artery: noun 1 any of the tubes carrying blood away from the heart to all parts of the body. 2 an important transport route. 3 the freshest sounding trio to hit your eardums in quite some time.
Who are they and where do they hail from? What important transport route brought them here to Absurdistan back in the late nineties before they permanantly relocated to the Netherlands?
This Bulgarian balkan metal band from Pomorie, Bulgaria (on the Black Sea coast), was born in the summer of 1989 and are still rocking it. They played in Prague for a couple years ('97-'99) and moved to the Netherlands where they are still playing. Their music is a mixture of crossover, core, metal, funk and native Balkan rhythms.
Yanko Brekov - vocals, guitar, bouzouki
Nicolai "Huby" Hubenov - bass, vocals
Deyan "Chico" Monev - drums
Milen "Mena" Hubenov - guitars
I caught up with the three of them and had a couple of beers. They've been together in the current line-up after coming to the EU from different cities in Bulgaria, hoping to escape the bad scene there.
"It's very bad, the situation with politics, with the police and everything. Everything is very bad. We are dreaming of the old west and America you know, so we leave." laughs Yanko.
"We've always wanted to go to Holland someday [they have been located there now for several years], or the States, and if we couldn't be here, we'd stay in Prague forever, because we will never go back to Bulgaria!"
And why not? They had huge popularity in the techno overdosed city of Prague, and developed a loyal following of dedicated and genuinely happy fans, where the energy gets to the boiling point and everyone needs to cool down quick. Usually the shirts come off when they play, revealing interesting tattoo work, then the cold beers get poured down and they're off on another set.
Yanko, the charismatic and most tattooed frontman, is the only cat who knows his way around English proficiently; his mates Chiko and Hubbi do all right with the czech, but all three speak World-Beat most fluently.
Their musical style spans the globe for influences; spirited Spanish fandangos, soulful folk ballads that I've personally seen bring a tear to the eye of an old Yugoslav, working their way all the round to songs by Nirvana, that hardens the nipples of pretty young fans.
Yanko plays an unusual classic Greek instrument called the "Buzuki", which sounds banjo'esque, and Hubbi accompanies him on a bass guitar while Chiko, the percussionist, plays the hell out of a star shaped tambourine 'coz he's still earning his drums.
They play popular covers, the fun stuff that gets the crowd in the mood for their original pieces, which speak volumes in hot, emotive sounds, arousing the listener like an eager young Casanova on his first date. But their own compositions are what the crowds really love
They've developed this polished style and virtuosity through many years of practice, Artery has actually been around in various manifestations since 1989, born in the dawn of long denied freedom. And while the line-up has evolved over time, the inspiration for their name reflects Yanko's views on life.
"The inspiration for the name means something living. It's life. I thought about this word I learned in school, and thought 'this is the name,' said "OK, this will be it, like half joking, and the guys said "OK." And in keeping with this simplistic philosophy, the band has tow tapes of their earlier works from Bulgaria, where CDs are impossible to make, and are shopping around to finally produce one here.
"It's good here in the Netherlands. There is hope here, and that's different for us, 'coz in Bulgaria we don't get folks coming to see our shows regularly, and we used to just play for fun, not money. Our music is the stuff of the world, and we like it."