Metal is a true international ambassador bringing people together all over the world, all you need to hear is some guy blasting Machine Head on his car cd player and regardless of whether you speak the same language you’ll look over and throw up the devil horns. And good music spurts out from all over the world, no matter where the band is from, the language is heavy guitars, loud drums, and vicious vocals.
Japan has X Japan, Brazil has Sepultura, Sweden has Opeth and In Flames, UK has Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, Australia has AC/DC, and the USA has Metallica and Slayer but what about the middle east? More specifically; what about Arabian Metal or metal by Arabs?
Portrayed in modern media as the bad guys of the world and maniacal bearded men just waiting to press that button and blow themselves and a school bus away or highjack a plane and ram it up an infidel’s ass. Arabs are just like everyone else…they go to work, have fun with family, go out and party on weekends, throw back a few drinks with a friend, and take their girlfriends out for dinner and a movie, and they also have among them some serious headbangers and metal heads of which some are extremely talented musicians with some kick ass bands.
How do I know this? Well…Because I’ve been living in an Arabian country for last 12 years and been part of that metal scene since. Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, UAE, and even Saudi Arabia are just some of the examples of places to find great metal in the Middle East.
If you’re ever in Jordan, head over to Murphy’s House of Rock and check out whatever live band might be playing there or just throw down a few beers with some friends and play a game of pool. In Jordan you can listen to bands like Empty Chair who play awesome acoustic sets of some pretty good songs and have just released their first original or you can listen to the Jordanian classic rock cover band Illusions rock out playing songs like Johnny B. Good, Welcome to the Jungle, and Seven Nation Army. If you want to go a bit heavier you can check out some originals by bands like Figure of Fate, Who Will Guard the Guardians, Bilocate, and Ajdath online.
To get a real cool Metal Vibe in one of the few Arab countries where Metal isn’t frowned upon totally, head over to Beirut, Lebanon. Yes Beirut, that place known for war and internal conflict, but also known for being chilled and relaxed or as the Lebanese enjoy saying “ Rawa’ ” (copyright Lou). Beirut recently hosted bands like Evenescence, Scorpions, and Within Temptation and the shows were packed and sold out in weeks and sometimes days, proving Lebanon to have a genuine metal following. Some of the local bands you can check out in this French influenced Arabian culture are Zix with their power metal influences rockin out in their newly released EP “WarWhore” , or check out the UAE based Lebanese band Anuryzm’s album “Worms Eye View” , and for some serious hardcore vibes check out Blood Ink on tracks like “Skull Crusher” and “Destructive Malfunction”.
To take it up a notch you can check out UAE band Nervecell who on October 25th 2011 opened for the one and only Metallica at Yas Arena, Abu Dhabi. These guys seriously rock out and have a pretty kick ass album out titled “Psychogenocide”. I consider them to be the leaders in current metal spurting out of the middle east and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them land a record deal with a well-known label in times to come. So watch out for these dudes.
I could go on and on talkin about Arabian Bands who rock out, but the point is Arabian bands struggle every day to get their music to the listeners and lovers of our music, despite Arabian countries being very modern and pretty up to date their are still some where metal musicians have to fight through being called devil worshipers in majority Islamic countries who just don’t get the concept of their music and label them misfits and outsiders, they have to deal with finding venues to play metal shows without getting shut down by the authorities, and struggle sometimes just to find a decent recording studio that knows how to record distorted guitars. To be honest I don’t mind being one of those misfits or outsiders and I quite enjoy shooting down ignorance coming from some idiot’s mouth whenever I have the chance. Every metal band that has released an album or played a show in an Arabian Country has dealt with at least one of the above, so Arabian metal bands I salute you!
To get a little more rock and cool middle eastern vibes out of the scene you can check out bands playing a little more of an authentic Arabian sound with some Arabic lyrics and some songs to just chill to like Meen , Salam, Autostrad, and Mashrou’ Leila who all share great creativity while keepin it Arabian.
Now you all know! Arabs make Rock not War!
\m/r Post by Leo