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Meet Angband: A Power Prog Metal Trio from Iran

Meet Angband: A Power Prog Metal Trio from Iran

Meet Angband: A Power Prog Metal Trio from Iran

Angband is based out of the mysterious country of Iran, a place definitely not known for heavy metal infamy.  Of course true metal heads exist all over the world, even in Tehran, where two of the Angband members reside. Band leader Mahyar Dean wrote a book on the legendary Death and Control Denied back at the dawning of the new millennium, and would become friends with Chuck Schuldiner and many of the other band members.  Not in his wildest dream’s would Mahyar envision he’d be working with a member of one his very favorite bands – but now on Angband’s new album IV, the vocals are performed by none other than Tim Aymar of the almighty Control Denied.  In this interview, Mahyar Dean chats with Highwire Daze about their outstanding new album IV on Pure Underground Records, the Death/Control Denied connection, life as a metal fanatic in Iran, and other topics of intrigue.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Angband, and how long the band has been together.
Hi, this is Mahyar Dean, I’m the guitar player, songwriter and lyricist of Angband. I formed Angband in 2004 as an instrumental one man band but then with the addition of our drummer Ramin and previous vocalist Ashkan we became a band.

What is the heavy metal scene like in Iran? Are there any places to play? And are there any local metal bands you could recommend?
There are lots of people who like Rock and Metal music. Before the 1979 revolution, the music scene and rock scene in Iran was really huge, there were at least 2 vinyl factories, one of them run by CBS I think and Tehran Symphony Orchestra is founded in 1919. So the music roots are deep here. Unfortunately now there are no record stores, magazines and no concerts for foreign bands but sometimes local musicians that have connections can have permission to play Rock /Metal but the audience are not allowed to bang their head! Its complicated.

When we started most of other bands just played covers but fortunately now I see good bands making decent music and I really respect them for doing something that they love. 2 Iranian bands that recently got my attention are War Angel and Nameless Band.

How did you wind up signing with Pure Underground Records?
In 2007 I sent our demo to lots of record labels but one day I got a message in Myspace from the Pure Steel guys, then I sent them our music and then they signed us so thanks to the Internet for that!

Select two songs from IV and what inspired the lyrics.
Mirage lyrcally is special for me cause its based on a poem by great Persian poet Rumi. The verse of that song is the exact translation of one of his poems. The other intresting one is Cyrus The Great which is based on historical fact about a famous king who is also known as the creator of the first human right declaration 2500 years ago!

How did Tim Aymar of Control Denied and Pharaoh become involved with the band?
I’ve known Tim since 2002. I wrote a book about Death and Chuck Schuldiner in Iran in 2000 then I sent some copies to Chuck when he still was among us and it made him very happy, so all Death and Control Denied members know me well. After Chuck passed away, I made contact to many of them through Jane Schuldiner. All of them are cool people and Tim is a great friend and wonderfull singer – so having Tim as our singer has been in my mind for a very long time. It was in 2017 that I asked Tim to sing for us, but it took 3 years to complete the album cause he has chronic pain in his neck – but he has iron will and finished the album.

Who did the cover art for IV and how much input did you have on it?
My brother Maziar did the art work of all of our albums, I tell him what’s in my mind and what elements I like to see on the cover and he does that perfectly and adds cool details to it. He is a talented graphic designer.

What has it been like to release a new album right in the middle of a pandemic and so much social injustice in the world?
Well in Iran we are no stranger to crisis, we had 8 years of war with the Saddam regime and we have been in economic crisis for years. That’s why you don’t see people rush to supermarkets in pandemic time! The social injustice is a global thing and has deep roots. I think we should begin from ourselves, Let me give you an example, We don’t have black people in Iran, so as a kid when I saw a black man for the first time I asked my mother if they are different, and she said yes they are stronger than us. So in my eye they are equal or even better than us. In our album we have songs about injustice like Children Of War. Hope some day we can see the end of social injustice.

What could one expect from a live Angband show?
We really like to play live shows more than other bands cause we cant do it in our country. Unfortunately it’s very hard financialy to play in Europe or the States, but I hope we can do it some day – and believe me, we will blow up the stage with 110% of our energy!

If Angband could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I wrote a book on Death so my first choice would be that. If one day I could open for great bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Testament and…etc. that would be the best day of my life! Their music has helped me through the hard times in my life so they are my heroes.

When you look back at your first album Rising From Apadana (2008), what do you think of it now in retrospect?
I wish I knew more about prodution back then, since 2015 I decided to focus on my production skills cause I was not 100% happy with the production of our previous albums. I did the mix and mastering of IV and hope I can do even better for the next album. I always try to better myself and learn from the past.

What’s up next for Angband?
Hope we can make more music with Tim Aymar; he is an awesome singer and a great metal brother. I’m thinking about making an EP in the futute instead of a full lenth cause it lets me focus more on the production, From the other hand in these days of streaming, it seems people only listen to few tracks of an album! I may also release a track with a world class bass player to support the Covid-19 related organizations and charities.

Any final words of wisdom?
I wish we can pass the pandemic and see better days. I’d like to ask all the metal fans to buy the albums that they like. Believe me if you were in a country like Iran and you loved metal and there was no record store you would never download illegaly! And you should know I have a decent amounts of vinyls and original CDs that my friends brought me from USA or Europe. Support musicians if you like music!

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thanks for having me and good questions, Stay safe and wish you all the best \m/

Tim Aymar – vocals
Mahyar Dean – guitars, bass
Ramin Rahimi – drums

(Interview by Ken Morton)

Angband on Facebook
Angband on Pure Steel Records

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