Heavy metal is a genre of rock music developed in the 1960s by the world-famous Black Sabbath music band. Ever since then, the world has seen legends and stars rise and fall in this craft. Music is a form of art that every mind could read and feel. Music is reflection of self. For some, it is an inspiration and for others, it is an escape from reality. It resembles real adroitness which holds your place in the world of it and among all the genres heavy metal is a thick, massive sound, characterized by distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and loudness. Metal is not mainstream in the Maldives. There are few metal bands in the Maldives who are struggling to achieve their shot to fame. They are waiting for that break to stardom.
In 2009, Maldivian bands with an aptitude for this genre had the opportunity to express the knack they had for metal via a show called Breakout festival. This was a platform where all the Maldivian music lovers gathered to see the local rock bands play their tunes. Bands like Sacred Legacy and Rock Paper Scissors evinced their peculiarities throughout this platform. This was more than a decade ago. No real effort has been made to provide local bands with a platform to showcase their talents.
Void Sanctuary is a small local metal band formed by 2 brothers from Addu city Hithdhoo. Metal is their forte. They have a charismatic and obsessive appeal to this genre. After toiling their way through the learning phase, they have all the prerequisite skills needed to shine. Void Sanctuary’s lead guitarist is 24-year old Saaib who has been deeply passionate about this genre ever since he was 11 years old. He dedicated all his time to develop his natural talent in music. His first inspiration was the world-renowned Indie band Linkin Park but it was Children of Bodom who sowed the seeds of his obsession with the metal genre. At that time, he only had a rusty acoustic guitar. It did not stop him from his ultimate desire to play metal. Moreover, there was no proper access to the internet to enrich his knowledge about this genre. So, to grasp the significance of his desire to learn metal he used the Guitar Pro 6 which is a tablature editor software for guitar bass and other fretted instruments. He also used this tool to look at tabs and compose music. Yes, he also composes music and writes songs too. His parents hated music but his Mom bought him his first electric guitar though after several pleading and begging. Saaib’s Dad never supported his passion for music in general, although Saaib got support and love from his parents in every other thing he chose in life. Today, Saaib is a well-known guitarist in his homeland.
The band’s rhythm guitarist Mohamed Yameen is the only young metal guitarist in Hithadhoo that I know of. As he is Saaib’s only sibling and his younger brother, his introduction to metal was through his brother. Like every other artist, he was inspired by metal legends like Slash and bands like Metallica and Megadeth. In the genre of heavy metal, he looks up to bands like Lamb of God. Yameen also started playing guitar at the age of 11 and since then he has been playing metal regularly. The two brothers have a good apprehension of rock and roll, soft rock, and a little bit of reggae. In addition to music, they both are studying marketing and business management, respectively. They are bright and young individuals with a lot of potential in an age where many falls for the trap of substance abuse.
They formed Void Sanctuary with one of their neighbors Inaaz (Inzey) who is a well-known bassist in Hithadhoo. Currently, they have no drummers, so they programmed the drum notes as MIDI files on Guitar Pro. MIDI Files contain one or more MIDI streams, with time information for each event. Song, sequence, and track structures, tempo, and time signature information are all supported. Track names and other descriptive information may be stored with the MIDI data. With all these struggles and challenges, they endeavored to manifest their musical flair on a professional platform.
They earned a spot at the Metal Wars last year which is an online music festival for metal artists and bands. Void Sanctuary was one of the seven bands that performed in this festival and the only band that participated from local islands except Male’. Even though they did not get accolades or prizes, they did their very best with very little they had in terms of equipment and experience. They had no studio or even any apt hardware due to a lack of financial backing but their passion for music did not stop them from trying.
“Playing metal in this community is not an easy thing, considering it needs quite several pieces of equipment to pull off. For example, most importantly a PA system, a decent drum kit, guitar amps, etc, you cannot really get them easily and most of the time are expensive. We still do not have a practice space where we could all play together as a band. I know quite a lot of talented musicians that quit or could not really play at all because of struggles like these. And another thing is, we do not have a studio or any means to really record the music we create, for that we would have to either go to Malé or abroad. We have managed up until this point with the very minimum resources available to us which amounts to nothing really. It is basically Guitars and a bunch of busted guitar amps that don’t work half of the time.” said Saaib reflecting on the challenges he faces which is echoed by any young artist in this country.
Nothnegal is a Maldivian heavy metal band from Malé, formed in 2006. They have released one full-length album, one EP, and toured in more than 30 countries around the world. The legendary Paul Reeve collaborated with this Maldivian band in producing their music. There are many talented locals waiting for an opportunity showcase their talents on a bigger platform. If a band like local Nothnegal could be ranked alongside legendary bands like Megadeth and Queen, there is no reason why these passionate youngsters cannot.
These youngsters dream of music as a gateway to escape from the struggles of everyday life. They dream of world tours and packed stadiums across the globe as successful musicians. Every artist begins with a dream. Saaib and Yameen are grateful for the support and love they have received from their family and friends on this challenging journey. I see a lot of potential in these youngsters. I am happy that these kids faced every obstacle thrown at them and still keeps going despite all the hardship. Let us all be the ears who hear the screams of such souls striving to make their dreams come true. The sky is the limit and the world is at their feet.