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Arabic metal

Who would have thought that the hard and cold sound of metal could reach the enchanted sand dunes of the desert? And the music? Like migratory birds flying among the clouds to reach far off and unimaginable places. The mix? Surprising.



A glimpse of Arabic Metal

The Arabic Metal is a subgenre created by the combination of traditional folk music and heavy metal. The forerunners of this genre are bands like Orphaned Land , Melechesh and Salem, who have experimented with this genre since the 1990s. The first record is considered to be 1993’s The Beloved's Cry by Orphaned Land, that gathered fans both among the traditional heavy metal fanbase and among young people in Arabic countries. With Meleches and Salem, these three bands developed the music genre its natural cradle in Israel, combining black metal hardcore, antichristian lyrics and versions of Yiddish songs. This powerful mix also involved using both distorted guitars and heavy metal sound with traditional folk instruments.

Since the 1990s, many bands emerged in the area, further developing this genre. In some cases, strict religious law caused some bands, like Al-Namrood, to keep on playing and making music in secret, as the band members would be persecuted and arrested if their identities were discovered. Their music is an interesting vision of how religious repression and strict traditional law are seen by free thinkers and artists, and how they are living a strong moment of rebellion, openly criticizing the system with the high risk of being put in prison for their ideas. More than musicians, they can be considered historians of their time and society.

In other countries the situation can be different: the Dubai band Nervecell, founded in 2000, has recorded and toured several countries, and has played at the Egypt Metal Festival. The same as the band Crescent, who formed in Egypt and became internationally known after the participation at the Egypt Metal Festival led them to play at 2014 Wacken festival, one of the most important metal festivals in Europe. Dubai and the UAB seems to be another thriving place for the Arabic metal scene. Starting from the first wave, which developed in Israel and Lebanon with Orphaned Land, Melechesh and Salem, and also the Libanese band Kimaera, many other bands are now playing, recording and touring the world. The most notable are NerveCell, the multicultural Dubai-based Anuryzm, the Barhain-based band Helionlight, with its recall of 1980s metal riffs and sounds and a skate punk attitude, the band Svengali and its recent 2015 EP Unscathed, and finally the band Aramaic, founded in 2010. From this area, other notable bands formed, reaching out to Algeria, where the band Lelahell has played extreme metal along with other notable bands like Neanderthalia, Litham, Carnavage and Devast. In these years, Arabic metal is gathering collaborations with western musicians bridging the gap between cultures and music genres, influencing this to make a new impressive form.
Tag: arabic metal, dubai, lebanon, heavy metal, black metal

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