The Freemuse conference on music censorship which was held in Beirut in 2005 included a session on heavy metal. A few years earlier there had been series ofcrackdowns on heavy metal musicians and fans in several Middle Eastern countries. Many questions arose: Who feels threatened by heavy metal? And what is so offensive about it: the music, the way it is performed, its icons, the lyrics with reference to religion and death? On the other hand: Why is heavy metal so attractive to young people, not just in the Muslim world, but globally?
This report by Mark LeVine reveals a different face of the artists behind heavy metal, young engaged people who want change in their restrictive societies. As a Moroccan heavy metal musician explains, “We play heavy metal cause our lives are heavy metal.”