Okay, so let's put it straight-forward from the get-go, that this is nót about the '90s Canadian Hard Rock/ Glam Metal/ Heavy Metal act which left us two rather different albums (1992's eponymous album and 1995's Inwire, both released through major label BMG's subsidiary Ariola) before disbanding in 1996 (they actually reformed in 2007, and even recorded one gig which is planned for release on DVD in the future, but then their guitarist Dee Cernile died of lung cancer in 2012).
Nay...this review is a far happier one, in fact relating to the uprising of a Metal scene in the Middle East. Oh yeah, soon enough, people may look at that part of the world as being more than a breeding place for so-called “religious” terrorist groups and dictators perpetrating genocide on their own people. Of course, the United Arab Emirates have always been known as a “slightly” less conservative region within the Arab World, and it shouldn't be a surprise that Svengali come from Dubai, the UAE's capitol city!
The band was started (in June, 2013) as a recording project by Adnan Meyhij and Fadi Al Shami, the first taking care of bass and drums, the second of the guitars, with both contributing to the dual vocals in alternating lead/ backing positions (actually, if I got things right, Adnan is primarily responsible for the clean vocals, while Fadi takes care of the rough-styled ones). This basic collaboration eventually resulted in the band's first demo, featuring the tracks “Embrace” and “The End”, and by its release (October 6, 2013) the duo had expanded to an actual band through the addition of second guitarist JM, bassist Ali, and drummer Khalid (this allowing Adnan to concentrate on his vocal duties). Encouraged by the initial reactions to the demo and the first shows, the band then settled at Dubai's Haven Studio, where one Hadi Sarieddine not only recorded, but also produced and mastered the band's debut 6-track EP, which we hereby put under your attention.
The EP was actually already independently released on April 15 of last, with digital distribution through the likes of iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon and more), and has since received rather positive reviews and media coverage in both the band's own region, and beyond. Not surprising, when you'll hear the music for yourselves! During the recordings of the EP, the band already made a music video for the track “Conquer”, and during a show in Dubai they also made a video for the track “Sirens”. The band's style is best described as a “Modern Metal”, and shows attention from the part of the musicians to incorporate both heavy low-tuned tonalities as well as more melodic and higher-tuned additions...which occasionally come from an extra bit of keyboard (either organ-like, or tuned to the sound of piano) thrown in. With the track “The End”, the band also includes a somewhat Gothic sound, through the addition of female vocals courtesy of one Ishtar. The same track is completely re-arranged (focusing on a piano-based acoustic Gothic sound even more in its first two-out-of-three parts) for a bonus track (featuring that same female singer as the lead singer) available only with the digital downloads!
Listen to the band's music (not including that great bonus track, I'm afraid) at (https://) svengaliband.bandcamp.com, or check out the available videos at YouTube (taking care not to confuse with the music clips made by Sven Gali), and convinceyourselves of the justification for my enthused rating of this here debut EP!