Heavy metal music in Syrian war


This music video says about itself:

Band: Maysaloon
Single: Warsphere
Genre: Syrian Death Metal
Country: Syria
Year: 2017

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

How loud music helps to forget the war

About 150 people gather in a small, black-painted hall in Aleppo. They wear dark clothing and do head banging to the sound of rough guitars. The concert is called ‘live under siege’, but also ‘living under siege’. Outside, the civil war in Syria is going on.

The concert is a scene in the documentary Syrian Metal is War. Filmmaker Monzer Darwish, a refugee from Syria and now ended up in Dutch Noord-Holland province, followed people from the Syrian metal scene in 2013 and 2014. At the risk of their own lives, they organized concerts during bombing and traveled along routes full of snipers and paramilitary gangs. …

This video is called Syrian Metal Is War – Extended Trailer.

Even before the civil war, metalheads in Syria did not have an easy time, says Nasrah: “With long hair and a black shirt, you were a suspect quickly. Police were watching us and sometimes people were arrested after performances.” Even people in his own environment did not understand his lifestyle, the musician says. “Do you slaughter cats ritually, people often asked, or do you worship the devil?”

Things became different in the war. Metalheads no longer had to deal with the threat of police, but with the threat of war. “During a concert, we feared not only warfare, but also suicide bombers”, says documentary maker Monzer Darwish. Every meeting was a target for ISIS fighters, especially when music was being played. “Yet often 100, 150 people were together. Metal was the last bit of pleasure for them. They were literally willing to die for the music.”

Despite the passion of fans, the Syrian metal scene has had a hard time. Many bands have lost sight of each other in the stream of refugees. Guitar player Khodor Nashrah also said: “Our bass player is still in Syria, the drummer is in Austria and I am in Lebanon.” Despite the distance, the group is still active, he says: “Through WhatsApp we send pieces of music to each other. Our drummer then tries to make songs of it. But it is very difficult.”

New music

Documentary maker Monzer Darwish still plays the guitar in the Netherlands, although less often than before. “First find a house in the Netherlands, then a job. It is difficult to spend a lot of time with music”, he says.

His hope lies mainly with the metalheads in Syria itself, which he wants to bring more attention to with his film. “They still release new music, despite everything.” Darwish follows the bands closely: in the Netherlands he listens to music that appears in Syria. “I can’t live without it,” he says. “Without that music I would never have survived the war.”

Lebanese Christian leaders, in an bid to resurrect their influence, have entered into a Faustian pact with reactionary forces, anointing the indie pop band Mashrou’ Leila as its sacrificial lamb. Mashrou’ Leila, led by an openly gay frontman, has for years pushed the limits of social commentary in the Arab world. But never before had the four-man group faced censure in their home country, until now: here.

6 thoughts on “Heavy metal music in Syrian war

  1. Pingback: Siouxsie and the Banshees, a Goth band? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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