When vocalist Lizza Hasan came to the states in 1995 from her native Israel, she knew her destiny. Upon meeting guitarist Karla Williams in '99, a transplant from Kingston, Jamaica, the two touched upon a rare form of symbiosis: mutualism, in which both parties benefit. Mahavatar, which translates to energy in Hindu now contains fellow Israelis guitarist Shahar and drummer Eran as well as bassist Szymon from Poland. From the Sun, the Rain, the Wind, the Soil the Escapi Records debut is the result.
Uncategorizable, limitless in its potential to galvanize, the record is an encapsulation of the positive energy, the hard work, the spirituality and the chops of these five exemplary musicians. It's a product of the heart. Journalists will fall all over themselves in trying to classify it, and compare it to such bands as Orphaned Land, Opeth, Peccatum, Crisis, Nocturnal Mortem, Voivod, Janes Addiction, Crimson Glory, Overkill or Arch Enemy, but, ultimately, it will all be in vain, for this shape-shifting sound and cauldron of ideas has no precedent. Its vocals neither death nor black nor thrash nor power have no precedent.
From the Sun, the Rain, the Wind, the Soil was previously issued (in Europe only) as 'Go With The No' but has now been retitled, remastered, with two bonus tracks added.
Could it possibly be that in all its pan-world metal leanings, something truly original, that took shape and was nurtured from inception in the cultural melting pot that only a city like New York can engender, has been recorded in this year of our metal 2006?
Chatting recently with guitarist Karla Williams, I first noted that their press describes them as a 'Pan-World Metal Band' ... but just what does that mean?! "I believe the “Pan-World” moniker gives reference to the fact that Mahavatar consists of members from Poland, Israel and Jamaica… multi-national."
Your album title 'From The Sun, the Rain, the Wind, the Soil' is a very complex title, but I'm wondering if it originates from a more personal standpoint? "You could say it represents the essence of the Mahavatar sound, which comes from the Sun, the Rain, the Wind, the Soil."
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Mahavatar at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "All the songs on the album performed before a live audience… that experience truly encapsulates Mahavatar at their musical and lyrical finest. Every song has something for everyone if listened to with an open mind."
And whilst we're revealing things, just where did that band name originate ... and what else could you so easily have been called? "One day in the summer of 1999 our singer Lizza was sitting in Tompkins Square Park in NYC reading a book about aliens when she heard some drums off in the distance. At first she tried to ignore them, finally gave in, closed her book and walked over to a man who introduced himself as a spiritual healer. She started talking to this man about her thoughts and beliefs and then he interrupted her and said, “you should look into Mahavatar.” She wasn’t sure what this man was talking about, but she kept the name in her memory. Coincidently at that time we were trying to come up with a new name for the band, so she was very excited when she introduced the name Mahavatar to us. When I first heard it, I felt it was perfect... I love it!! It took some time for the others to get used to it and for people to pronounce it properly, but we know everyone would eventually know the name. Mahavatar represents deathlessness… immortality… it is an energy that needs nothing but itself to survive. The meaning and symbolism of Mahavatar coincides with our beliefs; and through the music we create, Mahavatar is reborn again and again."
It's also been stated that the ladies within the band can "grovel and growl along with them radio boys any day of the week" ... but if that's the on going life-on-the-road case scenario, when do they actually get to be girls?! "We never stop being girls!"
With an array of nationalities within the group, are there ever disagreements on food, drinks, personal space, etc.?! "Nope. We all have wide tastes in food too. When we eat together we usually end up sharing as we like to try different things, so this is not a problem. We’re all respectful of one another and enjoy the occasional group hug as well. ;)"
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) metal song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "Sorry, but I only like to eat cheese... you know stuff like: gouda, provalone, xtra sharp cheddar, swiss, monterey jack, munster, etc... ha!!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "No, I love Penguins!!"
Thanx again for doing this for us today, and we wish you all the best for the future "Thank you for listening. Mind Hypnotic!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Mahavatar's new CD, just answer this easy question: Which of the songs from this album has ben self-described as '...defying gravity by combining doom and tribalism with a Germanic power metal that can only be described as Uli-era Scorpions'?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before September 15th with your answer and the subject title 'MAHAVATAR SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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