What’s the Story?
Blaakyum is a veteran Lebanese Metal band, founded by Bassem Deaibess in the summer of 1995, five years after the end of the Lebanese Civil War. The Metal scene in Lebanon rose from the ashes in the mid-1990s, and Blaakyum was at the forefront in the battle for proving that Heavy Metal can exist in the Middle East.
Blaakyum’s sound is a unique blend of Thrash, Heavy and Groove Metal infused with Middle Eastern and Levantine folk music vibes, a nod to the band’s origins and influences, coming from a country that straddles eastern and western civilizations on the south-eastern coast of the Mediterranean and with members inspired by Metallica, Testament, Overkill, Annihilator, Onslaught, Slayer and Iron Maiden, just to name a few, along with oriental music Icons such as Fairouz, Sabah and Marcel Khalife.
Winning Lebanon’s Battle of the Bands in 1997, Blaakyum released its first single, “Am I Black,” in 1998, at the height of the anti-metal witch hunt conducted by the Lebanese religious and political authorities, who considered anyone affiliated with the scene a national threat, and during which the band’s founder and frontman, Bassem Deaibess, was detained and jailed simply for being a Heavy Metal musician and fan.
Blaakyum was one of the first Lebanese Metal bands to have their music played on national radio, and gathered a faithful following that continues to grow. In 2001, the band played at Lebanon’s first Rock Nation festival, at which the whole of the 2000-strong crowd sang along to “Am I Black,” knowing the lyrics by heart.
Lebanon’s dire economic conditions and a mixture of personal and health problems that hit the band’s members meant that Blaakyum was then forced to split. Deaibess continued to perform with other bands but many of the Lebanese Metal scene’s members were forced to emigrate in order to make a living. In 2006, war hit Lebanon again, destroying much of its infrastructure (electricity, water, roads), which remains in disarray.
But by the end of 2007, Blaakyum was back with fresh new members that Deaibess picked from the talented new generation, and won the Lebanese Nationals in the Global Battle of the Bands (GBOB), representing Lebanon in London—the only Middle Eastern and only Metal band in the competition. Among 3000 bands that participated in the GBOB and 35 finalists, Blaakyum earned a respectable 7th place.
The following year, Blaakyum entered the studio to record its debut album; a process that took more than four years to be completed due to Lebanon’s deteriorating economy and the lack of Metal-friendly studios and rehearsal facilities. The band finally managed to release the critically acclaimed “Lord Of The Night” on Friday the 13th of January 2012.
Despite the revival of the anti-Metal witch hunt and Deaibess’s second detention, as well as the worsening political and security situation in Lebanon, Blaakyum set on the “Night Lords” tour that took it all over Lebanon as well as Egypt, and that made it the first Lebanese independent unsigned band to organize its own East and Central European tour, performing in Metal Heads’ Mission 2012 in Ukraine, MetalCamp 2012 in Slovenia, and playing gigs in Slovakia (Bratislava – Randal Club) and Poland (Warsaw – Progresjia Club). Blaakyum subsequently performed on the main stage at MetalDays 2013 (formerly MetalCamp) and began working on its second album.
In 2015, Blaakyum became the Middle East winner of Wacken Open Air’s Metal Battle.
Bassem Deaibess – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Rany Battikh – Bass Guitar
Jad Feitrouni – Drums/Percussion
Rabih Deaibess – Lead Guitar