of all, could you introduce your project to the readers?
Burzukh is a solo project by myself, Suleiman Ali. Its
purpose is to produce dark extreme metal/rock without
genre boundaries and no commercial concerns, yet is song
driven. I have released numerous demos and 7 self-released
albums to date, "End Game" being the latest. This
project was started in 2001. Before this, I had been
playing in various Pakistani metal bands including Dark
Deth (Industrial Grind/Punk), Holy Black (Gothic Black
Metal), The Banned (Rock/Experimental) etc since 1994.
How did things get started?
I was sick of the confines of playing with a band, and
especially musicians who wanted to focus on particular
genres, as well as those who wanted to make the music
more commercially viable. Also since I was traveling a
lot, I had a lot of problems with managing a regular
outfit. When I discovered the boon of recording music
via computer, I decided to do it all on my own. So all
the Burzukh music has been made in various locations (in
Pakistan as well as the Middle East) with the aid of my
laptop and guitars.
Now a bit of a practical question: what the Hell does
Burzukh mean? And why did you pick this name for your
'Burzukh' is word in Arabic/Urdu that in Islamic
Mythology refers to a limbo of souls i.e a kind of
waiting lounge for spirits till the day of Judgment. It
also refers to a permeable membrane between two mediums
or two worlds. For me it is a morphing metaphysical
location where there is no judgment.
What are your main influences?
Musically I grew up on 80's thrash/metal and crossover/hardcore,
later moving to gothic and prog rock, doom, grind, death
and black metal as well as industrial bands. The bands
whom I can say are my biggest influences include Napalm
Death, Emperor, Neurosis, Ministry, Killing Joke, and
Fields of the Nephilim. If I could somehow successfully
amalgamate the intensity/energy of the above mentioned
bands into a viable perfect sound, it would be my
biggest achievement. I was also influenced by the fucked
up state of the world at present as well as fringe
sciences, conspiracies, horror, fantasy and sci-fi.
You describe your music as "malevolant metal". What
exactly is "malevolant metal"?
It is dark and depressing yet energetic metal. Imagine
gothic crustcore or atmospheric prog-death metal or
cyber doom metal and you are on the right path.
The oldest release that got reviewed on our page was
"Industrial City" (2004). It got a nice review from our
zine, but also a few critical points. What do you think
of the album yourself?
"Industrial City" was my fourth full Ė length album. It
is almost a guitar free album, and most of the distorted
"riffs" you hear are played on synths. I intentionally
set out to make a cold clinical album, because I had
enough guitars on the previous releases. I was working
in Saudia Arabia in a place called Jubail Industrial
City (being an industrial construction planning engineer
by profession) in a very bleak and restrictive
atmosphere and was almost constantly wasted on numerous
drugs and chemicals.
If you hear the earlier albums like the debut Dominion
(2001) or Into Night (2002) you will see how different
Industrial City was from the earlier Burzukh sound. I
followed it up with a theme album called Dreams and
Nightmares (2005) which was return to the more guitar
driven sounds of the previous albums. The next one,
titled Burzukh (2007) was entirely guitar based and is
possibly the most typical metal album (and the easiest
to digest). I'm looking for a webhost where I can
permanently keep all my discography online for download.
In my opinion, "Orion" (2007) was a little less
experimental. What are your views on this record?
"Orion" was more of a return to the earlier rawer more
dark metal Burzukh sound but with some lessons learnt
from the experimental albums incorporated. It was a
weird time in my life. I was married and just had my
first child and was between jobs and locations. I was
also on the tail end of a 10 year drug fueled dark era.
The currently most recent release is called "End Game",
which came out about a month ago. What are your own
views on this record?
I'm very proud of "End Game", and to me it marks the end
of an era. It is the first record I have done completely
sober. It mixes up goth/ new wave as well as crust /
black metal and doom into the Burzukh template. I find
the mix to be clear and pristine while still being raw
What is the best song on "End Game" in your opinion,
That's a hard one. I guess "Faraib" and "Citizens and
Soldiers" because the subject matter is so close to the
heart and the music (Dark Crust/Thrash for the former
and Gothic New Wave for the latter) reflects the despair
of the lyric perfectly.
What is in your opinion the major progress you have
made since "Industrial City"?
Maturity in song writing and letting the rawness and
heaviness of the metal/punk elements shine through. Also
letting songs breathe, and giving identities to
individual songs in terms of production.
I couldn't find much information about live
performances. Is Burzukh as well a live project?
Burzukh is not a live project and it is unlikely it will
ever be so. I have performed with other outfits
including the Banned , Corpsepyre as well as Dark Deth.
But Burzukh is something special that I want to keep
limited to recording output. I do, however, plan to
start a live band when I move back to Pakistan. Just
angry loud metal that gets in , gets the job done and is
Lyrically, you step away from the 'traditional' metal
stuff; with political and harsh reality subjects mixed
with original word picks. What is the message you try to
spread with them?
I grew tired of the typical death /black topics very
early on. There is more than enough horror and atrocity
in the real world to be looking for dark subject matters
in fantasy. Honest lyrics about real situations were
natural for me, given the political and social situation
of my homeland, Pakistan. I guess the early influence of
punk/hardcore had something to do with it also.
I just want people to open their eyes, and take some
time out from their fucking work schedules and mall
sprees to look at the shithole the world is becoming
around them (and in part due to their indifference and
lack of action). Nowadays, nobody cares about any
atrocities or genocides commited unless it happens to
them and their families. I also find it funny that when
I argue against the scams perpetrated by the Western
Imperialist Empire to forward their pawns in the Big
Game (said con-jobs include the "holocaust" and "911") I
am automatically assigned a tag called 'anti-semite'
(though my forefathers are Semites) and fundamentalist (
though most conservative muslims cannot stand my liberal
In a nutshell, I despise willful ignorance.
What do you feel is the solution for all the problems
you mentioned in your lyrics?
Pro-active lifestyles. If you donít like something,
protest. If it still doesnít help, ACT ! The government
and the laws are made by dickheads for shitheads and if
you only think hard enough and try enough options, you
can come up with something better. Support alternative
healthy lifestyles and strive to live an interesting
independent life where your life does not follow the
pattern work-eat-buy-mindless entertain-work-eat-buy etc
! THINK !
The third track is written in your home language (?).
Why did you decide to record one song in this language
in stead of the English like all the others are?
Itís the 3rd Burzukh track in Urdu. Im more comfortable
writing in English, because that has been my primary
medium, but for this angry track it came naturally.
How important is religion for you, and does it affect
on your music too?
Religion is complicated issue for me. I am at present a
non-practicing muslim. Essentially I believe in the
One-ness of God and that He has sent prophets in the
past. But I donít pray in the conventional manner or
practice other norms common to muslims. I hope to do so,
but I guess laziness comes in the way. I really like
studying religious study (Islamic, Christian and Judaic
as well as the ancients) and am still amazed and baffled
by some things. I do find idolatry stupid and hilarious.
In the past I have gone through the typical metal head
teenager satanist phase as well as the new age sufi
phase, and some those ideas have rubbed in. So I guess
my present outlook is quite strange.
What are your other passions in life next to music?
My wonderful wife and my son as well as my mother. I am
an avid reader (fiction and non-fiction) and have been
really into esoteric and occult subjects for a long
time. I also write a lot of reviews and features for
sites like www.avantgarde-metal.com
Drugs, especially Hash and Bhang as well as assorted
hallucinogens/chemicals used to be a big part of my
life, but thankfully thatís all over now.
What can we expect of Burzukh in the near future?
Like I stated earlier , "End Game" is indeed an end to
an era. The next releases are going to be very
different, more experimental and spacey, but with very
organic morphing structures. Also, I hope to upload all
my music to a permanent host for all to download.
Ok, the interview ends here, thanks a lot for your
time. If you have some final words to add, you can do it
Thank you for an insightful interview and your support.
Check out http://burzukh.blogspot.com and
www.geocities.com/muslimpunk/Burzukh for updates.
Interview by: Gerardo - April 2008