Crescent- "People choose different paths, knowingly or unknowingly''
Ismaeel Attallah (Vocals/ Lead guitars) & Youssef Saleh (Guitars) are the riff masters that is the fury of Crescent. From 1999 this Egyptian (now spread worldwide) outfit have been pursuing their unique form of Black/Death Metal. Their latest album is huge slab of heaviness and Carving The Fires Of Ahket is quite the progression from The order of Amenti.
‘’I am not sure if we can pin it down to one or two specific things happening. I think it’s mainly the natural maturity of the composition and the determination to challenge ourselves to release something that we are convinced is a step or two beyond what we did before. We wouldn’t have gone further with it if we didn’t think that we didn’t exceed the levels stipulated by The Order of Amenti. Deciding to break boundaries and have more freedom of expression is a very rewarding self-fulfilling feeling which is clearly depicted in Akhet’s songs that manifests our old inspirations combined with Crescent has become, a marriage of the old and new style. ‘’
Carving the Fires is a more focused aggressive album. Almost a new start?
‘’Aggressive yes but always maintaining the melodic factor that always marked Crescent’s sound. I wouldn’t say a new start, rather a continuation. In that sense, album #4 (if there will ever be one) cannot be Carving the Fires of Akhet 2.’’
Now primarily based in Europe you still draw on your Egyptian heritage both musically and lyrically. Will this always be a large part of your music?
‘’It will always be the case regardless of where we are, if that ever changes then it won’t be under the moniker of Crescent.’’
Carving the Fires of Akhet addresses the cycles and nature of man?
‘’The overall theme deals with carving your own path but realizing the consequences, which could very well be fatal. It deals with the rising to greatness, to the point of challenging divinity, threats that arise from the unknown (in a religious and historical political sense), pure hatred that comes with greatness and could lead to greatness, and finally the inevitable darkness that arises from our actions and which will swallow us all. In a sense, the cycle of man’s nature and his socio-political environment is told through the eyes of ancient Egyptian history and religion. We are also influenced by what we see in Egypt in our lifetime.’’
These are important ideals?
‘’They are crucial and essential to say the least. We can’t say that we have the answers or solutions, that’s at least not what we're offering. People choose different paths, knowingly or unknowingly, that supposedly try to solve these questions. Simply put, brutal justice can be the cure, but that’s something we dealt with more within The Order of Amenti.’’
Do you draw from classical and contemporary influences?
‘’Absolutely! All these ancient stories and mythological sentiments are repeated all over again but with different proportions.’’
The influence of religion in your work?
‘’You can’t deal with Egypt as we do without being influenced by religion. It is, in a sense, a magnifying lens when looking at all these themes and stories.’’
There is almost a predatory nature to the album and conceptual?
‘’There sure is, interesting that you noticed that. The album starts with a primordial story/sentiment and with that we start the thread until the end, which represents certain decay.’’
How does this tie into your amazing album cover?
‘’The cover was inspired by the Narmer Palette, which is over 5000 years old. It is believed to depict the first unification of Lower and Upper Egypt by Narmer (or Menes), who is also believed to be the first king of Egypt (or that’s at least what most historians agree on so far). For us, that is the story that we grew up learning about, so in a sense it represents the beginning of everything! It basically shaped everything that we deal with on our lyrical themes. We had to bring this historic masterpiece to life by depicting it in a Baroque style art form (which we are fans of, especially Youssef) and we found the exact right person for it: Khaos Diktator Design.’’
Man's cyclic nature of violence in conjunction with his ascent and descent?
‘’And that directly relates to some aspects of our theme which is also represented somehow in the artwork. Man’s primal nature is still prominent and also reflected in the violent methods to reach his goal, which would result in his temporary ascent but certain descent.’’
Proud to be Egyptian metal? And the Tag of being Egypt’s Behemoth?
‘’We sure are proud to be Black/Death Metal band that is associated with that small variant that is deemed Egyptian. As for the Behemoth tag, I am sure it is meant in a good way, and we appreciate that, but we can’t say that we care for it that much. Maybe Behemoth is the Polish Crescent haha... Nah, they’re too successful for that!’’
What drew you to extreme metal and does it still inspire you? ‘’It’s the only true thing out there. to be simply put. Absolutely it still inspires us but also life and what it offers inspires us. We barely listen to new music; we have a style that shaped Crescent and we are feeding that style which takes progressive shapes/forms.’’
The band that inspired you to play metal? ‘’Several but mainly Death’’
The progression of Crescent and the challenges of being spread out over several countries? ‘’Pretty evident and we are satisfied by it (style wise) and as a band definitely Crescent is recognizable in several countries. Definitely, like all other artists, Covid19 stopped everything but hopefully we will appear in Europe in 2022 again.
Where is the evolution of extreme metal going? ‘’Hopefully not to Deathcore! haha! Well, there is an abundance of bands, but we rarely see quality ones. So, I hope we, as other few, would bring back the quality of Extreme Metal. ‘’
The importance of remaining true to yourself? ‘’Always and will never change till we kill Crescent someday! an honor killing!’’
Top 6 albums of all time?
Storm of The Light’s Bane – Dissection
Human – Death
The IVth Crusade – Bolt Thrower
At War with Reality – At the Gates
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son – Iron Maiden
The Nephilim – Fields of the Nephilim