AlNamrood - Enkar

10 songs
39:39 minutes
***** ****


What is more hardcore punk than risking your very own life for the music you are performing? A lot of music might be provocative in the liberal Western hemisphere, but when one starts to think about the ordeals Saudi Arabian black metal band AlNamrood has to suffer through to play their music, things really fall into perspective.

Founded in 2008, AlNamrood have released since the beginning their music on the Canadian label Shaytan Productions which specialises in extreme metal from the Middle East. Enkar is already the sixth longplayer from this trio that has to remain anonymous and therefore has never played their songs in front of an audience. Under Islamic law, they are considered apostates and could be sentenced to death. Calling your band AlNamrood, which means the Unbeliever in English, might not be a big deal in Europe or Northern America, but a riskier move on the Arabian Peninsula.

If AlNamrood were just chaotic noisemongers, the review would already be coming to an end, but they are actually playing a rather special bland of Oriental black metal. Too often this kind of crossover turns into something close to kitsch, as for instance with progressive metal band Orphaned Land. AlNamrood, on the other hand, integrate their Arabian folk music seamlessly into their proto black metal sound, and instead of opting for a fairy tale flair, their music comes across with a very threatening atmosphere. The music as such is not very complex but owes more to early thrash and death metal bands like Hellhammer and Sodom. The angry growled vocals add a definite punk attitude. The traditional instruments give the music an Eastern melodic touch over the otherwise very raw black metal songs. The songs are rather compact and usually get immediately to the point, although Egwaa is a regular folk track.

This is courageous music at its more daring. Itís the middle finger in the face of all religious fundamentalists, and should also be a warning to us in the West that this kind of shit could also happen here if we give up our freedom because we hope to gain a little bit of safety out of it. Listen to AlNamrood, enjoy their quite idiosyncratic Middle East black metal, and letís all hope that they will stick around for much longer to stick their fingers into the festering wound of tyranny.

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