|Cover of Al-Namrood's LP Ana Al Tughian (source)|
The band's bassist, Mephisto, did an excellent interview with VICE:
We're fed up with religion. The fact is that everything that is connected to it makes us nauseous. I personally spoke to a shrink. He advised me that whenever I get inflamed I have to express [what I'm feeling]. So here we are, expressing. What can be more motivating than living in a place where everything is controlled by religion? Basically, individuals here have no rights to do anything. We're owned by the Islamic sharia. Everything we do must be justified by Islam and acknowledged by society. There are two outrageous powers: religion and our society. They both interact and fulfil each other.It really goes to show that inside this essentially religio-fascist country there is a vibrant underground of atheists and agnostics. Mephisto brings up the hypocrisy, predestination and the bone crushing lack of basic human rights in this uber religious, uber conservative, uber theocratic country.
While there's a lot of hypocrisy, it has been demonstrated that the local people are very much in agreement with the Islamic system. For example, in Islam, music is generally forbidden, but Muslim people listen to it on the basis that "God forgives." But when it comes to freedom of choice, "God never forgives." Everything is chosen for an individual from birth until death. A child is born and raised to become Muslim and never given a choice to look at other religions. Education is highly biased and focused upon the Islamic world. There is no chance of considering multiple points of views. The only view that can be adopted is the view of the acknowledged tradition and approved religious practice. Freedom of expression is a crime, justified by the fact that "it can disturb the peace." Even in marriage you cannot choose your partner. Rather, the elders choose for you. This social approach mixed with religious control is normally practiced in our country with no objection.He also brought up that this sort of repression was a hallmark of Christianity some 400 years ago -- say, before the Enlightenment. This is what's playing out in much of the Muslim world right now.
Inevitably, the risk to their personal safety was brought up. I mean, with fruitcakes like the Haia (religious police) running about busting women for driving and men for dancing at birthday parties -- to say nothing of them bursting into florist shops confiscating everything red during Valentines Day! -- this metal band is obviously living on the edge.
... We've been doing this from childhood. I mean, we've had a different perspective than the rest of our society from an early age, and we've learned that sharing these views is not feasible for us. Some of us tried hard to fit in and share our thoughts, but ended up serving time in jail, so the lifestyle of being mentally isolated from the surrounding environment started from an early age. When it came to our musical approach, we just applied the same methodology of coping.Here's a sampling of their music. They play hard. You know what, I've had days where this might actually be quite therapeutic. I'm going to give it a go and report back on this later.
Interestingly, their production company Shaytan Productions (Shayton = Satan) is apparently based right here in Canada, in Toronto. There's always a Canadian connection! Go buy stuff at their site right now!
Read more over at VICE.