Progressive metal band Callous Minds took 'progressive' quite literally with a series of shuffles in band members and how their music sounds to what it is now. Frontman Saud Al Ali shares the whole story to musivv.
How did the band form?
Initially formed out of spite. It was originally a group made for the school where we came together to perform during assemblies. Me and Ahmad (our rhythm guitarist and lead songwriter) had a falling out back in Victoria English School (where our group was formed). So I decided to make a secondary band to rival his own. Over time, we hashed out the conflicts and decided he’s arguably the best guitarist I’ll ever know, so the band was formed. We had 4 original members back in those days; Myself (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar), Ahmad (Lead Guitar), Farouk (Drums), Sharein (Bass). As time passed on we had people coming and going, up until March of 2021 when we solidified the name 'Callous Minds' for our group, and we had the 4 official original members of the band; Saud (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar), Ahmad Haliss (Lead Guitar), Hijazi Zaiton (Bass) and Mayur Raikar (Drums). Together with over that summer we wrote, recorded and released a demo album, 'Retrospection'. Over the winter of the same year, Manav Chawla from White Morgue (Vocals) was a new addition that pushed us into an entirely new era of our music. With recent events, we also have Mehdi Riaz (Lead Guitar) also from White Morgue who was working behind the scenes on our mixes and has officially come into the forefront as our newest member. Post the addition of our newest members, we decided on removing our debut album 'Retrospection' from all streaming platforms and working on the tracks and releasing them as part of our new approach.
originally a group made for the school where we came together to perform during assemblies
What’s the story behind the band name 'Callous Minds'?
We were looking for a band name, and over the years nothing really stuck, and definitely didn't reflect what we were playing or how we were growing as musicians and persons. 'Callous Minds' is a name that Ahmad came up with, that resonated on the spot. I thought about how being into metal, playing metal, and eventually writing metal needs to go against the grain, especially in a place like UAE where pop and rap are dominant. In such an environment, you need to be able to ignore people's ignorance of the genre, chalking it up to just loud brutal screams and fast guitars, and enjoy it truly for yourself. It needs inner confidence, a true passion, and most of all, a callous mind to ignore the will of most of our friends.
a callous mind to ignore the will of most of our friends
What’s the story about the latest single 'Insomnia'?
'Insomnia' for me revolves around the French phrase “L’appel Du Vide”, which translates 'The Call Of The Void'. Building up to the writing for Insomnia, it was actually meant to be a poem I was writing about how little sleep I've been getting due to some recent issues troubling my life at the time. After releasing 'Retrospection' Callous Minds went on a recording hiatus, and we didn’t release any new music. After a close call for a potential fallout in the band, I was at Ahmad’s house just listening to some riffs he wrote as a “Fixxxer Tribute”. I heard the chorus and asked him to let me try something. Since then, Insomnia’s chorus hasn’t changed.
The track 'Insomnia' talks of a collective mindset that pushes an individual down a spiral of thoughts. Thoughts that inflict pain, restlessness and ones that keep one up at night.
a collective mindset that pushes an individual down a spiral of thoughts
What part of the song process did you enjoy the most?
Our willingness to change. We had actually done the song live multiple times before ever releasing it, and it allowed us to envision new directions we could follow and strayed off the same-old hard rock song it originally was. Live shows were amongst the key moments for me as we started to gain traction in the UAE metal scene with amazing groups and bands like Metarust, Coat of Arms and White Morgue.
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EXpat is musivv's segment dedicated to featuring expatriate artists living in the UAE. Features under this segment are eligible for a nomination under this category on The musivv Awards (TMAs) annual recognition.