Heavy Metal Muslims
September 8, 2008 11:38 AM   Subscribe

An article by Johann Hari (a remarkable columnist) in today's Independent about the substantial Heavy Metal movement in the Muslim world inserted a flicker of hope into my normally gloomy outlook on the current situation. I know that in my youth I used Heavy Metal (old school) as a hammer to tell my parents, my teachers and the world in general that I was different from them and did not accept their rules, judgements and values. If that is happening in Tehran, Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan then I'm with the kids. Go Metalheads! Rock the Mullahs! Tarantist look and sound the part but the listing on their YouTube page of 'Home town - Tehran/Los Angeles' is a bit worrying. How the hell do they work that gig?

I'm not sure I'm with Johann on the second half of the article though. I've come to enjoy Country in my dotage, but because it is nice, and sweet and melodic. Not for it's rebellious revolutionary fervour.
Also, this man led me astray.
posted by surfdad (18 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I just got done reading Mark Levine's Heavy Metal Islam which was a pretty solid book. Though, he should know that Iron Maiden's mascot is named "Eddie," not "Freddie."
Ana metil!
posted by NoMich at 11:45 AM on September 8, 2008

Oops, forgot to add this nugget of awesome: SA Metal.
posted by NoMich at 11:47 AM on September 8, 2008

Nice post, surfdad. Metal, inspite of itself sometimes I'll admit, still spreads the gospel of rebeliion. my wife teaches high school in an impoverished section of the Bronx. She saw a Latino student of hers doodling a cross on his notebook. He noticed her looking and said, 'I want to be a Metal God.' He wears a Misfits t-shirt a lot. But the point is that the spirit at the center of Heavy Metal shows up in surprising places. It's kind of punk's drunken savant cousin.

I'll keep an eye peeled for that Metal Islam book.
posted by jonmc at 11:53 AM on September 8, 2008

Is 13 first-person pronouns a record for an FPP?
posted by mudpuppie at 11:56 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

I want you to know my thoughts puppie. we don't need that third person.
posted by surfdad at 12:04 PM on September 8, 2008

When I heard there were death metal bands in Kyrgyzstan and black metal bands in Singapore (which reminds me that I should listen to Impiety's Skullfucking Armageddon again), I knew metal was everywhere.

I had no idea about this, though:

It turns out that the biggest market for Heavy Metal outside the US is across the Muslim world.


Sam Dunn, the guy behind Metal: A Headbanger's Journey has another documentary coming out, Global Metal which also looks at metal outside the western world.
posted by ignignokt at 12:07 PM on September 8, 2008

I don't even have 13 first persons in my autobiography. It's all told from the point of view of an immortal trout who watches my life from a nearby river, and refers to himself in the second person.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:09 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

huh, Interesting to learn about this. Had to google to learn more.

Rockin' In The Islamic World
Underground Heavy Metal Scene Thrives Cautiously In Egypt

Heavy metal in Muslim majority countries

Article about Heavy Metal Islam from IslamOnline.

A state in Malaysia says it will give herbal medicine to 150 teenage rock fans accused of belonging to a Satanic cult. [wonders about the "herb"]

Heavy metal fans in some Islamic countries don't just fear noise complaints from neighbours. They risk being imprisoned as devil worshippers
[sounds similar the US]
posted by nickyskye at 12:35 PM on September 8, 2008

You really do learn something new every day.
posted by fshgrl at 12:51 PM on September 8, 2008

From one of nickyskye's wiki finds 'The government believes the music causes teens to become disrespectful to parents and elderly, as well as lowering their respect for religion'. Any one remember a movie called 'Rock around the Clock'? I'm sure someone made the same speech.
posted by surfdad at 1:04 PM on September 8, 2008

This thread is not complete without a nod to O-Hum, who have been rocking Tehran since 1999, and are the first Iranian rock band to perform abroad since the Revolution. Here's their site. Here's a video* of Darvish, the single off their most recent album, Aloodeh. Not really metal (more proggy power pop), but still amplified instruments designed to scare your parents, which is a Good Thing Everywhere.

*caution: earworm*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:25 PM on September 8, 2008

Probably the best Middle Eastern metal band I've heard is Weapon -- they started in Bangladesh, then the founder moved to Canada. The demo isn't as good, but both 7" releases are excellent slabs of slow/mid-paced black metal. Damaar from Lebanon are also great -- they're chaotic black metal in the vein of Blasphemy or Revenge.

Going back in time and over to the east, Langsuyr's Riusgnal is a total classic to me; this is Malaysian black/death metal with great riffing, a bit like Rotting Christ or Varathron with a touch of early Morbid Angel. The guy behind this band is supposedly Muslim, and had some legal/government trouble with releasing the latest album, though I think their more recent stuff is not nearly as good as Riusgnal!

Links to the bands' myspace samples and record labels are at the bottom of each page.
posted by vorfeed at 1:40 PM on September 8, 2008

If anyone has more links to the music, not to the people that write about the music, or the people who hope to popularize the music, I would appreciate it.
posted by vapidave at 3:51 PM on September 8, 2008

I don't know if this is what you mean, vapidave, but you can go to the Encyclopedia Metallum and sort the bands by country. Usually, a band that is on that site will have a MySpace page and you can check out their music that way.
As well, there's the SA (Saudi Arabia) Metal site that I linked to above. Same thing, any band on that site will usually have a MySpace page. That site even has podcasts. They're in Arabic, but there's plenty of music to be heard.
posted by NoMich at 4:00 PM on September 8, 2008

vapidave: if you go to Metal Archives, you can browse by country. Try Iran, Egypt, and Morocco, and Pakistan for starters. Most of the individual band pages will have a myspace and/or homepage link with samples.

heh, jinx.
posted by vorfeed at 4:01 PM on September 8, 2008

I don't even have 13 first persons in my autobiography. It's all told from the point of view of an immortal trout who watches my life from a nearby river, and refers to himself in the second person.

Sound a bit like this?
posted by doobiedoo at 6:40 PM on September 8, 2008

Ah, yes. I remember when the Malaysian government/Islamic peeps issued a crackdown on "heavy metal cult members" for "practicing animal sacrifices and destroying religious texts including the Koran". If I recall correctly, the only proof they had were a handful of zines with run-of-the-mill metal drawings. (I believe they made the genre haram in some states.)
It brought a lot of lol. For a good year or so after that, you could get sent to the principal's office just for flashing the rock on! sign.
posted by Xere at 7:42 PM on September 8, 2008

If that is happening in Tehran, Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan then I'm with the kids.

They're not gonna take it?
posted by octobersurprise at 5:49 AM on September 9, 2008

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