Interview conducted with Omar Zainal of Hellionight!
How and when did the band start, were you in any previous bands prior to starting Hellionight? It started back in late 2015 when I had a couple of riffs and ideas for songs that sound different from my current band "Smouldering In Forgotten". What made you decide to start the project as a one man band? I had the idea of a certain sound that I wanted to create. So instead of starting of as a band or just jam until something came up, I wanted to do this differently and went ahead with the writing of these songs. Later recorded them and had something I can present rather than explain an idea. Now that the others are in the band, will you be playing live or perhaps head straight back in to the recording studio in order to capture the band as a unit? Yes, that was the intention of having a full band. To prepare for a live show as well as have dynamic writing sessions as a 3 piece. How long did you work on the songs for the EP before hitting the studio? It was a slow process of writing the music, it took a couple of months to finalize the songs before recording them in April 2016.
You come from the Bahrain Islands which are not exactly well known to the average metalhead, according to the encyclopedia metallum their have been I believe a total of 11 or so bands who play metal from the islands and out of those only about half are still in existence. Is there a big scene or demand for metal in Bahrain? There is no big scene in Bahrain, it's just a handful of bands. As mentioned in the Encyclopedia Metallum or Metal Archives, half those bands are not actual bands but rather home studio projects and are most probably not even active. We do have a few more bands that are active but do not have anything released yet, which is the problem with Metal Archives not accepting any band submission unless a physical release is out. Digital does not work either.
How do the local autorities and people generaly view metal, is it an accepted form of music? We did have minor issues with the authorities at some point, not directly related to the bands, it's more of an event issue. People however do not necessarily accept this kind of music being active in Bahrain, but that's also changing year by year. It must be difficult to find like minded individuals or places to play? It's not that difficult to be honest with the help of the Internet. And also, since Bahrain is very small, there are barley strangers in the metal scene. The band are unsigned and you released the EP independantly is this the general route bands on the islands take? Yes. Unless otherwise a band gets picked up by a label. But not having a label is not a stopper to independently releasing material. How has the repsonse been to the band so far? Quite well for a first release! What is next on the agenda for the band? We are in the process of writing new material and rehearsing for live shows. So the agenda will be playing live and releasing another EP or something. What are your short term goals? I would say performing a local show as mentioned in the previous question. What are your long time goals? Long term would be shows abroad. How long have you been into metal, what sparked your interest? For around 18 years if I'm not mistaken. The aggression and heaviness of the sound is what attracted me as well as the guitar playing. What does metal mean to you? It's what keeps me sane in the daily grind.