Metal Scene in the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan)

The Caucasus is the area of geographical, political and cultural activity. It has always been known for its traditions, unshakable spirit and emotional eccentricity. Therefore it's quite natural that one could and should expect here the burst of extreme music activity irrespective of solid, sometimes over conservative customs and religious traditions.
This article deals with the metal scene of the three Caucasian states – Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is in this format and under the banner of the Caucasus that these countries will join the battles.

Georgia
The notorious Hard Rock was the beginning. Already in 1970s the first band, "Kvadrat", appeared that played hard rock (mainly Led Zeppelin covers). At that time the band was a certain shock for common people not accustomed to such music. It was followed by "Bermukha', another hard rock band founded by legendary Bachi Kitiashvili. Then there were several more attempts of creating other bands of heavier sound. But the first ones to play metal were the guys from Heavy Cross, which is now a cult band in Georgia. It started in 1980s and was a paragon for many generations of singers and musicians. It made a long way of stylistic transformations from hard rock, blues and heavy metal to thrash metal. In a while some new interesting bands started to appear outside Tbilisi as well ( Mekhis Qandaqeba, Bethlemi, GT Batumi, etc.)
"Moritur" was the first thrash band in Georgia.
Later in 1990s, when the USSR collapsed, metal became more and more popular. Various young bands sprang up experimenting in different genres of metal. Among them were Blackends, Steel Hail, Sky End, Corruption, etc. Concerts were quite rare, but whenever a band announced a gig, the audience of different tastes and preferences would overfill the halls due to the lack of live shows. Those were the times, when 'everyone attended everything'.
The beginning of the 2000s was marked by a considerable rise of the bands' live activity. At that time some other metal genres started to be represented which included Progressive, Folk, Gothic, Doom, Black. Efemera, Rema, Dryada, Hymera, Mortirium, Tanelorn, Angel Of Disease, Bohema, Time Factor were among them.
Beginning from 2006, the local promoter DJ Rock (your humble servant) launches a series of live shows in different city clubs, cooperating with the majority of active musicians and bands. It is the first time when metal is played in big clubs. As a result, in 2007, the music association is founded and the first “Blitzkrieg Metal Fest” is held with all the popular Georgian bands participating in it. Since then the festival has traditionally been an annual event. Besides, DJ Rock resumes his own radio program dedicated to metal music and culture which used to be popular in mid 1990s thus reviving and popularizing it. A website www.jam.ge is also launched to support the scene.
As to the Georgian current active bands, they are: Dismorial, X-MachinE, Signs, Time Factor, Tanelorn, Scratch The Floor, Industrial City, some bands with female-vocals like P.I.Light, The Adyta and others.

At different times there were a number of radio stations playing heavy music, along with corresponding TV projects. But all these attempts notwithstanding the metal sector still leave something to be desired mainly due to lack of heavy metal supporters within the small Caucasian country. Despite all this a lot of work is still being done to spread this kind of music, various events are held from time to time with the participation of musicians from abroad including world famous bands. There are not many metal promoters in Georgia, though some popular act have already played there: Uriah Heep, Horse the band, Dark Tranquillity, Sabaton, Saturnus, Sepultura, Dead By April, Vader, Diary Of Dreams, The Fading, The Algorithm and Moribund Oblivion have visited Georgia in the past few years besides the musicians from neighboring countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey).
Special attention should be paid to the fact that the Polish legend – Vader was brought to Georgia with kind assistance of Wacken Foundation.

Armenia
In Armenia Metal appeared in 1980s like in the other republics of the former USSR. In quite a short period of time Yerevan became one of the most important centers of developing metal culture in the USSR. Among the pioneers were such bands as Ayas and Vosten Hayots.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union frequent festivals used to be held on the premises of the Armenian Hippodrome, attended by thousands where Armenian bands would take part along with the musicians from other republics. The beginning of the 90s was marked by the second wave of metal spread in Armenia. In the conditions of war and economic crisis such bands as Beerdingungs Lauten (Deathgrind) and Alq (Doom metal) were born.
After such a breakthrough the situation changed radically, and the metal culture practically ceased to exist within several years.
Another stage of metal development took off in 1998. At that time due to the efforts of a number of people several festivals were organized and a music club opened where both young and experienced bands played their music. Today Ambehr is one of leading bands. They've immigrated to Russia where they carry on their musical activity. Before splitting Vostan Hayots had also had a cosiderable influence on promoting metal in Armenia.
After a long break, a new metal wave hit the country in 2005-2006 when several new bands sprang up and a significant leap was made in spreading metal in Armenia. Beginning from 2006, rock fests and other gigs are regularly held under the promotion of “Metalfront” and “Zhesht Events”. Such bands as Sadist, Melechesh, Arcona, Saturnus took part in these festivals as headliners. Since 2007-2009 Metalfront radio program and Zhesht web site have been started thus contributing in the metal development in Armenia. Among the most successful festivals are “Highland Metalfest” and “Metalfront Fest 2008”.
Many interesting and professional bands have lately appeared in the country, including Sworn (black metal) and Stryfe (progressive metal) offering their fans technically perfect music stuff.
Today the Armenian metal culture is represented by a limited number of quality bands, such as Daeron (ex-sworn), Divahar ( a black metal girl band), Nairi, etc.

Azerbaijan
The metal culture of Azerbaijan is marked by a variety of metal genres. The early 1990s witnessed a considerable rise in Azrock & Metal. One of the most famous and favorite bands of that time was Yuxu. Unfortunately at the beginning of 2000 the band split due to the reasons unknown to the public. Coldunya was also a popular band which used folk songs as its basis. The first band playing hardcore in Azerbaijan is Fatal Nation, having produced such hits as Resurrection, Blind Tears, etc. They participated in the Red Alert Festival (Ukraine) with such bands as Caliban. At present the musicians have temporarily stopped their activity resuming it for a while from time to time. Sadnos is also widely popular in Azerbaijan. It has been playing metal since it appeared in 1990.
With the development of heavy metal genres in Azerbaijan a new wave started represented by such bands as Informal, Midnight, Death Is Just the Beginning, Silence Lies Fear, Live Or Leave, etc. Many of them are carrying on their activity at present. Traditionally, the national musical culture serves as a background where the genre of improvisation prevails (Mugam), being widely spread through the Near East region. This is an excellent example of linking two diverse cultures, western and eastern ones, thus creating original and individual soul of the sound.

By integrating into the WOA Metal Battle family, the Caucasian region got a chance of testing its own abilities at one of the most prestigious festivals, showing our bands thus getting experience essential for promoting metal in the region.


>b>Ernst Khechumoff
W:O:A Metal Battle Caucasus Director.

Special thanks to:
Artashes "Aramazd" Mkrtchyan [Armenia]
Zaur Kerimov [Azerbaijan]

Metal-Battle Winner in Caucasian Republics

Caucasian Republics
Winner Band: PYRAWEED


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