Interview: Scarab

In short terms, we were shedding skin and reviving Scarab and being revived along with it with a new identity that is evolved enough to mark a new era in our journey, we were surviving the storm without falling as martyrs ourselves.

Egyptian death metal band Scarab mix technical and traditional death metal sounds with lyrics that tell tales and history of Ancient Egypt and all the mystery that surrounded it. With the imminent release of Scarab’s new album Martyrs Of The Storm, Gavin Brown had an extensive and very informative chat with the band’s vocalist Sammy Sayed to get the lowdown on the new album and its creation and themes as well as hearing all about the bands history, influences and what is next for them.

E&D: Hi Sammy, Your new album Martyrs Of The Storm is out now How did the creation and recording of the album go?

Sammy: Greetings all the way from Giza/Cairo, Egypt, this is Sammy Sayed speaking on behalf of the band Scarab. Writing the music was mainly based on a collaboration between Al Sharif Marzeban and myself, we believe Scarab to be an entity, and we are but mediums that are channeling and receiving the music from the heart of the source and delivering it out to the masses. Unlike our past releases the recording of Martyrs Of The Storm was done in several different studios. The main guitars and some of the lead parts were recorded at Subliminal Audio Productions Studio in Cairo, Egypt by Al Sharif Marzeban and our former guitarist Stephen Moss. While the drums were recorded at El Warsha Studio by our drummer Amir El Saidi in Giza, Egypt, very close to the Necropolis area where the sphinx and the pyramids of Giza are. The vocals were recorded at Noizz Studio, Giza, Egypt by myself. While all the guest musicians recorded their guitar parts in their countries. The mixing and mastering were all done in Noizz Studio by Ahmed Abdel Samad who ended up joining Scarab on bass guitar. Working on this album in particular was like opening the gates of a stormy hell that we had to endure until the end, and we came out of it with the greatest of knowledge and experience.

E&D: Does Martyrs Of The Storm follow a similar musical path to your last album Serpents Of The Nile?

Sammy: Let me put it this way. If our first release Blinding the Masses was the sound of outer anger rage of individuals that are revolting against boundaries that is suffocating them, Serpents Of The Nile would be the sound of an inner revolution; a journey of one state into the another through initiations that leads to the understanding that ‘things change around you when you change within yourself’. While in Martyrs Of The Storm we deal with the extremity of emotions fearlessly in order to reach this liberating change we spoke about in Serpents Of The Nile. We face the darkened parts of the human psyche and we deal with the human psyche as if it is a cosmos that resembles constellations and beyond, even beyond time and space, as above so below, as within so without. We dive into the great maze of chaos within the human psyche, it is the abyss of knowledge, in that sense Martyrs Of The Storm is a journey through this abyss, the cosmic upheaval is happening in the human psyche and with this cosmic upheaval there are events that are also being manifested upon the physical reality so in order for change to really occur in the real world, with these manifested changes comes a lot of painful sacrifices/losses so that evolution could really happen. In conclusion, Martyrs Of The Storm is the sound of a cosmic upheaval; an alchemy that is happening inside of the human psyche, this alchemy is happening in accordance with human will, and also otherworldly ancient forces that are beyond human will both hand in hand, that’s why there are languages other than English, some of which I later understood to be of Demotic, Aramiac, Nabataean, Hieratic and also Enochian origin. In that surreal sense I believe that Martyrs Of The Storm is a continuity to our previous releases, but it is both musically and conceptually greater and more mature, more extreme, more dangerous, more authentic, more technical, more brutal, and way much more deep and sacred than anything we attempted to create before.

E&D: Do the tracks on the album form a concept at all or are they all separate entities?

Sammy: I already tried to explain the general concepts behind Martyrs Of The Storm and what it may resemble to us in the previous question, but that was the general concept. If we are going to talk about the tracks as separate entities, and their role in completing the whole picture in the album’s concept, then I would say that every track can resemble a planet within a large constellation. Every track can also resemble a branch within the system of 10 branches in the Kemetic tree of life. If we translate the tracks like in the LP version being five tracks on side A and five tracks on side B, I’d say that the five tracks on side A resembles five sun movements, from sunrise to sunset the five tracks on side B would resemble five moon movements, from moon rise to moon set, which is all happening within the body of the Goddess Nut (The Sky). In conclusion, every track microcosmically is a unique separate entity yet all intertwined and connected and shaping a larger macrocosmic sphere; that’s why the album cover is an octagon, an eight pointed star, a chaos sphere, the original point of inspiration for the front cover is the ancient Egyptian year calendar. With all that being said, I’m pretty sure it can be also interpreted in other ways still. I’d leave that to someone else that is far away from the creating process, in the end everyone should interpret it their own way, and that’s the beauty of it.

 

E&D:Can you tell us about the artwork for Martyrs Of The Storm and who designed it?

Sammy: The artwork was designed by several artists. First the album cover was designed by the artist Fiona Garcia after a detailed description of the album’s concept as a whole. Then all of the album’s booklet were drawings done by the artist Valeria Misko (Dakonde Art) as a description of every song’s concept. Only two songs from the booklet were done by different artists, ‘Kingdom of Chaos’ by Thomas Dimitriou and ‘Circles of Verminejya’ by Aldy Ivan (Ivan Brutal Art), Aldy was also the one to digitise all the artwork in the booklet and then came Tarek Shehata (Senoma Industries), to design the CD and Vinyl/LP Layout, also in accordance with the album’s concepts.

E&D: The new album is your first in five years, what have the band been up to in the gap between albums and why did it take so long for it to arrive?

Sammy: A long answer to this question, but here’s exactly what happened without mentioning any show we have performed during the five years. I will just stick to the making of the album. During the making of Martyrs Of The Storm in 2015 our old time band members departed (Mohamed El Sherbieny on bass – Hatem El Akkad on drums – Tarek Amr on guitar), this impairment didn’t come at ease. It was only me, Al Sharif Marzeban and Sherif Elias that were left to serve Scarab. It took both me and Al Sharif around a year to fully write the music together and tab it down, or more likely we channeled it. Most of the song titles were figured out by Al Sharif Marzeban. Later on came the guitar recording phase in 2016, at this time joined Stephen Moss who recorded the main guitars along with Al Sharif Marzeban, being drummer-less bassist-less I programmed drums and a midi bass guitar as a backbone to record the guitars on. After the guitar recording I went into my cocoon to contemplate every song title and the energy behind the music and I wrote the lyrics, or more likely also channeled it. Being still drummer-less and bassist-less I had to take a step further and went to record the vocal lines over the recorded main guitars and the programmed drums and bass to get the vocals out of the way.

After that we had to find a bassist to record the album, we tried many different bassists in Egypt and in the end failed to find the one with the right chemistry and bond, because we didn’t just want a session musician in the studio but also a band member that can replace someone as our past member Mohamed El Sherbieny. Under these circumstances Al Sharif Marzeban went to contact whom we believe to be one of the best bassists out there in the metal world today as we saw him in our co-headlining tour in the UK with his band in 2016. It was Arran McSporran from De Profundis Virvum. I tabbed down all the bass lines and sent him the guide tracks to record the bass for us using his fretless bass guitar, being such an awesome musician, he delivered a great performance in the bass lines. With 2017 reaching us, Al Sharif Had an idea to contact six different guitarists from around the globe to add lead guitar parts into the album, during this time Amir El Saidi joined Scarab as a drummer, and then Stephen departed with Scarab afterwards and then Tarek Amr came back to his position in Scarab again with the departure of Stephen.

With Amir El Saidi joining the band we could record the drums and so we did, and it is a storm blast! By the time 2018 had arrived we had everything recorded and ready for mixing yet at the same time Sherif Elias the keyboardist also departed from Scarab. After that came the real dwelling part, believe it or not, but It took us a whole one year between sound engineers to find the right one to work with, because also with this album we didn’t want to just deliver a good sounding album that can stand with the standard quality of the international metal music and that’s it. The music production had to also complement the album’s concept, which was a very experimental path. There was only one who could understand our madness and patiently translate it to sound, it was the Egyptian sound engineer Ahmed Abdel Samad. It was around mid 2018 when we kept on working for three months on and off until we reached a final result but we could still feel that there was something that is missing, something that would serve the album’s concepts even deeper. That’s when I decided to add the missing layer. I experimented with samples I recorded and I also programmed orchestration and keys in every song, and I didn’t want it to sound overrated, it had to really also fit the concepts behind the album in terms of sound designing and to embrace the music as a whole without overwhelming it like most of the keys and orchestral work in metal nowadays. This was all finished by mid 2019.

So, we started mixing everything with Ahmed Abdel Samad from scratch until we reached a phenomenal result then it took him around a month to do a master for this album that “mind you” also had to be fitting the concepts behind it. During the mastering phase it was inevitable that Ahmed Abdel Samad would join Scarab as our bassist as we knew what he is capable of as a bassist and he fits in the chemistry of Scarab and understands it. By October 2019  we delivered the album to the most patient label owner Thomas Hörnkvist of Vicisolum Records, he really understood that we are going through something big and also carving something that is big, Martyrs Of The Storm. From there we set the ideal date to release it, which is the 6th of March 2020, just like our previous Serpents Of The Nile. In short terms, we were shedding skin and reviving Scarab and being revived along with it with a new identity that is evolved enough to mark a new era in our journey, we were surviving the storm without falling as martyrs ourselves.

E&D: Martyrs Of The Storm marks the arrival of new members in Scarab, can you tell us about that?

Sammy: Finding the right members after the departure of long time band mates was very challenging to us. Now that Tarek Amr is back to his original position in Scarab as a guitarist who is even more dedicated to his guitar than before especially in terms of music writing, we couldn’t be more lucky. On the other hand also replacing Hatem El Akkad was a heavy ordeal as the drums were also a big part of our sound. But with the coming of Amir El Saidi, he took Scarab’s sound into a whole other level, he just claimed the throne from the very first audition and everyone should know exactly what we mean when they listen to his work on the album Martyrs Of The Storm because to us, it is not the technicality or just being fast that fascinates us, it is about what you can do as a musician in order to serve the music for the highest good of the music itself, that’s the chemistry we found with Amir. In him we found the qualities of being technical/fast/accurate and also being musically intelligent, hence the bond we were looking for. Our latest addition is Ahmed Abdel Samad someone who understands how to create a sound for an album based on a concept no matter how crazy or surreal that concept may sound like, and in the same time he is a long time friend of everyone in Scarab, which is the same quality we had with Mohamed El Sherbieny; both friendship and musicianship. Ahmed Abdel Samad didn’t record the bass lines in Martyrs Of The Storm but nevertheless he will perform it on stage and he will be with us in the upcoming release after Martyrs Of The Storm!  Yes, they were five years from the time we released Serpents Of The Nile but it was worth it, and this will definitely be felt when you blast Martyrs Of The Storm out loud on your speakers.

 

E&D: Karl Sanders from Nile guests on the album, how did that collaboration come about and what did he bring to the album?

Sammy: Al Sharif Marzeban grew to have a good relationship with Karl Sanders online. It was Al Sharif who asked him to do this out of musical unity, respect, and metal brotherhood because usually as Karl Sanders quoted “He is paid to do this” and by all means being a professional musician, that’s the way it should be done. But somehow with us, it was different, because I believe that he understood what we really are about, I believe it could be something of spiritual means. To be honest, both Al Sharif and myself are fans of Nile, and it is a wonder to have Karl Sanders featured on a Scarab album. Karl is featured in the song ‘Kingdom of Chaos’; I sent him an e-mail and he just loved it and it sounded crazy to me that he actually complemented Scarab’s music, coming from someone like him, it means so much more than what could be explained in words. Karl did one mind blowing guitar solo that is as experimental and surreal as the concepts behind the song. Imagine fire as an element of extreme purification, suddenly and extremely it eats upon fallacies until one reaches the point of freedom from all obsessions and addiction. That’s what Karl Sanders’ lead guitar solo in the song ‘Kingdom of Chaos’ represents to us. I believe it is the work of someone who knows the rules and can freely shatter them into pieces and that’s what the song is also about! CHAOS!

E&D: Do you feel a bond and kinship with Nile at all and would you ever tour together?

Sammy: It would only feel right to me if we were to do a tour with Nile. Indeed there is a bond and kinship, we wouldn’t say that it is musical similarities in terms of sound or music writing at all, and we don’t think there was any death metal during the Ancient Egyptian times to begin with, so interpreting Ancient Egyptian themes into extreme metal in our modern time is a very experimental thing to do and one has to give huge credit to Nile for nailing this and representing it the way they do until this day. The bond and kinship I would say that we have with Nile is a spiritual one. Nile is and will always remain to be about Ancient Egypt, and we are Egyptians by nature. The name itself ‘Nile’ is a sacred river that we knew, grew and lived with. I for myself always had a spiritual bond with Ancient Egypt since I was a little kid, being born and living in a seven minutes walking distance from the sphinx and pyramids of Giza. As a kid I saw the sound and light display on them just from my balcony before any of these disturbingly long buildings were built and blocked the view. I saw and heard it almost every night before I went to sleep to go to school the next day. It had this dark and loud music of which I grew up to understand that it was created by the Egyptian musical pioneer Halim El Dabh. His music always gave me a great sense of wonder and mystery as a kid. This spiritual bond that I have with my hometown is very close to the spiritual bond that I have with Nile as I grew up, I used to blast the CDs Annihilation Of The Wicked and In Their Darkened Shrines during my college years on my CD player or what we called at this time Discman. I found out about Nile through a friend of mine in college. I believe that Al Sharif has this same spiritual bond with Nile exactly ever since he started listening to extreme music. You know… Nile goes way back before me or Al Sharif started performing metal in Egypt, and it would definitely be a dream come true to tour with Nile.

E&D: Members of Aeternam, Psycroptic and Temple Of Baal among others appear on the album too, did you have a list of people you wanted on the album and were you pleased with the contributions?

Sammy: It was all Al Sharif Marzeban’s working to choose the guests he wanted to work with he would approach them and pass it on to me. Some of them are friends of his and some of them are an actual influence and inspiration to him such as Karl Sanders and Joseph Haley. We are all very pleased with the contributions and every musician totally grasped understood the energy behind the song they contributed in. At first I was in denial as in between all what was going on in the band and also trying to find the right members replacement, the last thing I needed was extra challenges, and I just didn’t understand Al Sharif’s vision at this point. Regardless, I am someone who loves to experiment so I dived into the idea and as I dived into it I understood his vision and especially now after it is completely manifested; Inviting guitarists from all around the globe to feature in a Scarab album is more of a message to the world than it is anything else. In that sense, I feel that Martyrs Of The Storm is beyond just us, it is a message of freedom, unity and brotherhood of metal music; beyond any kind of egos.

E&D: Who would you love to guest on a Scarab album in the future?

Sammy: I would personally love to cook something with Adam Nergal Darski of Behemoth and have him as a guest in a Scarab song. Because he is one of the very few who can actually work based on a magickal concept for real and I believe that his work as a musician is the work of a true alchemist who constantly turns lead into gold. In that sense, It seems to me that we can really cook something of great magickal value. We’ll see where the future takes this desire, now that I have openly exposed it.

E&D: How do you think that Scarab have grown as a band from when you first started?

Sammy: I believe that when you start something there is the spirit of the beginner, hence the beginner’s luck, not that this luck isn’t earned, but for the lack of better terms it is like the tarot card ‘The Fool’ pure innocence, and that’s why there is luck to guide you into true responsibility. Responsibility of your own actions and your own creations. I believe that in Scarab we are growing naturally step by step, we didn’t jump any kind of steps and reach a state that isn’t truly earned I am thankful for that. Our first release represents a seed in a black soil and our second represents roots coming out of the seed and with Martyrs Of The Storm, I see Scarab’s first real sprout. I can say that Martyrs Of The Storm is an inevitable growth in Scarab’s journey, and from there on, I am looking towards the future as there is a lot more to project onto it and manifest into it and discover within it.

E&D: How did Scarab start as a band?

Sammy: Al Sharif Marzeban is the founder of Scarab, which came out of an older band titled Hate Suffocation. Al Sharif was in a scout to find people in alignment with his spirit in order to make something great in the Egyptian metal scene and take it into an international level, so that our voices would be heard. And we did it all together! Scarab wasn’t named Scarab until I joined the band. The name Scarab was suggested by a dear friend of ours Tarek Shehata AKA Kabv, who is a member of the bands Worm Hellchasm. My eyes shined as soon as I found myself in a band dedicated to such a deeply and widely spiritual, philosophical, magickal mystical subject, which is Ancient Egypt! Things then flew naturally from there, I was in a band that was already ready with 8 tracks and all I needed to do was to write the lyrics and offer whatever it is that I can offer in order for the album to be recorded. In 2009 we managed to be the first Egyptian metal band to ever perform outside borders first in  Dubai Desert Rock Festival and then the infamous With Full Force Festival in Germany and on the main stage. We broke that boundary that seemed impossible to a lot of metal bands in our home country and nowadays we couldn’t be more proud as there are other bands coming out of Egypt where they also perform their music internationally.

E&D: What is it about your Egyptian heritage and mythology that makes such good inspiration for your music?

Sammy: Ancient Egypt holds a great magickal quality that still persists to exist until today within the collective unconscious of the Egyptian people and it is deeply rooted within the land itself. Ancient Egypt is a big question mark for all the mysteries that it holds. It is almost uncountable how many musicians/artists/writers (you name it) that are affected by Ancient Egypt throughout the globe and throughout history in general. On the other hand, we are Egyptians who grew up in Egypt, how can we ignore that and not translate it into our art in some way or another? It is inevitable, and it only comes naturally!

E&D: What is the heavy music scene like in Egypt at the moment and are there any bands you could recommend to us?

Sammy: Sadly there is no market for metal in Egypt in terms of a label that is dedicated to metal and printing metal music and distributing it at least in Egypt, nevertheless if it was “extreme metal” which may lead to many seriously hostile circumstances if it went big locally, so it is just better to be hidden behind the shades of being “underground”. But on the positive side of the matter, there would be a show every now and then such as ‘Metal Blast Festival’ which have brought a lot of big international acts in the metal scene from abroad to Egypt too. On the other hand, back in the days it was really rare to find a band that performs their own music, most of the bands used to play covers and that’s that, so it is like we had the Egyptian version of Metallica, the Egyptian version of Sepultura and so on. It is the other way around now and there are a lot more bands that are writing and recording their own music. I am personally not very fond of what’s going on in the totality of the Egyptian metal scene and I recommend that everyone should do a research and surely they will find something that suits their taste in music. What I would recommend for black metal is to check out the black metal act ‘Osiris’ as they’re cooking something that’s full of black metal rage and enchanting tunes. Osiris was the first band in Egypt to have an Ancient Egyptian theme as far as I know. Another black metal act with much more oriental and orchestral tunes are Odious whom I believe are now working on their upcoming record. Odious also tours and performs internationally. Also the band Crescent, they were a black metal band when they started and then they shifted into death metal and shifted their subjects into ancient Egyptian themes, they also toured and performed internationally and their music is distributed worldwide. All this makes us very happy and proud, I am sure there is a lot more happening, so I recommend everyone to do their own research.

E&D: Did you find it a struggle coming from a country with no established metal scene as such?

Sammy: Yes, DIY is the answer. We had to do it all ourselves and figure out how to push our music to be heard worldwide. Maybe it would have been much easier for us if we were in a different location, for example Europe or the USA. But then again, maybe our music wouldn’t sound as it sounds right now if this was the case, maybe we would have lost the authenticity of our cause. You know… Everything happens for a reason and whatever it is that we go through here, reflects unto our music. Maybe that’s better because like this we are bringing new energy into the metal music scene in general, and not just sounding like everything else out there or just copying some kind of a trend. I would speak from a personal opinion, I really don’t think Scarab is portraying anything as a musical gimmick or that I am trying to be someone that I am not through Scarab. I have been through a lot of musical and artistic experiences here and there and not just in terms of metal; and I would honestly say that there is nothing that feels more natural and honest to me than my role in Scarab. Every single word I uttered and every single note I channeled comes honest to my heart and I am 100% sure that Al Sharif Marzeban is with me on this same page with every single note he channeled into Scarab’s Music all the sacrifices we go through in order to keep it flowing. We are bringing it all from the source and the heart of our souls. In that sense, I am thankful for all the circumstances we had to go through in order to carve what we carve here in our homeland, Egypt, Kemet, the land of Magick great mysteries. We have a message that is being channeled through us, and we will continue to deliver it until the end.

E&D: Will you be touring when Martyrs Of The Storm is released?

Sammy: This must happen, we are currently looking for a management to book us shows, we used to do this ourselves in the past, but right now we want to get this out of our ways and only concentrate on making music. We want to tour and support Martyrs Of The Storm to the fullest but we’re kind of tired of the DIY at this point and we want to concentrate on our art and music and let this job be taken over by someone who we can trust to bring us good deals and good shows in order to expose our music properly. Which brings me again to the question before this one, being from Egypt we already crossed the extra miles and performed in festivals for free in the past while also paying for our own plane tickets and sometimes even food and accommodation for the sake of exposure. And we’re not the type of band that would pay on tour for example in order to tour with a big name in the music industry, we never did it and I don’t think we will. It has to be put into consideration how high the currency rate is for us, and how that it is expensive for us, especially now. We are coming all the way from Egypt and we are not a band that is located in Europe or the USA for example where it is ten thousand times easier to do a tour in a flourishing and active metal scene where there would be a show almost everyday. With that being established, I must concentrate on a very important point… No matter what was the circumstances, as long as we believe it, then we will make it happen and we believe in ourselves and our music, and we know that we will find the right people to work with in order to get this annoying logistics out of our ways and concentrate only on our music and our message of freedom. In conclusion, we will make it happen!

E&D: Who are the biggest influences on the music of Scarab?

Sammy: This is very wide as everyone in the band has a widely different musical influence and backgrounds; but to keep it minimal here are the influences which I believe are common between us. Morbid Angel, Death, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Slayer, At The Gates, Immolation, Nile, Satyricon, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, Sepultura, Bolt Thrower, Monstrosity, Obituary, Six Feet Under, Gorefest, Katatonia, Opeth, Dan Swano, and the list can go on. These are some of the bands and musicians which all of us listened to and mostly each one of us used to learn from covering them, you can consider them our godfathers into performing metal music.

E&D: Who are your biggest influences as a musician?

Sammy: I can’t honestly tell as my influence into being a musician in general is very wide, and I believe that it is just meant for me somehow. I used to sing ever since I could make a voice as my parents say. Some funny tapes they recorded for me as I used to orchestrate and write music in the bathtub by hitting the water to make a beat that I would be singing gibberish above. Later in school I was that kid who can sing and dance like Michael Jackson! I personally can’t recall that one certain moment that turned me into a musician in general, my inspirations keeps changing almost weekly, I believe it is a natural passion or talent that I was born with and I never studied and I will never will, I didn’t have to study how to walk as a kid, it came by practice and experience, same thing with music too.

E&D: How did you get into metal in the first place?

Sammy: In regards to metal, I can totally recall understand the pattern of how this all came to be. First it was a video tape compilation that my father had when I was a small kid. All I remember in this compilation were three videos. ‘High Hopes’ by Pink Floyd, ‘I Want to Break Free’ by Queen and ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe. These were the songs I loved and always rewinded as a kid, especially the solo part in ‘The Final Countdown’. That’s all not really “metal” but the idea is that I was drawn naturally to the sound of the overdrive in the guitar as a kid. Later on, pop music was the thing in school. My favourite was Michael Jackson again especially because of Slash and the overdriven guitar and the groovy beats and Michael Jackson’s powerful singing.

But it was one song that I can recall initiating my hunger for heavier music.. Mohamed El Sherbieny the former bassist of Scarab is my childhood friend; he gave me a tape with songs from the movie Batman & Robin. Listening to the music I was taken by a storm by the song ‘The Beginning is the End is the Beginning’ by The Smashing Pumpkins. At this time this was the heaviest and most evil song I heard, and until this day it is one of my favourite songs ever. As time went by a friend of ours called Hani Ammar introduced Metallica to us it was ‘Garage Inc.’, which was heavier and I wanted to seek more, at this time I was fond of the dial up Internet and from there I found out about Slayer’s ‘Angel of Death’ and ‘Raining Blood’, FUCK YES! Then later on Opeth’s ‘Demon of the Fall’, which was my first time to hear brutal singing and trying to copy it, I spontaneously fell in love, and along with that was Dimmu Borgir’s ‘Mourning Palace’ too, and also in between all this there was nu metal bands like Limp Bizkit, Korn, Mudvayne, System of a Down.

We wanted to do like all these bands me and Sherieny so went and we rented an electric guitar, a bass guitar and two amps in a time where his parents weren’t home for a couple of days. Being noobs we thought that the amplifiers would have a distortion or an overdrive but it didn’t, regardless we didn’t have a clue about how to play an instrument to begin with so we used what sounded right to our ears playing on one string only. The first song we covered was ‘Aerials’ by System of a Down, since it was a simple song and the only song we can play. Things evolved and then we started our own band playing nu metal covers and also covering The Misfits. We joined a band called ‘Stigma’ playing our own style of progressive melodic death metal/stoner metal, but it didn’t continue. It all started to really grow into us we wanted to have this as our career. And then we met Al Sharif Marzeban. First Mohamed El Sherbieny joined Hate Suffocation, and at this time they were already playing songs like ‘Ankh’, ‘ Valley of the Sandwalkers’, the tunes enchanted me and I always had the desire to join them ever since I heard them and saw them on stage, I was an actual fan before I joined and the band’s name changed into Scarab right when I Joined. I guess I drifted into explaining why I became a musician in terms of metal and at the same time what got me into metal, they both go hand in hand. It fits my persona, it fits my soul and I have found myself naturally drawn to it since I was a child, and now that I am in Scarab I believe it is my destiny.

E&D: What are your favourite metal albums of all time?

Sammy: Well, There are surely many. But if I was to choose only one while disregarding which type of metal genre it is exactly, I would definitely pick Iron Maiden’s Powerslave with my eyes closed. Do I even need to begin to explain why?… Come on! Who didn’t fall in love with this album from the first play?! Plus… Ancient Egypt! Again, my friend Hani Ammar lent me this album and this was the first time I heard Iron Maiden and this is just my favourite metal album period.

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