Aes Cyprium: Cyprus Scene Report

By on 11 February 2014

One of the many beautiful things about metal is that it seems to be able to flourish anywhere. Sure, we’ve all heard numerous accounts of the genre’s history, influence and appeal throughout the UK, America, Scandinavia, Brazil etc, but in today’s exclusive scene report, our very own Mike Angastiniotis focuses his gaze on Cyprus, and the bands that are keeping the genre alive over there…

Aes Cyprium – the Latin translation of the phrase “metal of Cyprus”… a phrase used to refer to the copper alloy that Cyprus was popularly known for in the trade business a bloody long time ago. So, as you might have gathered, the island of Cyprus got its name from the copper alloy (how freakin’ metal is that?).

cyprusFor those who are aware of where Cyprus is geographically located, you know for a fact that it’s a small island in the Mediterranean with a relatively small population. You might also know of Cyprus as being the only country in the world with a divided capital, or because of its sunny sea-side beaches or even because of this godly thing which goes by the name of Halloumi cheese.
Anyway, enough with the touristy bit for now …

Over the last couple of decades, metal culture has thrived as a whole in Cyprus and is slowly mapping itself as a destination for touring bands. Although pioneering bands such as Sepultura, Arch Enemy, and Iced Earth have visited the island – with the latter recording their Live DVD at the Ancient Kourion amphitheater during their 2nd visit – the prestige of the Cyprus metal scene isn’t only defined by cohesion amongst metalheads, nor by which bands have played their stuff in front of the Cypriot crowd.

A good number of bands –with regards to population – have emerged from the Cyprus metal scene, released albums, toured, performed at festivals and have been slowly trying to make their way across local borders into the wild in an attempt to mingle with metal titans.

BLYND (Melodic Death/ Thrash Metal)
Imagine holding Amon Amarth on one side, and Machine Head on the other; then, with all of Cthulu’s rage bash them against each other … that pretty much sums up what BLYND’s music sounds like.

Initially formed as a trio in 2003, BLYND are a 4-piece band who play a concoction of elements from melodic death and modern thrash metal. They are considered one of the most well known, as well as successful metal bands on the island, having released 2 full length albums as well as 2 demos. They have shared the stage with every other respected Cypriot band, as well as renowned acts such as Sodom, Sepultura, Anathema and Septic Flesh. They are no strangers to worldwide publicity as they have preached their music live in many different countries, with exceptional reference to their European tour supporting Cradle of Filth and Rotting Christ in 2012. Their live performances are aggressive, raw and energetic, leaving a lasting impression to audiences. Along with their sheer hunger and reverence for metal music, BLYND engage new crowds at every show.

Find BLYND on Facebook.

WINTER’S VERGE (Power Metal)
Fantasy, folklore and a good deal of story-telling about long lost times… – some even class them as pirate metal! – Winter’s Verge are too one of the bands that have been around for a while now, and are amongst the favourites of the Cypriot crowd who appreciate and engage with the band’s European power metal sound.  Since their formation in 2003, they have released 3 full length albums and 2 demos. After their collaborations with Mystic Prophecy’s singer/producer R.D. Liapakis the band attracted the attention of international power metal communities which led to the band’s signing with Massacre Records in November 2009. The dawn of the new year had a lot in store for the band as they joined the mighty Stratovarius on their 2010 ‘POLARIS’ tour as well as supporting Manowar legends Ross The Boss and Scott Colombus later on in the year. The band follows an orthodox protocol of what power metal is supposed to be: melodic, craftsy and dynamic riffing at times – soulful and dreamy ballads at others.

Find Winter’s Verge on Facebook.


VOMITILE (Death Metal)
If down-tuned, high caliber and violent death metal is your fix, then this 4-piece group are definitely your dealers. Vomitile deliver an impressive compound of old school death metal and stick to their guns when it comes to composition and lyrical concept. Their music and lyrics bring evocative images of war-related gore scenes to mind – a concept that is far more than indulging to die-hard death metallers as such. Formed in 2007, the band have released an EP (2010) and a Full Length album (2013) which was released and distributed by the US label HPGD Records and received outstanding feedback. Apart from opening for German Thrash Metal legends, Sodom, and Florida Death Metallers, Obituary, Vomitile had the honor of supporting Onslaught during their visit to Greece for 2 exclusive shows in 2012.

These guys know their way around the 7-string guitar, while accompanied by throbbing basslines and bestial blastbeats. Death fuckin’ metal !

Find Vomitile on Facebook.


SOULSTEAL (Doom metal)
soulWhen grey matter turns dark, the results can be unexpectedly heavy and obscure. Formed in 2001, SoulSteal quickly became one of the most respected and original bands on the island of Cyprus. Defined by a unique mixture of slow and aggressive beats, violently adhered to a softer atmospheric aura, the band engaged the public across the main venues of the island, leading to a significant amount of followers.

Influenced by bands such as Katatonia, Anathema and My Dying Bride, the band has released 1 Full Length album and 1 EP, as well as opening for gothic metal pioneers Moonspell during their first ever visit to the island.  In early 2013, the band was added to the Earache Records Metalizer app on Spotify, after being voted the top band in an Earache Records poll. In April 2013, SoulSteal became an official spokesband for the heavy metal social group All Things Metal. The band is currently composing their second full-length album, expected to be released in 2014.

Find SoulSteal on Facebook.

STORMCAST (Atmospheric/Melodic Black Metal)
Stormcast’s idiosyncratic sound is constructed on paradoxical foundations – tempestuous yet blissful, poignant yet optimistic. Through lyrical introspection, the band focuses on contemporary issues regarding society, humanity and life based on the band member’s own frame of mind, expressed through powerful and compelling song composition. The band poses a musical synergy in their songwriting; uncomplicated yet creative riffs and drum patterns, complimented by alternating growls, which in its final product portrays a significant outcome larger than its elements combined. Since their formation in 2007, the band have performed numerous shows at local gigs and festivals, released a 4-track demo in 2009 and are just around the corner from releasing their debut full length album. The highlight for the band came in 2013 when the band landed a spot at MetalDays festival in Slovenia; a performance which received an outstanding crowd and media response. These guys have set the bar for themselves and are determined to overcome it with full momentum and surpass all norms by continuing to write powerful music and have explosive live performances.
Find Stormcast on Facebook.


7th SANCTUM (Melodeath/Experimental metal)
7thsHaving 4 out of 5 of the band members taking a degree in modern and classical music, many would expect this group to present musical innovation and talent…and oh, do they! Formed in 2007, 7th Sanctum incorporate experimental electronic elements into riff-wielding melodic death metal, as well as alternating between death growls and clean melodic vocal patterns. The band has performed dozens of live performances all over the island, highlighting their concert at the SchoolWave festival in 2011 supporting the mighty Septic Flesh. Their full length album, “Harmony of the Spheres”, was released in 2011 and has been widely appreciated by the Cypriot metal community and commented on its distinctive musical creativeness and appeal. While temporarily residing in the UK for educational purposes, they are in the process of writing their new album which is predicted to be released later this year.

Find 7th Sanctum on Facebook.

ARMAGEDDON REV. 16:16 (Heavy/Power metal)
Not exactly being Terrorizer material, but I would be ungrateful not to mention Armageddon Rev. 16:16, the band that has been around since 1985 and have claimed their title of being the grandfathers of rock and metal on the island. Their live performances take you back to the decade they were raised in, and they keep true to their 80’s rock and metal Scorpions-like influences while modernizing their sound with progressive touches.  The band released 2 EP’s and 2 demos up until 1999, before going into a studio-hiatus for several years. In 1999, Armageddon’s attempts for recognition outside the local scene reached its apex when the band performed at an anti-war rock festival in Belgrade, Serbia. After a significant absence from the studio, the band is ready to release their new album ‘Sundown on Humanity’ in 2014 through Pitch Black Records.

Find Armageddon Rev. 16:16 on Metal Archives.


CY Metal in its Entirety

The list of bands goes on right into the dozens, giving depth to the genre ‘inventory’ represented by each band above. Looking at the Cypriot metal community with a broader view, the vastness of ‘metal activity’ is growing particularly through annual local events that take place, as well as the attention given to the metal community by underground media.


Arch Enemy live at Metalmorphosis festival, Nicosia, 2011

Every year, a select number of festivals and events take place which have been headlined by international acts over the past decade, giving the opportunity to local bands to share the stage with professional and established bands.

Metalmorphosis Festival, organized by local company ‘Tragedy End Productions’, takes place annually and includes both local and international bands, as well as a ‘big name’ headlining act.  Past headlining acts have been: Rotting Christ, Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom and Sabaton. Attendance at this festival varies between 400-600 people.

Power of the Night Festival on the other hand is a self-funded festival, hosted by its own performing bands. The bands that take part raise funds for hiring equipment, venue booking, as well as arranging a headlining act from abroad. Past headlining acts have been: Ross the Boss, Tokyo Blade, Cloven Hoof, Dark Quarterer, Emerald and Domine.The festival targets 80’s heavy and power metal fans and has an expected attendance of 200-300 people.


Power Of The Night Festival 2013

From this year onwards, the Unholy Trinity will be taking place annually on the island, premiering with the participation of Polish titans Vader this upcoming April in Nicosia. This is the first time that Vader will be visiting the island to the satisfaction of the vast amount of hardcore death metal fans all over the island. High expectations for this one.

Metal Media
Local underground websites/zines act as a cornerstone between bands and fans, and provide them with live footage, reports, news updates, album reviews, event listings and objective exposure of metal music in general.







Coming to an end…

The Cyprus metal community/scene is an on-growing one, with capabilities to expand and be mapped as a country with a prestigious metal inventory in the future. Optimistically thinking, it’s promising that Cypriot metal can leap into international territories and prosper, while living up to its given agnomen – Aes Cyprium.

WORDS: Mike Angastiniotis

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