Today we wrap up the B’s with Brunei and Bulgaria. These two countries have nothing in common, so let’s just get into it, shall we?
The thing I love about Brunei is it’s official name is “Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace.” They are located on the island of Borneo and share their borders with much larger Indonesia and Malaysia (who to be fair, claim many other islands). There is something strange going on in Southeast Asia. I think we saw this with Bhutan maybe (?), but there is a big hardcore punk scene. So, without delay, let us check out these little rapscallions, shall we?
Not much is known about this newly formed Thrash metal band, Wartillery. Allegedly they formed after playing guitar hero together. But is that a bad thing really? So, your sound is kind of generic, but you already have a clean flow. It’s not muddled or too ambitious. It’s something middle of the road. Again, information is kind of sparse. So, off the EP of the same name, this is Wartillery with “Slayground”
Race Before sunset is a hardcore band that has a new EP planned for 2014. As for their sound, it is pretty much in the August Burns Red camp of hardcore. This is the song “Love Flood”
Bleed this Skyline, much like their name sounds, is the name of another hardcore band. So, if you’re a fan of race before sunset, check out bleed the skyline? Eh, it was worth a shot. They have a tad bid older sound than that of RBS, with a hint of more screaming. This is their song “Suddenly we all have a purpose”
Hebiimetaru – the name comes from and I quote “a Japanese rendition of word heavy metal” oh you crazy….guys. Anyways, they have that Crossfaith/In Flames sound. Here they are with the single “My Legion”
Wan Long Kok is an Alternative Metal band from Brunei whom I had known nothing about two paragraphs ago. Whilst writing about Hebiimetaru, I was going to write about their song “the virus” and how they’re an old school hardcore band, but it turns out that it was a cover from the band Wan Long Kok, whom apparently all cousins who started playing together in their teens. This is WLK with “the Virus” …and, they’re not too bad, if hardcore is your thing.
And if hardcore is your thing, Beyond Fiction is right up your alley. This metalcore band released an album in 2011, and basically they’re just by the book hardcore – breakdowns, announce your band name the beginning of the song, standard stuff. This is their video for “Sons of Belait”
D’Hask is a “rock” band, and perhaps the most popular band in Brunei, so their sound can’t be to hard considering the glut of hardcore we have out there. Anyway this video for Tempat Ku is definitely worth a watch solely for the fact that Marylin Manson, Bai Ling, and JoJo all have cameos in it. So, enjoy.
The MicBandits are a rap trio who show us some old school flavor with their song “Here comes the Rapper” The problem with this, is they all look like they’re 15, so it’s hard to take them seriously a) when they all look like they’re 15 and b) walking around with laptops in their b-roll. Other than that, it’s hip-hop from Brunei. You’re welcome.
On the flipside, we have Bulgaria is a Southeastern European country that borders Romania, Greece, and Turkey. They are a former Soviet Republic and more or less acts like a traditional Balkan state, culturally speaking. One thing I do know though is they are home to a communism museum in Sofia. Just a random factoid, nothing more.
Miro is a Bulgarian pop singer who knows how to make one record last. It appears he released his debut album in 2007. From that album came seven singles (three reaching #1) released between 2007-2010. That led him to represent Bulgaria in the 2010 Eurovision contest. The song from that competition went to #1 and after that there’s not much to be found from him, other than he’s a judge on Bulgaria’s edition of the Voice. All of that from one album, eh? Here he is with his last #1 single, Angel Si Ti (you are an angel)
Azis is a…transgender(?) pop superstar in Bulgaria who mixes Bulgarian folk with pop music. He has released 10 albums, 3 greatest hits, 2 EPs, 8 DVDs, and from that came about 50 singles including songs such as “For me, you’re just sex,” “Let me soil,” and “Men Cry Too.” Surely something has to be lost in the translation. Either way, he is a force to be reckoned with on the Bulgarian pop scene. This is the single for “MMA” (no…it’s really not what you think)
Esem ( as in S.M., shortened form of StereoMan) is a techno artist whom you may or may not already know. This ambient techno artist has released two EPs and three full length albums, one of them, “Scataren,” contained songs that were featured as background music for the Nintendo DS game “Theta.” Here he is with the song “Sound of a Halo”
the cousin of Warluigi and current villain in the new mario game a progressive metal that is heavy on the keyboards. They have released 2 LPs and a DVD to date. Did I mention they have a keytarist? Yeah, we need more of those. I am going to highlight two songs from them – first one of their traditional songs, Power, and then a cover of En Vogue. The latter is in English…and hilarious. They also did a cover of Ace of Base’s “Beautiful Life,” but this is…so much better
Kontol is credited as having been Bulgaria’s first successful punk band, and I use the term punk very lightly. I hear echoes of the Cure, the Pogues, and definitely not punk. I, again, will showcase two songs. The first sounds like it could be the closing credits for Night Court, and the 2nd song is what punk rock is all about – gardening, tractors, and…is that…is that a Rip Taylor cameo at 2:10? Man, that guy will do anything for a buck…
Balkandji is a folk metal band from Sofia that mixes that traditional Bulgarian flute with traditional chant and rock music. They have released three albums to date and are working on their fourth. Like Mr. Bungle, they are known for a very eclectic live performance including lots of unreleased songs and variations of their current songs. Here is a live clip of one of their songs, and all I can say is I did not picture the lead singer to resemble anything close to what he does.
Viperfish are a three-piece rock band that has recently relocated to London. They have been featured in the Bulgarian Rolling Stone as one of the next big things to come out of the country, and I cannot blame them. Although I cannot place a finger on their sound exactly, I must say that they aren’t that bad. For a 3 piece band, they do have an energetic sound about them I wish I had more, but information on them seems a tad bit elusive at the moment as their website is down and all they seem to be doing is uploading old videos, and it looks like maybe their lead singer has some sort of vocal issues, so with them, who knows…
Svarrogh is a pagan folk metal band from Bulgaria that had moved from the pagan black metal scene into the avant-garde folk scene…It’s hard to pinpoint their music because it seems like they keep switching back and forth between the metal and then the avant-garde long drawn out pieces. So, here is a random track, Balkan Passages.
Impulse is regarded as Bulgaria’s first successful heavy metal band, having traveled over the USSR in the 1980’s. After a 15 year hiatus, they reunited last year, and…here they are with “Gladiator”
Odd Crew are a group of metalers from Bulgaria who sort of remind me of Down, and i don’t say that because the lead singer in this clip is wearing a Down T-shirt. They have that groove metal sound reminiscent of Down…so, they just confirmed it in this live clip for “Fallen Down.” Also, they write in English, which is also good as i sort of understand that language
Ivory Twilight is a symphonic metal band aka rock aka rock opera, but the one thing that seems to distinguish them from other groups is they avoid the medieval imagery/themes. They’re just a female fronted group with rock and keyboards. Here they are with their latest single “Time for Love”
Bendida are a four-piece female fronted band who are in their infancy. They formed four years ago, released their first single “the farthest shore” (which can be heard below), are preparing their debut album, got a new female lead singer, added a keyboardist, and still need a drummer. But they’re still young, so they have time to figure it out, right?
Spens is arguably the biggest rapper in Bulgaria. He formed one of the first rap record labels in Bulgaria and is currently the host of a show on Bulgarian TV. Here he is with one of his newest singles.
Dope Reach Squad (DRS) were one of the first rap groups to sign to Spens’ record label. Since then they added a third member and changed their name to DRS+. Lots of old school hip hop elements here.
And in yet another bizarre combination, there is a reggae scene in the former Soviet republic. No, like a real scene with like a dozen or so bands.
I could go on…but I think I have proved my point.
And that brings an end to the B’s. Thank you for reading. No, really, thank you.