When you think of Saudi Arabia, we’re fairly sure that crushing metal music probably isn’t one of the first things that comes to mind. But melodic death metal act Wasted Land are hoping to change all of that.
The Jeddah trio of Emad Mujalid (vocals) and Ahmed Khojah and Ayman Al Ghamdi (guitars) first formed way back in 2005 to play a metal gig in Dammam. They released a self-titled album in 2013 before taking several years away to focus on their jobs and families. But the Covid pandemic enforced lockdown saw the band decide to reform and “hopefully return to what we used to be.”
Over the years, the band has evolved from having a melody and folk focus into a heavier melodic death sound that retains its melodic base.
Our first taste of this, and their first single in eight years, is brand new single Fade Away. Lyrically, the track focuses on someone with severe depression and compares his life journey to that of a candle, which gets shorter until it eventually burns out.
Fade Away opens up with light guitars that are joined by a laid-back lick, before bursting into life with heavy drums and chugging guitars. Emad’s powerful vocals come in over the top in a lively opening verse, then melodic guitars feed into a dramatic chorus led by dual vocals “My hopes to collapse, fading away, Shine lights within me, dimming away, Count down my days, slipping away, Age candle burns, melting away.”
Driving drums and a chugging guitar riff jump in and continue through another lively verse, which flows into a big melodic chorus. It then drops into a tense section of drawn-out guitars and drums, Emad’s vocals briefly come in, before a noodling guitar lick and chugging chords support wild but engaging raspy vocals. That drops into more melodic guitars and slower drums as a funky little guitar solo comes in and continues alongside melancholic, drawn-out dual vocals that bring the track to a close.
On the track, the band told us: “It’ll be a new mixture from our old folkish style with more heavy catchy riffs and chorus. We hope we can catch the attention from the old fans and attract new ones. (The reception) was quite good for a metal song and we got so many positive reviews. We would like everyone to listen and watch our new song video and they can judge by themselves.”
Wasted Land offer up a sound that takes influence from the likes of Suidakra, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and Iced Earth. While they tell us their music is inspired by: “Wars in general and inner struggles.”
And, of course, they are the first band we’ve ever featured from let alone Saudi Arabia but any Arab country, which takes the GigRadar country count to 51. On the Saudi Arabian rock and metal scene they tell us: “Well, it was really active between 2005 and 2010, then suddenly got shut down. Now we see more rock bands raising and we hope that will apply to metal as well.”
Wasted Land are already at work on two more songs, which they hope to release this year ahead of a first EP since their long hiatus from the music scene.