Friday, August 7, 2009

PAINTING: KREMATION “ To The End, Headhunter Revenge” album

Nasth Sheir, the guitarist and vocalist of the band was my great penpal I ever had. We have been writting a letter since the late 90’s and sadly I still haven’t got a chance to meet with this cool guy. To me, The Kings Of Sarawak’s death metal will always be them. As they’re amongst the first in Borneo to worship Death/Black Metal beside Senseless, Unitheism, Larrong and few others.

In 1999 with just a kidding, I offered to do the painting for their full length album after listening to their remakable debut EP. From my humble opinon, the EP cover that has been done by Nebiula Production crew didn’t fits well to their image as Sarawakian band. How come Rome-like broken idol can be match with death metal band from the Land Of Headhunter?

So he give me the title of the album “The Curse Of Headhunter” for me to get an inspirations. He told me, he wanted something like Death’s “Human” album cover but with darker vision of death, tribal and symbolic.

A few weeks later, the painting finished. And I posted it to his address. Nasth Sheir liked it and use it as their cover. But the title has been change to “ Headhunter Revenge”. The album was released under Music Trax Sdn. Bhd. In 2000 but I got a free copy 1 year later. After keeps on asking for it. I guess, that is the way our local bands work.

It is a bit dissapointment, to see this album only contained 5 new songs while the rest taken from their previous EP. They also recorded those new songs in Lelengau Digital Studio, but the result in Irama Studio in the EP is far much more better than Lelengau. Anyway, this piece is a must for you who still don’t know who the hell are Kremation!

Recently, I heard Nasth Sheir fronted a Rock/Heavy Metal band called Rebellion which had released a few numbers of demo tapes. You might have to check that out for yourself.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

PAINTING: NUNSLAUGHTER “ Unholy Hell” 7 inc vinyl

When Basement Records asked me to draw a front and back cover for Nunslaughter limited series vinyl. I am more than happy. It is because I am a big fan of this conservative band. For many years they has remained loyal to the underground scene, challenge themselves to be not progress like other bands. They are definitely one of the best Black/Thrash metal ever come out from USA.

The vinyl was released on 2008 contained 6 tracks that previously released as split with Dreketa titled “Evil Dreams” which they recorded in Bedroom Studio on August 1999 and with Grand Belial’s Key titled “ Satan Is Metals Master ” recorded in Harsh Reality Studio on May 2000. As bonus there is the mighty Venom covers song called “Hellchild”.

This release was limited to 30 copies only and comes with poster and also t-shirt. Due to lots of demand for more Nunslaughter vinyl. Basement records again offer me to do the artwork for Unholy Hell series no.1 to 5. It schedule to be release in 2010. So, be sure you don’t miss this once again. I think pre-order is available through Basement Records.

By:- Rammy
Click here to watch my drawing skills

Monday, August 3, 2009


I’ve been reading a lots of review concerning the album. Some praise while some others disappointed with the final result. Do we as band like the album? We did, with some small part of it. But we also think it is a product that put us into shame.

People were so much into myth about Blackfire, because we were so underground and almost 90% metal heads in Malaysia haven’t heard our music before the album is released. They never really knew who was/is behind the band? Of what nature we were formed? What is our attitude towards heavy metal? They don’t even know what kind of music we actually played? And this is what you should learn about Blackfire, I’ll tell you the story never been asked by any magazine or anyone before....

Blackfire never wanted to release an album at the first place. They just want to do a proper recording for personal use and to share with their close friends as monument of their 2 decades of existence in Malaysian underground metal scene. And the first trial was to record the songs at Blackchamberarea Studio in Brickfield which owned by Azmi brother-in-law, Mr. Ajin Blackrose. It was analogue recording with a very warm and harsh sound. I got that pre-recording tape, and love it so much. Core is the guitarist/bassist at that time and it was the reason, why they asked me to join as bassist. So, with hardship as the beginner in guitar playing I quickly learned their songs. Sadly, the recording was left undone as Ajin were busy with his daily life and routine gone and back from England, as he’s married to Indo-British girl.

The 3 of us, Hadi-Core-and me continue to rehearse on every weekend to fulfill our hunger for blackend metal and to forget our miserable life. Anyhow, I still brought up this album releasing matter to Jaie when I saw him at gig in Penang. From my humble opinion, Blackfire as the pioneer in this extreme scene should have their album released, so all their efforts to the scene can be remembered. Furthermore, their music totally unknown to many, so their style were stolen by the copycats but no one ever noticed. So it is so wise for Blackfire to have an album out. So, I’ve told Hadi about Jaie would help us if we trust him to release the album, as he got his own recording studio, sound engineer, and records label. So one night after rehearse, we phoned Azmi. With heavy heart Azmi told us he agreed. Azmi told us again, he never wanted to release an album, but as Hadi want it to happen. So be it. He left all the deal with Jaie to us.

Problems attacked us again, as Core no longer available in guitar position. Somewhere in 2002 together with Hadi, I went to Nebiula Sound Recording, Loke Yew KL to record the album. It was my first time recording, and I am absolutely unready for it as I’m just learning how to play guitars for only 1 year. SERIOUSLY !!! And the scary part is to record guide tracks. As we reached the small and packed studio, we have to spend our night at Sam’s ( Kitanachi) place. I remember, he was still a hot bachelor on that day. Now he became Edrie Hashim brother-in-law. On that night, Sam told me that he once was a roommate of Shidi Sil Khannaz living in the very same house (studio) at Loke Yew. And he was the kid who hold the microphone to Hadi while singing and blasting his drum at Semua House gig in 1988.

The next day, the two of us rehearse non-stop for about 48 hours, except to take bath and eat. After we felt like losing our hands and legs, we are set to record the album. We just took us one whole night to record 7 songs which Jadam said never been done by any bands before. I played all the guitar tracks ( which later being replaced with proper playing by Joe Slaughter ) and the bass tracks. So after 4-5 days in Nebiula we returned home, waiting for Joe Slughter to learn all the songs and Azmi to complete the tasks.

From that period, again the recording remains a big question mark. Azmi went to practices his vocals for a few times but then gone till 2004. I’m always asking him about this matter, but never force him to do it if he got no interests in releasing an album. But I encourage him anyway. So he did, in 2005 he finished the job. Jadam and Jaie mixed up all the songs with only Azmi monitoring them. So, we here in Perlis doesn’t have any ideas about when and how the mixing process was going on?

Now let me tell you about our personal taste in metal, Azmi into a lots of 70’s stuffs, so he admired clean and hard music like Rainbow ( He told me, he never wear any bands t-shirt but he got big Rainbow backpatch on his jacket in the 80’s), Iron Maiden ( early album but mostly talked about Seventh Sons Of the Seventh Sons), Dio (everything), Black Sabbath, Venom, Sweet Charity ( he went to all their shows in the 80’s ), Aidy the creator of early Blackfire’s music were so much into AC/DC and Motorhead while Hadi only into Celtic Frost, Bathory, Venom, Venom and Venom! But they hated Glam rock so much, which why they always claimed in their shows that they’re Black Metal band and the rumours said that Blackfire into Glam Rock is totally false. Azmi always said to me he feel strange about all these metal bands today that went for Glam Rock fashions in the name of old school? Because the truth is, band like Blackfire were born to terminate those moron bands and defy their directions.

Back to the mixing process, you probably understand it now, right? Azmi were happy with the mixing result as he is into clean and professional kind of mixing. But to me and Hadi it is just an okay product. But undeniably, the drum sound we got in Blackchamberarea Studio is far better than this is one.

Now, the packaging. It absolutely surprised me to death! Seriously. I means, before the album was out in 6.6.2006, me with Azmi already planned for a cover design and concept, and I’m also penned down to him some artworks to be use in the front cover. We visualised a painting of ugly hand with claws holding door knob, red eyes peeping through the hole, .. you know, all kind of those old school horror. I can paint, so does his wife, the cartoonist for Gila Gila magazine. We imagine a great cover design to commemorate our works. Azmi even write down his personal biography to be print and compiled most of the ultra rare photos never been seen.

But it ended up like a super crap design of the decade. We never imagine that it would be such shitty cover ever seen. Jaie keep telling how cool the design was. I’m just smile. But in my heart it is worst than a cow dung. Imagine back at home, I type the word ‘fire walllpaper’ in Yahoo images, then it popped out that picture Jaie use for our front cover. Without edit they just use it for front cover just by adding Blackfire logo on it, and they even use that stolen image as Cd label. I look inside the 2 pages cover. Super tiny font used, and the pictures is like i-don’t-know-what!! It is crap. We feel like idiot when thinking about it, how come Jaie never discuss with us about the design? Azmi and Hadi always said they don’t want to use those old triangle logo anymore. But still Jaie use it for I-don’t-know-what reason? Furthermore, there is no title for the album? We already said before the album will be entitled “Lahir Dari Api” while only the song title in it called “Lahirnya Dari Api”. It seems no one hear our voices when the music is ready. We don’t know how much quantity of the cds has been pressed or sold. To think about this, only make us puke.... but it seem Jaie think we are happy kids whom had an album out on sale.

No, we don’t get rich or any profit from the album. I got 20 free copies of the album, while Azmi maybe about 50 copies. There is no royalty what so ever, as I got to know Hadi borrowed great amount of money from Jaei. So it is considered fair trade of bussiness to them.

A few months later, I saw our t-shirt being printed. Yes, with the old logo we disliked. I asked a friend who bought it from Nebiula Heavy Metal Shop. They said the shirt was exclusively printed by the band themselves. But Azmi absolutely know nothing about it.

Now, when thinking about Blackfire. I really don’t know if we could continue with our music. I’m tired of being ‘enabler’ to the band. It is great to make music and share it to the world, but there a limit in everything. It has to be a good reason for us to record an album again....

by:- Rammy

Saturday, August 1, 2009

IN STUDIO: Blackfire latest recording

30th July 2009, woke up late this day, still feeling headache from bus ride last night.( damn! with hypertension and overweight body, really make me feel old )At 6.40 pm I took Ex motorcycle went to meet miss Madelina Onong in PJ to give Au Revoir t-shirt she ordered to me since the last two month. Miss Onong is addicted to Char Koe teaw, so it is easy to me to seduce by taking her roaming down town and brought her to fine Char Koteaw stall in Wangsa Maju.

After sending Miss Onong back home at 10.30pm, I went straight to SS15 Subang Jaya and waited for Azmi. He reached the studio with his son at 11.30 pm. So without wasting anymore of precious time we headed off to recording matter. Some of you might still asking, did we working on new songs? Okay, this is the story. We had this offer coming from German label to record a crisscross tribute to SABBAT and BLACKFIRE. It is really difficult to us to decide whether we should go for it. Some of our close friends tell us not to do it, as they knew we never listened to any Sabbat songs. We only know them from the magazines. The same goes to me, I never got any of their materials but I saw them live in Singapore on May 2007 as I performed with Devastator, one of the opening acts. From what I experienced, Sabbat worshipped Venom and they’re very much into everything - the images, the music, the lyric.

Some other friends told us that it will become the most - unique tribute album ever released. And they gave us this simple and strong reason. Sabbat and Blackfire is the first of their kind from Japan to Malaysia. Both deserve a respect and salutations each others.

So we say YES. So did Sabbat. The vinyl should be out in September this year, but due to Sabbat got so many live shows coming out from Europe. They postponed the release till the early next year. Honestly, we seek their mp3 in the net and begin our works. One of the reasons why I personally agreed to do this recording, probably because I can’t see how we can continue to work as a band anymore. Seriously, maybe this would be the last product of Blackfire… who knows….

Back to the recording, we had fun doing recording this time. So does the engineer Mr. Meng. I never seen Meng laughed so much before. Recalling back my first work in Standing Wave Studio 4 years back there aren’t many metal bands record their material here except those modern rock bands. And I remember, it was Borhan of Osmantikos (Hardcore Punk) that keeps on suggesting me that studio after he recorded their debut material over here. Meng also was a fulltime sound engineer on those days, but now he only doing recording by nighttime.

For those whom might wonder, I should tell you we have this great harsh and dirty guitar sounding this time, since I’m the one who played everything. So, pull up the volume and expect the good old school feeling we possess!!!!

To watch our recording session click here


MENGUKIR NADA DARI BESI Penulis: Rammy Azmi Penerbit: Karya Raya Publishing Edaran: Faithcraft Productions Asal: Maaysia Baha...