Author: Majd Drebati
In this story, Majd Drebati shares his story “Headbanging Causes Excitement in the Streets of Syria” with Ideas Beyond Borders.
I was fifteen years old when I accidentally heard “All Nightmare Long” by Metallica for the first time. I became fascinated by the captivating guitar riffs and the exhilarating drum beats. It was an extraordinary experience, and since then, I have not lived a day without listening to Metal.
Headbanging in the Streets of Syria
I eventually discovered “Ya Waladi” by Gene (a former Syrian band) and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of Metal. I was truly surprised by the skills and abilities of Arabic Metal bands such as Aramaic, Auriga, Kimaera, Myrath, Redeemers, and many others.
“Rejection grows into oppressive screams”; these may be Lamb of God lyrics, but they surely describe the rise of the Metal scene in the Middle East. Metal emerged as a symbol of rejecting misrepresentation and challenging objectionable traditions. It was simply a new way of expressing our feelings about what was happening around us.
In a region that was torn by conflicts and full of chaos, certain authorities had nothing better to do but oppress Arabic Metal bands; however, Metal eventually found its way into the Middle East.
Unlike what some people may think, the Middle East had many professional bands with great albums that could have reached global stardom if they were given a chance.
But how could that happen when everything was getting in their way? These bands were forced to deal with the fear of authorities and the small fanbase; the odds were never in Arabic Metal bands’ favor.
Back then, Metal bands were not allowed to perform publicly in the Arab region. This was a huge disappointment for the few fans who tried to escape their brutal reality by listening to Metal.
Today, bearing in mind everything that happened in the region during the last decade, the Metal scene has crystallized, and local bands are seizing every opportunity to shape it in a way that all Arab Metalheads are looking forward to.
After years of progress, you can now clink your glasses of beer and headbang to many great Arabic Metal songs in some areas of the Middle East. Moreover, many events are being held where we all can put our fists up in the air and sing our favorite metal songs. I never imagined this would happen in the Arab world.
Regardless of what is said around the world, Metal in the Middle East exists with many loyal fans all over the region. If that says anything, it is that the Metal scene has an emerging community that keeps growing year after year with the hope that one day we will headbang all together to an Arabic Metal song in an international concert.
I am proud of the progress we made in such a short time period. I am even prouder to be a Metal fan that has shared the best moments in my Arabic-speaking country headbanging with local Metal bands. So please, the next time you hear someone underestimate Metal in the Middle East, just ask them to listen to one of the bands above because I am sure it will prove them wrong.
This article was edited by Skyeler Antonino