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Lynn Fakhry 08 Apr 2022

A Look Back At All Local Bands Who Took The Stage Of Beirut Rock Festival By The Storm

Dedicated to promoting rock and metal music culture on Lebanese grounds, the Beirut Rock Festival had welcomed many major international bands on its stage between 1987 and 2013, including Within Temptation, Katatonia, Moonspell, Serj Tankian, and 30 Seconds To Mars.

Twenty-seven incredible Lebanese-born bands had their big share in the festival as well. Let’s discover then together!

Bands who performed in year 1987:

1. Equation

A heavy metal band directed by Mirna Hage who took the lead after Lydia Canaan, a vocalist known for making headlines as “the first Lebanese female rockstar”.

2. Traffic Jam

3. Classix

4. Haven

5. GRG

Which stands for the Ghassan Rahbany Group, one of the first heavy metal bands to exist locally, co-produced by RML and Radio One and most famous for their hit song “Al Jamhour A’ayiz Kida”. They performed at the festival for two consecutive years, 1987 and 1988.

6. Fujitive Entity

A metal band formed by Cynthia Zaven, Karen Murr, Robert Azar, Fadi Saad, Jihad Said, and Jihad Murr who participated in the festival for two consecutive years as well. Their famous singles include “Jessica’s Marriage” and “Cut The Tree”.

7. ZED

A rock duo starring singer Karol Sakr and music composer Hadi Sharara whose first album’s title track “Away” made it to local TV stations after its release in early 1990s. When the group split up, Karol pursued a solo career, switching to Arabic music in 2004 and releasing the hit song ‘Ouli Jayi’ with singer Assi El Hellani.

8. Angel

Angel is the stage name of Lydia Kanaan, the artist featured on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as “the first Lebanese female rockstar”. After quitting the late 80s Equation bands, Lydia moved to Switzerland, taking her singing career to an international level, also becoming a United Nations delegate to the Geneva United Nations Human Rights Council.

Bands who performed in year 1988:

9. Force

Founded in 1983 by bassist and vocalist Abboudi Saadi with drummer Emile Boustany, this rock band who conquered West Beirut’s music scene in the 70s also consisted of guitarist Raffi Mandalian, Saxophone player Nixal Abu Samra, and keyboardist Hani Siblini.

10. Cash

11. Christine Boch

A female Lebanese metal vocalist supported by RML and Radio One.

12. Bruna

Bruna is also known as soprano Mirna Shaker who won many singing competitions during her stay at London where she pursued medical studies. Despite getting recognition from English musician Peter Gabriel, Shaker returned to Lebanon to open her own medical establishment and gifted her vocal talent for religious and social causes.

13. Snowgoose

14. Axident

A rock group starring Michel Matar and Fida Zalloum.

15. Revelations

Bands who performed in year 1998:

16. Cimmerian Path

Formed in Beirut in November 1996, this Symphonic Black Metal band born from the Doom Metal group ‘Dogma’ was a controversial one well known among local listener. It features a line-up of five members – vocalist Nassim Tabri, keyboardist Sako Missirian, guitarist Hamid Khoriaty, bassist Elias Abboud, and drummer Carlos Abboud – who played gigs with local and international bands after the release of their first and only self-produced album “Into The Depths of Ruthless Excellency” in 2001.

17. SoapKills

Formed by Zeid and Yasmine Hamdan, this indie electro-pop duo has been merging classical Arabic music and lyrics with electronic tunes since October 1997, establishing themselves as the pioneers of Lebanese underground music. This unique music styles mélange made them gain popularity in Beirut as well as in Paris, London, and Berlin.

18. The Kordz

A Beirut-born alternative rock and metal group that stunned people with their worldwide success. The members performed at the 2004 Virgin Festival alongside Benny Benassi, Robbie Rivera, Narcotic Thrust, Kurtis Mantronik, Chamonix, and Emma Daumas.
In 2012, they launched their debut album “Beauty + The East” and were featured on the 40-minutes-long “Rock In A Hard Place” documentary exploring the odds faced by rock/metal bands in the Middle East.

Bands who performed in year 2009:

19. TristMoon

TristMoon, now known as Inner Guilt, performed for the first time ever at Discordance in 2006, and have since then became a well-known band in Arab metal scene.

20. The Weeping Willow

A Lebanese death metal band founded in 1996 under the name “Opposites”. The name changed in 1998 with a complete line-up of musicians hailing from Lebanon, Armenia, and Poland. Some members departed in 2000, but the band is still standing strong until this very day.

Bands who performed in year 2011:

21. Eileen Khatchadourian

An Armenian-Lebanese singer referred to as “The powerful voice of the diaspora” by Agos newspaper. Eileen’s 2008 debut album “Midan” fused Traditional Armenian songs with alternative-rock rhythms and won ‘Best Rock Album’ at the Armenian Music Awards in LA.

22. EpiSode

The instrumental Progressive Rock and Metal trio conceived in 2007 with electric violinist Avo Demirdjian, drummer John Laham, and bassist Karno Baghdassarian. Their music style is experimental, uniting elements drawn from classical and orchestral soundtracks.

23. Kimaera

The leading Lebanese Death Metal outfit founded in 2000.
The band released their fourth roman culture-inspired album “Imperium” one month after the frontman and chief lyricist Jean Pierre Haddad had passed away in February.

Bands who performed in year 2013:

24. The Coolcumbers

A six person ensemble originally formed in the Summer of 2010 by pianist Ralph Haiby. The alternative rock released their debut album “Time & Youth” in 2013.

25. Near Surface

Members Mark Najjar, Cyril Yabroudi, Carlos Abboud, and Elie Zakra got together in 2009 as “Amy Smack Daddy”, then released their debut album “Crooked Landings” under the renewed name “Near Surface”. The Album was recorded in Paris and mastered in London, and the “All These Pills” single got premiered on NRJ radio, which gave the band a much deserved recognition.

26. Jay Wud

A Lebanese musician/producer now residing in Dubai, Jay Wud draws influence from the sounds of diverse international groups such as Bjork and Nine Inch Nails. His music got support from major bands like Guns’n’Roses, Motley Crue, and Scorpions, and he had the chance to tour the Uk and Ireland with Sons of Apollo. One of his tracks was even used in a Ford Mustang campaign.

27. Pindoll

The punk-twisted band who opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers when they visited Lebanon in 2012.

You can read Beirut.com’s full interview with Erin Mikaelian – the band’s incredible performer – here.

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17 Lebanese Metal Bands You Should Listen To