The growing power of heavy metal to transcend any and all physical borders around the world and infiltrate underground subculture is a marvelous thing. Take Jordan's Rabbath Ammon for example. Jordan is one of the focal points of Middle Eastern culture, and it has a long, storied, and rich history which predates Christianity by centuries. In all of this history, very few metal bands have manifested themselves as visionaries of the extreme inside of Jordan. The talented duo known as Rabbath Ammon (a rough phrase that explains the band comes from Jordan, or as it was known prior to conquest by the Roman legions, "Amman") look to rectify this, and after finally tracking down a copy of their 2005 demo (self-released in typical D.I.Y. fashion) I'm thinking they could easily put Jordan on the metal map.
I say all of this as Rabbath Ammon are surprisingly fresh, unique, and talented. Interestingly enough, the band have developed an original take on the classic, traditional thrash of bands ranging in scope from Megadeth to Iron Maiden (their most obvious influence, or at least to my ears). To further spice things up, the band employs "blackened vocals," hypnotic chants, and the occasional snatch of melodic singing too. These portions of black metal have a distinctively Mediterranean feel to them, not unlike various Greek or Italian black metal bands. It all adds up for a distinct sonic attack that lyrically tackles typical metal subjects, but doesn't mind showing off some intense nationalistic pride by reciting tales of Jordan's history and lore.
Things switch into gear with opening cut "The Stellar Sophia." The song opens with an introverted, melancholy lead of slow melodic leads. Leaving this in the dust shortly thereafter, the song soon launches into a blistering, full-speed-ahead gallop of traditional metal. Guitarist Fadi plays catchy, old-school riffs that are chock full of memorable harmonies, and lead vocalist/bassist Hanna alternates between blackened roars and quiet, reverberating spoken passages. The wicked "Disciples of Cain" has utterly incredible riffs, the likes of which carry the song to great heights. The soaring glides of the chorus produce a feeling of epic wonder in the listener, and the percussion on this track in particular is strong and ferocious. I'd call "Crown of Sand" the pick of the litter here, as it's vaguely Middle-Eastern, clean opening notes mesh perfectly with the taunting riffs later paired with it, and a Megadeth worthy breakdown later on will give headbangers all over the globe a nice case of whiplash. The final song, "The Sign of Evil Existence," is a cover of the Rotting Christ song of the same name, and is from that Greek outfit's Thy Mighty Contract album. Truthfully, the cover is mildly anti-climatic, being short but sinister, not really exploring the vast wealth of technical prowess the band posesses.
Fans of golden age heavy metal (either the English NWOBHM or the American Bay Area Thrash periods perhaps) will find much to their liking here, with a fresh twist or two. Apparently, other people have heard this and seen the potential the band has within them; as of this writing, the band is working on completing their first label EP, for the famed underground French imprint Legion of Death. Said EP will be out this summer and comes highly recommended by this author. If you like your metal fast, epic, and catchy, you can't do much better than this crisp, well-played, and strangely enticing demo. Do yourself a favor and check it out!
1. The Stellar Sophia
2. Disciples of Cain
3. Crown of Sand
4. The Sign of Evil Existence