene?
Crescent, we go way back with those guys, friends and brothers. Scarab, truly a talented bunch, they have been very supportive to us as well. Odious,Mascara, Ahl Sina, I am not familiar with all the bands honestly, but Veritatem Solam, Nathyr, Sin Prophecy, so many out there now and its great. The recent Metal Blast was great as well, I enjoyed watching it from afar. Scott did very well with Al Azif.
There always has been lots of amazing talents in Egypt back then and now. Its natural, Egypt is culturally rich naturally and the society is a mess so there is plenty to express. All these artists put in a lot of effort to keep the scene going one way or another and that’s what it all about. It’s not a competition of skill, popularity or style, it’s about keeping it alive and that takes a lot of work. Everyone deserves respect and recognition in that regard.
- Any come back concert, perhaps?
Not yet planned but for sure it’s something we want.
- What are the long-term plans after the album?
Well after the album, we should be preparing to perform somewhere. Otherwise, continue making music and exposing it globally.
Keep writing and keep releasing, preforming, touring.
- Final words to your fans?
A very deep gratitude.
So many people have been supportive since we announced that we are returning.
Truly, thank you for the long wait and never forgetting Osiris for more than two decades. We are back stronger than ever! Hope you enjoyed the single and lookout for another pre-album teasers! Comeback album this year!
Welcome back guys!