Metal in Dubai guide
An idiot's guide to music's most misunderstood genre 2 Comments
It’s undeniable that heavy metal has a bad rep. At one end, there are accusations of Satanism; at the other, many dismiss the genre as nothing but puerile fantasy to help moody teenagers annoy their parents. And don’t even get us started on metal’s bewildering fashion. But despite – or perhaps because of – this, the genre attracts some of the most loyal fans in the world. Nowhere is this more true than in Dubai, where regular nights by Metal Asylum, Spellbound and Holy Noise attract a contingent of the faithful. No other live music genre commands the same kind of representation in the city.
Ahead of a month of metal madness that will see a string of head-banging gigs come to town, most notably Savatage co-founder Jon Oliva and US band Evanescence, we sat down with South African Georgina Enzer, 31, the editor of local online fanzine and forum Mentality UAE, to brush up on our metal-speak.
Metal’s genesis can be traced back more than 40 years.
‘It has roots way back in the late ’60s and early ’70s when early bands first started straying away from rock, which was already pretty out there to begin with. From there it’s evolved from one sound to so many subgenres that it’s hard to keep track.’
Not all metalheads wear black, have tattoos, or worship the devil.
‘If you’re looking to annoy your parents and you want the most extreme thing, metal is ideal – it’s something that teenagers do in their rebellious years. But I’ve met metal fans aged between seven and 70 at gigs in Dubai. You don’t have to get tattoos to enjoy it. While you may find it hard to hear some of the lyrics, there’s a lot more depth to metal than cheesy bubblegum pop about chasing rainbows and unicorns.’
The scary stuff is normally for show.
‘A lot of the bands that do things like bite the heads off bats or sacrifice goats on stage are actually really nice guys who do it to attract the audience. At home they’ll be knitting their grandmother’s stockings.’
Metal is a common vehicle of political expression in the region.
‘In the Middle East there’s not the same opportunity for a lot of political and emotional statements, and metal is a major part of how people express themselves. In Iraq there are a lot of bands that play death metal and black metal – the heaviest and most depressing forms of the genre – and the people have a lot to say because they’ve been through a war. It’s a very important form of expression, particularly here when so many people have had such awful things happening in their county.’
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