Malta conjures up images of a quaint, sleepy Mediterranean island with blue skies, clear warm sea, an abundance of history and culture and a place to sip a cool drink on a quayside at sunset. That’s the impression the advertisements portray, and for many, that’s what Malta represents.
However, delve a little deeper, and you will come across a thriving local music scene, with a variety of genres; a couple of the most popular being death and heavy metal. Malta has hosted it’s own Extreme Metal Festivals with a good number of local bands taking part, and these events have been attended by both local and international fans.
Doom metal fans in May last year, attended the Malta Doom Metal Festival at Poxx bar, Paceville. Other bars that feature some of the best heavy metal bands in Malta are Rookies and Remedy.
Several bands from Malta have featured in overseas festivals and have toured extensively, and one thing that seems to stand out with the Maltese bands is the quality and artistry, with excellent reviews in the media. One of these bands is Forsaken, formed back in the early 1990s. Their albums, Dominaeon, Evermore and Anima Mundi were released on cd and vinyl and were very well-received in Germany, UK, USA and The Netherlands. Their most recent album “After the Fall” was released on April 1st 2009, this is Forsaken’s first collaboration with I Hate Records based in Sweden. They also took part in the Martial Arts vs Rock Bands festival in Floriana, Malta in January 2010.
Another local heavy metal band experiencing success internationally is Loathe, who have toured the UK over the past few years, playing venues in London, Birmingham, Manchester and other cities. In 2009, Loathe recorded their first album, Despondent by Design, to be released in 2010. Loathe have played on the same bill as SLIT, Sabbat, Let ‘Em Bürn, SLAB and Detonation.
Knockturn Alley is another popular Maltese metal band who, in 2009, toured Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and played their closing date in Finland, whist promoting their album Medusa. Knockturn Alley was formed in 2004 and has a good-sized following on Facebook too.
There are several other heavy metal bands involved in the local scene such as Dark Quarterer, Seismic, Nomad Son and Deluge of Sorrow. The next Metal event in Malta is the Pre-Valentine Massacre on 9th February 2010 featuring Loathe, Knockturn Alley and Seismic at Remedy Club, Paceville.