THE KORDZ – Beauty and The EastApr 15th, 2011
1. Coma Nation
2. Deeper In
3. Nothing Or Everything
4. Insomnia Kid
5. Get Behind
6. Beauty & The East
7. Last Call
8. Save Us
9. Don’t You Wait
10. Heroes ‘N’ Killers
11. The Garden
13. The End
15. The One
Formed by several students at Lebanon’s famed American University of Beirut in the wake of the country’s long civil war, The Kordz have risen to the pinnacle of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean rock scene. The band’s current live lineup, Moe Hamzeh (Vocal), Mazen Siblini (Keyboards), Abou SOUS (Drums), Alan Azar (Guitars), Elie Akl (Guitars), and Tony Bou Ghosn (Bass), as well as Nadim Sioufi (Guitars) who is currently residing in Canada, is the product of several iterations and years of constant gigging, that ultimately stabilized with the current, road-tested configuration. “In the beginning we took anything,” says Moe, looking back on those early days. “We didn’t miss an opportunity to play. That included gigs at universities, as well as in Lebanese cities in the north and the south and – even shows in a war zone – at a United Nations military compound in the occupied South of the country.
By the late 1990s, The Kordz were known across Lebanon as the hardest working band around, as their high-energy gigs drew an ever-increasing throng of fans and increasingly high profile gigs, including opening for the likes of international Alt-Rock band PLACEBO and the legendary ROBERT PLANT.
Never a band to follow musical trends, The Kordz have instead been at the forefront of the emergence of Middle Eastern alt-rock and metal, effortlessly blending together guitar riff-driven rock with incredibly funky grooves and Arabic instrumentation, rhythms, and melodies. Its live shows have inspired legions of dedicated fans, and the group is known for shaking more than a few rafters during the course of a night’s work. One of their early signature songs, “Last Call,” written by a friend of the band, Rami Karami, epitomized its successful combination of styles, and was a favorite across the Mediterranean and even Europe when it was first released in 2004 as a maxi single. Critics labeled the song a cross between Linkin’ Park and Metallica on some bizarre, Middle Eastern tour.
“It was all DIY-Do It Yourself, because there’s not much in the way of a music industry infrastructure here in Lebanon,” Moe explains-especially for music tinged with orchestral rock, hard rock, and blues. It is no surprise that the local press lavished praised on “Last Call”, which roared to the top of the Lebanese and Middle Eastern radio charts, and sat there for weeks. The press was even more pleased with “The Garden”, the first CD’s second track, whose haunting, melodically inspired sound and mystically charged lyrics got it onto their play lists.
In the last two years, The Kordz (Moe, Maz, and Nad) have been working with Grammy Nominee producer Ulrich Wild (Deftones, Static X, White Zombie, Breaking Benjamin) in Canada, Los Angeles and Lebanon. Working in the studio with an alt-rock musicians’ line up composed of drummer Jeff Burrows (TEA PARTY) and Andy Curran (SOHO 69), the new album “Beauty & the East” effortlessly combines opposite, divergent, musical worlds in a stark reflection of the band’s origin in being the living proof of coexistence of various beliefs, different mindsets, and cultures. Probably for the first time, these worlds have been engineered on such a high professional level, serving fans of modern alternative rock, traditional Arabic harmonies and those people always searching for something unique.
Mark LeVine, Grammy-winning musician and author of Heavy Metal Islam, describes The Kordz as “without a doubt the best rock band from Morocco to Pakistan, and perhaps anywhere. The new album will be remembered as the avant-garde for a revolution in rock music, in which bands from the Middle East take the lead in shaping the sound of rock and metal in the new millennium. The Kordz are setting the standard for the most powerful and innovative live and recorded rock anywhere on the planet.”
This album is the result of the band members’ musical, social, and spiritual life experiences. It is a blend of several musical and cultural influences, as well as a clear message for change. It’s not just the music that’s groundbreaking; the lyrics tackle social problems, politics, change, love and acceptance – global issues that can be applied anywhere, not just the strife-ridden Middle East where the band hails from. That’s not to say The Kordz are primarily a political band; rather, they are constantly pushing to transform the standard rock idioms with the experiences gained by growing-up in the hard and often harsh reality of life in a war zone. As Moe says, “It’s not just about one band, in one country. It’s not just about us being from the Arab world. It’s about people – everywhere – all feeling this universal thing. Many years already, and in some ways only just getting started.”
For The Kordz, poised on the edge of global success, that universal thing could turn out to be very, very big.