Friday, June 30, 2017

Sympathy for the devils

Being a metalhead in the UK can mark you out as different, as someone standing outside the dominant culture and rebelling against it, as a target for mockery and ridicule. But that's nothing compared to the genuine dangers faced by metal fans in the Middle East, who often face persecution and imprisonment simply because of the music they love, the clothes they wear and the lifestyle they choose to lead.

To mark the twentieth anniversary of the arrest and torture of around 100 metal fans in Egypt in January 1997, the Quietus' Patrick Clarke spoke to metal musicians from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Lebanon, discovering just how difficult and risky it can be to perform and even simply to listen to such music in countries where it's all too often equated with Satanism.

Meanwhile, the Guardian's Kate Lamb has reported on Voice Of Baceprot, an all-female thrash metal band from Indonesia who preach the value of daring to be different and who are equally familiar with disapproval and threats from the conservative religious establishment.

Both articles are a potent reminder not to take for granted the relative liberty that we enjoy when it comes to music and culture.

No comments: