Maldivian melodic metal band Nothnegal launched their self-titled EP last month digitally in America and internationally. In that time the EP has shot up to 22nd place on Google Music’s Top Metal Albums chart!
The EP, which ranked above albums of bands such as Megadeth and Queens of the Stone Age, was produced in collaboration with Paul Reeve producer of music for the legendary Muse. Matt Hyde also joined the team having worked with global bands such as Slipknot, Bullet for My Valentine and As I Lay Dying.
The band, who burst onto the world stage in 2008, with Decadence, have rubbed shoulders with all heavy metal legends, from Opeth, Finntroll, Slipknot and are looking forward to playing with Megadeth next summer in festivals.
On this released new four-track EP in their native Dhivehi language, they go back to their island roots.
One of the songs “Rannamaari”, is based upon a Maldivian myth that involves a sea demon, virgin sacrifices, and heavy religious themes.
Guitarist Hilarl explains, “It’s about a mythical sea serpent which seeks a virgin as a sacrifice every full moon. The people of the islands are led to believe this but the truth is that the king is the one seeking these virgins while making the people believe otherwise. Rannamaari is the name of this serpent, but nobody really knows that this was actually the king who made up the serpent legend.”
Other songs on the EP continue explore the supernatural realm including the folklore, beliefs and legends of the Maldivian islands.
“The lyrics are focused on the many myths and spiritual beliefs islanders have. We have also incorporated boduberu and other Maldivian instruments to the sound. Lyrics were written by Shamheed who played a major role in developing the theme and sound we have on the album as well as sourcing the cover art.
We wanted to incorporate the Maldivian culture into our music, while exploring the darker side of our history and culture like black magic and stuff which is common here. I haven’t heard the Maldivian sounds being properly mixed with hard rock or heavy metal music and the cleaner production quality helps.”
Also they touch upon current social issues such as child abuse, corruption and family related problems.
‘Viha’, completely sung in Dhivehi, is about infanticide and how corrupt our society has become. In the narrative, a mother kills her newborn so she can use the baby’s liver to do black magic.
Actuality is also about a spirit talking through a possessed being the lyrics portray the spirits thoughts and words.
Hirlal added: “It is all just fiction, just based on legends we have heard about black magic being done that way. While others use folklore and myth as lyrics too, they mostly focus on the local market and have different styles of music. As far as I know, we are the only ones experimenting with a heavier style of music and folklore.
Metal lends itself to this, as it usually has darker and aggressive themes compared to other styles of music. Mostly it is just show, rather than what the artists actually believe and practice and is purely for entertainment.”
The EP was recorded locally at Vakaruge Studios in the Maldives with producer Shamheed. The Vakaruge studios, in Male’, are owned by businessman and music enthusiast Abdulla Kaleem. These state-of-the-art, modern premises are where the musical magic was all created. Matt and Paul also visited the studio for the production process.
Nothnegal EP consists of four tracks, as an EP, on release exclusively through digital retailers in North America and other parts of the world.
Asked how he thinks the Americans will receive a foreign language album, Hirlal said: “We are really not sure how they may react. The language and some instruments would be completely new for them. We will have to see.”
The current line-up is Hirlal on guitars and Chippe, who is temporarily filling in for original guitarist Fufu. Hamad bass, Affan vocals, There is also a Finnish keyboardist and American drummer.
The album consists of Actuality, Rannamaari, Viha and Flux plane
We published a version of this including Q and A interview in Dhonisaurus – an independent resort review website for the Maldives. Click here http://dhonisaurus.com/news/qa-maldivian-metal-band-nothnegal and in Minivan News as a fuller interview http://minivannews.com/travelandarts/qa-maldivian-metal-band-nothnegal-65159