RIYADH: Saudi metal band Wasted Land is returning to the music scene after an eight-year sabbatical.
The band is creating a new album with Emad Mujallid on vocals, Ahmed Khojah, Ayman Al-Ghamdi and Jude on guitar, Mahmoud on bass and Tameem on drums.
With the establishment of the Music Commission and the growth and acceptance of music institutes in the Kingdom, Mujallid believes that this is the ideal time to get back on track.
“I think that Saudi Arabia’s music culture is flourishing right now, and I hope that they will be more open to supporting all genres of music rather than focusing on a few and ignoring others, like rock, jazz, blues, and even heavier music like metal,” said Mujallid.
As a child, Mujallid was fond of rock and metal music. “I first started listening to some rock and metal with my older brother, who worked as a flight attendant, when I was almost 10 years old in 1990.”
Over time, Mujallid became attached to the genre and “liked the sound of the drums in songs” which led him to purchase his first drum set in late 1997.
As the little boy grew up, so did his desire to form a band. He started his first group, Dark Vision, with two of his friends.
“A few years (after) forming the band, we learned that there (were) some guys who enjoyed metal music and could play the guitar, so I met Ahmed Khojah, the Wasted Land’s guitarist, who invited me to a gathering of metal heads to jam for fun while covering well-known artists like Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, and others.”
I think that Saudi Arabia’s music culture is flourishing right now, and I hope that they will be more open to supporting all genres of music rather than focusing on a few and ignoring others, like rock, jazz, blues, and even heavier music like metal.
Emad Mujallid, Wasted Land vocalist
At one of their head-banging and moshing sessions, Mujallid met Al-Ghamdi, who would become a guitarist for Wasted Land. The passionate musicians dreamt of writing their own songs instead of performing covers. Mujallid said this prompted them to collaborate. The result was their first song, “Death in War,” featuring ex-bassist Sultan Al-Ghamdi.
Death in War:
This collaboration would eventually result in the formation of Wasted Land in 2004.
“As soon as we finished recording our first demo, we started to spread it to our close friends; almost everyone liked it and suggested we start a band with original songs,” he said. “Bells of the Falling” was their second release which focuses on the theme of ancient wars from medieval times.
“Back in the day, we were all lovers of Hollywood films like ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Braveheart.’ We also have a song called ‘Into Chaos I Lost’ about our individual characters in a culture that doesn’t tolerate anything different from how they’ve always dealt with things,” said Mujallid.
Into the Chaos:
Between 2004 and 2010, the metal band performed in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Alkhobar, Dubai, Bahrain and Egypt.
In 2013, the band split up because of personal issues and work and social obligations. “We have a humorous memory of the time. Khojah called us to suggest that we should make a farewell music video, and we ended up recording ‘Fade Away’ in 2021, with a depressing narrative about the conclusion of a once-lived story.”
Mujallid said it was a “tribute to the band’s wonderful journey and as a record of what we loved doing together before we broke up in 2013.”
To their surprise, the farewell song received massive feedback from the Saudi rock and metal community, encouraging them to return to the scene. “We made the song ‘The Dark Passenger’ with new band members Joud, guitarist, and Mahmoud, bassist, and the song was released in 2022 … we realized how many people wanted us back.”