Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Egyptian Metal Scene
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be shedding some light on a few quality underground bands in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week we'll be delving into the Egyptian metal scene.
Egypt has long been a subject for many internationally renowned bands, such as Dio, Mercyful Fate, and Symphony X, and with acts like Nile being well known for utilizing Egyptian mythology in their lyrical themes.
Over the past few weeks, Egypt has become a media hot spot due to current events inspired by the recent Tunisian revolution. For two weeks, protesters have been retaliating against the 30 year regime of former president Hosni Mubarak, demanding his immediate dismissal. It all finally came to an end on February 11th, to the sound of millions of Egyptians cheering for a new era of democracy.
The country's metal scene has been active since the early 90s. While it tends to face controversy from mainstream media and traditionalists; it still manages to progress and offer a diverse line up of bands, playing a variety of sub-genres.
We thought with all that, it's time we begin digging into the Egyptian metal scene to see what it has to offer.
Originally founded in 2001. Scarab (formerly known as HATESUFFOCATION) have been one of the most active bands in the Egyptian metal scene. Scarab is one of the country's veteran acts, known for their crushing mix of technical death metal and defiant lyrics.
Back in 2009, Scarab released their debut full length album, "Blinding The Masses," through Osmose Productions, and the follow-up to 2007's EP, "Valley of The Sandwalkers." 2009 also saw the band tour outside Egypt, performing for the second time in the UAE (Dubai Desert Rock Festival) and for the first time in Germany (With Full Force Festival).
Scarab is currently recording its second full length album, titled "The Afterlife Illusions," scheduled for a late 2011 release.
Oriental black metal masters Odious are one of the earliest bands in the Egyptian scene. Formed in 1998, ODIOUS are known for blending oriental Arabic instruments with extreme black metal. Their debut album, "Mirror of Vibrations," was released in 2007 through Sleazy Rider Records.
I remember hearing Odious for the first time back in 2005, when a friend, who's also related to one of the band members, hooked me up with "Mirror of Vibrations" before it was officially released. I was extremely impressed with the band's ability to mix so much oriental instrumentation with extreme black metal, and manage to pull it off.
In 2010, Odious was originally scheduled to release their follow up album, titled "Skin Age," with new rhythm guitarist Ezz El-Din, via Sleazy Rider Records. The band has not yet announced a new release date for the album.
Massive Scar Era
Formed in 2005, Massive Scar Era (abbreviated "MASCARA") started out as an all-girl metalcore band. But in 2009, drummer Youssef A. joined the band as their only male member. Front woman Sherine Amr, is highly dynamic, and definitely one of the most promising female singers in the middle eastern metal scene.
The band was recently featured in the Egyptian independent film "Microphone," that was selected for screening at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival, and won awards by the CIFF (Cairo International Film Festival), DIFF (Dubai International Film Festival) and JCC (Carthage Film Festival - Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage). The band also performed at Cornerstone Festival (Chicago, IL) in 2010 and Sweden Rock Festival in 2009.
In 2010 Massive Scar Era released their debut EP, "Unfamiliar Territory," which is available for streaming on Facebook.
That's just the surface of the Egyptian metal scene being uncovered. There are many more bands to be on the look out for. Feel free to share and discuss your recommendations in the comments section below.
Check back every Monday as we delve into a different scene or genre to unearth some new underground metal bands.
iRoar is a 23 year-old blogger from Cairo, Egypt, who runs Metality.net; a heavy metal blog dedicated to everything metal, with an emphases on the middle eastern scene. In his free time, iRoar likes to pretend to do other things, but ultimately ends up watching Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back.
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