Israel’s progressive/symphonic metal wizards SCARDUST persevered through the challenges presented by the events of 2020 and ended the year by releasing their critically acclaimed sophomore concept album Strangers. The group is poised to continue moving forward as 2021 progresses, though the makeup of the band has been slightly altered. Bassist Yanai Avnet and keyboardist Itai Portugali have said an amicable goodbye to SCARDUST, and the group has officially welcomed into the fold long time song writing collaborator Orr Didi (bass) and longtime friend of the band Aaron Friedland (keyboards).
“They are, and will always, stay good friends and part of the SCARDUST family,” the band says of Avnet and Portugali. “We called (Orr) the ‘ghost member’ of SCARDUST. Up until this point, he was writing and composing in the shadows. We are SUPER-excited to have Orr with us on-stage and in the studio from now on. Aaron is an old friend, and actually was the first keyboardist to get an offer to play with us back when we started the band. As you know, it didn’t work out at first, but it was definitely worth the wait. Aaron is a magician on those keys, as you will all soon learn. We can’t wait to rock stages together!”
Details on the new lineup’s first live performance will be revealed soon. Full statements from Avnet Portugali, Didi, and Friedland – along with photos of the new lineup – can be viewed at SCARDUST‘s Facebook page
SCARDUST‘s latest album Strangers – which can be streamed on all major digital platforms or purchased on CD and limited-edition grey smoke vinyl is a unique concept album built of complementary song pairs working from the outside in.
Several recently released music videos, which can be seen on SCARDUST‘s YouTube channel, further demonstrate the degree to which different tracks from the album are thematically connected.
Mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Devin Townsend, Arch Enemy), Strangers – described by by Dead Rhetoric as “captivating from start to finish” – was written and composed jointly by SCARDUST vocalist Noa Gruman and Didi, who also collaborated with the band on their full-length debut Sands Of Time and their 2015 EP Shadow. The album features guest appearances by acclaimed German folk musician Patty Gurdy, the Hellscore choir (Orphaned Land, Amorphis, Ayreon) and England’s prestigious Westbrook Hay Prep School Chamber Choir.
Gruman was also featured as a guest lead vocalist on Therion‘s new record, Leviathan (Nuclear Blast), released earlier this year. This is just the latest in a list of impressive recent guest vocal appearances, which also include Amorphis‘ 2018 record Queen of Time, Orphaned Land‘s 2018 album Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs and Ayreon‘s recently released Transitus.
Israel’s leading progressive metal group, SCARDUST has performed at such major festivals as Ramblin’ Man Fair (UK), Metaldays (Slovenia) and Midi (China). In addition, the band hosts the annual Scarfest event in their home country, where they’ve also appeared alongside the likes of Therion, Epica and Symphony X. The group’s Strangers record release livestream can be viewed for free.
SCARDUST in 2021 is:
Noa Gruman – Vocals
Yadin Moyal – Guitar
Aaron Friedland – Keyboards
Orr Didi – Bass
Yoav Weinberg – Drums