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Middle Eastern Magic: Sand Aura – The Sand Aura

For me, Sand Aura puts in all the elements that I love most in prog metal – fire, passion, extraordinary musical variety, excellent and deep clean and dark vocals, changes of tempo, almost operatic passages in counterpoint to powerful driving melodies, and that delicious flavour of Middle Eastern spice. Listening to an album by this band is good excercise for the skin, too – all those goosebumps increase its flexibility.

The band is from Egypt. I love them for more than their fantastic music. They are admirable musical ambassadors. In describing the concept behind their music, they say: “We are all humans, and [we believe in] the unification of all cultures, religions and historical backgrounds of the new age’s concept.”

You’ll find Sand Aura on Facebook. Get to know them better. They’re more than worth it. They may be at the other end of my continent but they make me extra-proud to be African.


Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2011, #8 – #5

MetalCatThis has nothing directly to do with my hit parade except that good singers don’t use AutoTune. Today I heard something so ridiculous that my beard grew inwards by a few centimetres. Dark Metal Cat laughed so hard that he vomited on my desk.

Get this… “What’s wrong with AutoTune? Why shouldn’t singers use electronics to make their voices sound in tune? Your bands use electricity to make their guitars sound loud.”

If you don’t happen to know what AutoTune is, the Mammal Dictionary defines it as “something that makes you vomit on your desk.”

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2010, #4 – #1

MetalCatProg metal dominates the top of my personal 2010 hit parade. That makes sense since I deeply love progressive rock in its many forms. Metal which is partly influenced by prog structures naturally strikes many chords in me.

The three types of prog metal today are very different, covering melodic, Oriental and the more avant-garde styles. As far as I’m concerned, a lot of symphonic metal (thank you, Therion) is also laced with prog.

Dark Metal Cat likes anything laced with catnip.

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