Contributed to this article
It should not be surprising that in countries where people, particularly youngsters, are desperate for liberation from authoritarian politics and social norms, metal would have found a welcome home. Indeed, in the context of the difficult lives the majority of the region’s young people are forced to lead, the attraction makes sense.
In a country where for many generations, young people have been asked to “annihilate” themselves for the good of God and the country, Metal has become like a haven. A shelter that revitalizes you and gives you hope. Metal music can be easily compared to a flower appearing in the desert of societies deprived of freedom giving hope for a better future.
In Lebanon, a land shaped by war, violence, lack of democracy, and underdevelopment, metal and other hardcore forms of rock music have become popular because they offer some of the most powerful cultural tools available for their fans to criticize the status quo, and as important, to imagine a different, more positive future.
The anger and violence reflected in the music is not merely therapeutic, but also serve as a means of taking control of one’s own life, body and destiny against the wishes of those who has power over them.
At the very time when metal scenes are becoming more public, religious and political leaders increasingly derided Rock music for “dulling the mind and involving Satanism” and for being offensive to their interpretation of religious morality. Isn’t it ironic that the war against metal music emerged when the culture of oppression and conservatism started losing much of its legitimacy among the new generation?
Truth be said, metal scenes do not have “a devil” in them as the old saying goes. Metal music simply has a lot of trouble “bowing down” to authority, be it heavenly or earthly. It simply reflects the larger social scheme and aims at pointing out the schizophrenic nature of contemporary societies, providing a temporary asylum from the drudgery of life for the majority of young people across the world.