Heavy Metal Islam (BOOK)
Band: Heavy Metal Islam
Author: Muhannad Saleh - 2016-10-17
I still remember the day I came across a post on Jorzine’s online forum titled “Have anyone saw this before?” by “Rayyan”, which had a link to a website I hold such great respect and admiration for, Www.FreeMuse.Org and on there I came across an interview with author Mark LeVine who I believe we all owe a big thank you for his efforts in trying to change the way people perceive Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t expecting much from this interview, I was expecting someone who’d be talking about our music and us without knowing what we were going through, but I was glad to be proven wrong by someone with such great knowledge about both music and culture. “We play heavy metal because our lives are heavy metal” and “Musicians and religious people are on the same side” are some of the things he said in his book, I was impressed to read such a well written book, and with every word I was having more hope. Wanting to know more about him, I googled him only to find that he was interviewed by one of biggest Islamic sites, Www.Islamonline.com and it was about a book he recently released called “Heavy Metal Islam”, a title that suggests that the book talks about Islam as a religion, or compares the music with the religion, which isn’t true, if there’s one point the book is trying to show, it’s to show to the west that Heavy metal was never about insulting a certain religion or culture, just as well as religions and specifically Islam never forbade Heavy metal or any other kind of music.
The book talks about metal and music in the Middle East, and the everyday struggle musicians and fans go through to do and listen to what they love, not limiting himself to one topic, Mark came to discuss everything from hip hop and rap, to metal and rock, and even Middle Eastern history, problems, politics, and wars. Connecting every single hardship we go through with the way we see the world and the way we compose our music, OUR music with our distinctive touch, instead of blindly copying westernized heavy metal and it’s culture without knowing the history behind it, Mark understood what we were going through, and above all, he understood why!!! Not to rebel, but to shed a light on humanity’s bad doings, not to complain, but to express what’s going on with our lives.
So off he went on his journey to show the true image of heavy metal in the Middle East, visiting countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Palestine,Lebanon,Iran and pakistan, showing the world that after all, it’s all one big nation and what goes on with one affects the rest, and how each country influenced the other in it’s own way, how we’ve been unified by music when politics drove us apart at times. How we’ve always been and will always be brothers and sisters no matter of our musical tastes and pity differences, and how we’re all fighting to achieve the same goals and rights.
Aside from being a joy to read with its amusing and articulate writing style, the book didn’t stop at the general concepts, yet It came to discuss and explain personal stories told by both musicians and fans around the region, and the tales of some of the sacrifices they had to make on their way up.
In conclusion, I would say that this is a must read for every metalhead out there, not just middle eastern ones, simply because, I can’t think of a better person to explain the link between heavy metal and the Middle East. I would give this a well deserved 9/10 and I’ll be waiting for the next volume of the book, as well as the documentary that’s in the making. So go out and look for this in your local bookstore, and if you couldn’t find it, you can order it through http://Www.HeavyMetalislam.Net.