Formed in 2000, Nervecell was one of the first extreme metal bands to emerge from Dubai, U.A.E. If you have not heard of them, you have a chance to discover them at their best when they reissue their groundbreaking album “Psychogenocide” On Unique Leader Records January 27, 2015.

I have had “Psychogenocide” in my collection since vocalist/bassist Rajeh (James) Khazaal and I started following each other on Twitter. When I heard Nervecell was reissuing the album, I contacted James to ask him about it.

Is there any particular reason you are reissuing the album now?

As everyone knows that this album was initially released in 2011 through Lifeforce Records for UK and Europe, and Spellbind Records for the Middle Eastern region. We did get a lot of feedback and amazing reviews, we have been praised by Metal Hammer for one of the Defenders Of Faith for raising the metal flag in this part of the world, we have won numerous awards for our album as well.

Unfortunately at that time we were unable to allow the album to reach other areas despite the fact that our online sales worldwide was and still impressive. During all this time, we were looking for a label that has a wider reach and a bigger network. Any label would have picked us up and easily asked us to do a new album. But Unique Leader realized how good the album is when they gave it a listen and have gladly agreed to release Psychogenocide again but this time it will be a global distribution. The deal with Unique Leader was made on a multi album release.

Were there any tweaks done for the reissue?

Not really but we have a press campaign coming out, a track-by-track video for the rerelease and a tour diary that was commenced in 2014. Regarding the merch, Unique Leader added bundles and packages to the pre orders of the album, including hoodies and shirts. Hopefully if the album does well in the States, I would gladly pitch the idea of having vinyls done because we do get a lot of purchase requests when we are on tour.

For anyone who hasn’t heard “Psychogenocide,” how would you describe it?

As far as the music of the album goes, it’s definitely dark and evil. Simply put, it’s an album that surfaces today’s happenings in general. The whole world is passing through hard times and this album can easily be a snapshot of that. There are groovy, oriental, thrash, brutal, technical, and melodic passages in this monster Ha Ha Ha. We have always tried to combine elements in a careful and artistic manner yet keep the Nervecell sound shining. I can personally say that Nervecell have always been about catchy riffs and chops. It’s something that we enjoy and take pride as we end up coming with something that sticks to the listeners mind out there.

As for the lyrics, they accompany and naturally meld in with the musical atmosphere. I always say that there are no fingers pointed at any issue, in other words it’s not about politics, religion, or and cliché topics. My lyrics are expression of emotions, deep learning, hard to find knowledge, and experiences absorbed and gathered with our day-to-day lives. Yes, there is my take on it but I also give the listener and reader the freedom to take control and have a say at what the songs mean or talk about. It’s like a dual deciphering module to me. I love poetry and playing with words in an artistic manner.

The intro (‘Anemic Assurgency’) includes the Oud played by our brother and friend Rami Azaziah. We felt it was the best fit to start the album with, one with its authentic roots that we are tied and linked to in this part of the world, and two, it give’s this evil vibe to warn the listener what he/she is about to experience.

I am also honored to have worked with one of my favorite musicians and now one of the Nervecell family members Karl Sanders from NILE. The song (‘Shunq (To The Despaired…King Of Darkness)’) breaks your neck musically and lyrically. The combination of Arabic and English in death metal is sick and has not ever been done in such an extensive way.

‘Taste of Betrayal’ is an instrumental, which is not the normal or typical thing we would come up with. Just like the title, it’s deep and holds a lot of sorrow. Never the less there are no lyrics but this is where I easily and comfortably say, “The Music Speaks for Itself.”

The last song (‘Nation’s Plague’) is a great ending to our album. Once again we went the other none typical path and added an industrial touch to the track in the beginning. This song, along with the album, was created in hard times, times where the world was and is still getting into a deep hole of mess.
Finally I can say that

“Yes there are wars, there are crimes, and there are unjustified and inhumane actions in this life. But, sorry it’s not all that, if it was, then we are all naive. There is a mental warfare, and the mind to me is worse than any weapon of mass destruction, bloody massacre, or a concentration camp. Why?… because the mind is capable of creating all of these destructive methods and more to mankind, it’s only a matter of time where we will see what progression of violence will reach our children and generations to come. “

What has the band been up to since its release in 2011?

Well we have been touring like hell Ha Ha Ha, below are the tours in brief:
– Morbid Angel Tour 2011 in Europe
– Direct support to Metallica’s first ever show in the UAE
– Festival Tours in Europe
– Tours in Asia
– Supporting Decapitated in the Asian Tour
– Middle Eastern Tour
– Headlining shows in Dubai every year
The list goes on and on. We are planning to do a lot of more tours now that we are with the new Label and Booking agencies.

Most importantly, when are we going to hear some new Nervecell???

Ha Ha Ha patience my brother, I know it’s been a while but trust me it’s worth the wait, we have a good idea as to where the new album is heading at least for me in the lyrical perspective. We have a couple of tracks done which we used to fish the Labels with. We are in the process of gathering ideas and casting it on stone. I can’t say more Ha Ha Ha, but I can say this, the album will be brutal as hell, evil like never before, and these catchy riffs will pour in everyone’s ears like “Rivers of Blood” Ha Ha Ha!

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