Maybe Abdullah isn't very known till know but I'm sure that if you listen to their new album "Graveyard Poetry" you will sure like them. We thought that an interview with the frontman of the band Jeff Shirilla would be very interesting. So, keep on reading...

Firstly introduce the band to the Greek fans.

S: Hey... we’re Abdullah. Nice to meet you. We’ve been around since 1998 and started off playing sludge core music in the vein of Eye Hate God and Cavity. Tiring of the limited creative scope of that genre, we forged ahead and began to incorporate more melody into the quagmire of sludge and doom. By our s/t release we were a full-fledge doom band akin to the Obsessed and Trouble, but began to add more NWOBHM and thrash metal influences into our sound by the second album. So here we are. It’s an ever growing and evolving process. Stagnation = death.


“Graveyard Poetry” is your second official release. How do you feel about that? Do you think that this album is a step forward for Abdullah?

S: Yes... we’re very proud of this record and really feel that it a progression of the Abdullah sound, if not the entire doom genre as a whole. Instead of doing a paint-by-numbers follow up to our self-titled record, we wanted to experiment more and evolve the sound. I feel that too many stoner and doom bands paint themselves into corners by strictly adhering to the unspoken rules of the genre. We don’t care about that. We just want to make the music we’re inspired to make and be true to ourselves.


I want you to explain me the name of the band? Why did you choose such a name (as far as I know you’re from America). Aren’t you afraid that maybe the Americans will turn their back to Abdullah due to your name? You know that names like Abdullah, Osama and Saddam are not liked from Americans.

S: We originally named the band in homage to the pro wrestler Abdullah the Butcher... back in our sludge core days. We thought it was cool because it really didn’t *mean* anything, and therefore was up to individual interpretation. Before 9/11, I had some angry emails from Muslims who claimed it was defamation to their god because it roughly translates to Servant of Allah. Someone else told me it also means Slave of God, which I thought, was pretty funny. In light of the terrorist attacks some people get a confused look on their face when we mention the name, but what are you going to do? I think it’s a pretty racist notion that people would disagree with our name just because it has an Arabic inflection. If people have a problem with our name for that specific reason we probably wouldn’t want them listening to our music anyway.


Tell us some things about the lyrics of the album.

S: Basically, they are a continuation of the esoteric/personal themes I’ve written about before: mixing human emotion with ethereal phenomena.... again leaving the door open to individual interpretation. I think it’s a pretty important aspect of art and music that the listener/viewer takes away from it what they want to. Nothing’s worse then being preached to or having things laid out stoically in black and white.


What kind of poetry is that? Explain the title of the album if you can.

S: Graveyard Poetry was a literary movement that prefigured the gothic novel in England during the first half of the 18th century. Darkness plays a prominent role in shaping both the mood and symbolism of the text, just as it does for our music. I felt that title appropriately summed up the vibe of the record so went ahead and lent the name to the album.


Did you intend to make some songs faster in your new album in comparison to your previous one?

S: It wasn’t necessarily a conscience decision, more of a channelling of some of our other musical influences and interests rather than pillaging the grave of Black Sabbath again. When we started Abdullah we wanted it to be a vehicle that moved forward and in different directions rather than stand still and regurgitate the same themes and sounds over and over again.


I believe that you have a 70’s feeling in your songs and a 70’s sound. Do you agree that your biggest influence of Abdullah seems to be Black Sabbath?

S: Probably... but we’re all big fans of the NWOBHM movement as well as death metal, thrash, etc. and I think these sounds sneak into our music as well.


What are your next plans??? Maybe a tour? And if yes, in which countries?

S: We’d love to do a proper US and overseas tour, but we’re waiting for the right offer. Our label is not in a position to support us financially on tour or hook us up with a bigger named act to support, so until then we’ll have to remain content playing the odd regional and out-of-town gig. I hear too many horror stories of underground bands losing it all because they strike out on these long tours on their own and come back dejected and demoralized. I don’t want that to happen to us.


And now were going to the “Weird Questions”. Imagine that your wife/girlfriend is selling your whole album-collection just to buy for her an expensive, good ring. How would you react?

S: I’d cut her head off. Luckily, she’s the sweetest, most supportive girl in the world so it’d never come to that gory conclusion.


With whom would you like to be on stage someday?

S: We played a festival with Diamond Head, but it’d be an honour to play a proper show with them some day. They’re one of my favorite bands of all time. (interviewers note: Mine too!)


What do you think about the war that you country is doing against the Arabian nation generally and specially in Iraq?

S: I have mixed emotions. On one hand, I want revenge for the attack on the Word Trade Centers and all of the other cowardly terrorism that goes on around the world, but that just begs the question “revenge against who?” It’s not like an entire race of people or specific country is responsible for these acts. So if you do invade Afghanistan and Iraq, innocent people are going to die again and the vicious cycle goes on and on. So who knows how I feel. Depends on my mood, I guess.


Where would you never go? And why?

S: To church. For obvious reasons.


Ok, Jeff I wish you the best for that album. The last words of this interview belong to you.

S: I just want to thank you for the opportunity. Our band seems to get a lot of support from your country and I think that rules. The best part about being in this band is the eclectic mix of people from all over the world who I get to be in contact with. It’s a great thing.

  by Thanos Aggelakis