x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dubai metal band clinch record deal

After nine years of dreaming, the ambitions of Dubai-based heavy metal band Nervecell have been realised.

Nervecell from left: Barney Ribeiro, James Khazzal, and Rami Mustafa.
Nervecell from left: Barney Ribeiro, James Khazzal, and Rami Mustafa.

After nine years of dreaming, the ambitions of a Dubai-based heavy metal band have been realised. The four-piece Nervecell have been signed by Lifeforce Records, a German label, and are hopeful that the deal will lead to worldwide success. "This is big news for us," said Barney Ribeiro, the 26-year-old founding member and guitarist.

"The label will be responsible for presenting our band to the masses. They give you a lot of presence and the industry is no longer just about CD sales. "It's important to be signed, the promoters take you more seriously and you become accepted as a professional band." Stefan Luedicke, the chief executive of Lifeforce Records, said: "It was an easy decision for us to say that we need to work with Nervecell.

"We hardly ever meet a band with such a strong work ethic and with the highly professional team of people working for the band it will be a great pleasure for us to get the name Nervecell out to the world." Nervecell formed as a five-piece at American University of Dubai, and first played in competitions and small shows in student unions. Since their formation, there have been arrivals and departures, and the band now consists of Ribeiro, who is Indian but was born and raised in the Emirates, with Rami Mustafa, their Jordanian guitarist, James Khazzal, their Lebanese singer and bass guitarist, and Louis Rando, their Australian drummer, completing the line-up. Sadly for local fans, if their signing to Lifeforce brings more success for the band abroad than in the UAE, they may decide to relocate.

"If it's necessary, then why not? We have given it our all here in the Middle East," said Ribeiro. The heavy metal scene has exploded in the Middle East in recent years, partly because of the Dubai Desert Rock festival, now in its sixth year. "The desert rock festival is the reason heavy metal exists today in the Middle East," said Ribeiro. "Before that event came, heavy metal CDs weren't even available in the shops. After that festival, we had more exposure and then toured more overseas."