• Russia: Artistic freedom threatened by nationalist and orthodox groups

    While Russian president Vladimir Putin vowed in a meeting with film directors and artists in early December 2016 to protect artistic freedom, he also said artists carry a responsibility not to offend religious believers, saying “there is a very narrow divide between dangerous shock value and freedom of creativity”, reported The New York Times on […]
  • Germany/Netherlands: Faroese metal band shows cancelled over whaling

    Viking heavy metal band, Týr, from the Faroe Islands, have had at least six concerts of their 17-date November European tour supporting Norwegian metal band Sirenia cancelled over lead singer Heri Joensen’s participation in the Faroese practice of whaling. According to heavy metal news site MetalTalk.net on 30 August 2016, venue owners of club Logo […]
  • Sweden: Metal band allegedly receives threats after cancelling gig

    Swedish metal band Black Ingvars have reported receiving multiple anonymous death threats after they decided to pull out of a summer festival organised by far-right, nationalist party Swedish Democrats, reported Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet on 8 August 2016. “I have received emails where people write that they hope I’ll die in a car crash or suffer […]
  • UAE: Heavy metal concert cancelled

    The Belgian Death Metal band Aborted have been forced to cancel their upcoming concert in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The band’s concert was going to take place on 30 November 2015 at The Music Room, but due to complaints about the band’s lyrics, themes and videos, the government allegedly ordered the promoter to cancel their […]
  • USA/Algeria: Heavy metal music keeps stirring up controversy

    Heavy metal bands continue to face bans and controversies around the world. In the United States, two scheduled concerts with an Australian deathcore group have been cancelled. In Algeria, heavy metal fans have been accused of Satanism in a tv programme, causing an uproar in social media. Whenever and wherever heavy metal has appeared on […]
  • Russia: Heavy metal group banned for lyrical content

    A Russian court has ruled that Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics could potentially harm children. The Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) reported that the Oktyabrsky District Court of Ufa ruled against the heavy metal band following a filed complaint that their lyrics and album covers depict “violence, the physical and mental abuse of people and animals, murder […]
  • Russia: Court bans music and artwork of American metal band

    A Russian court ruled that translations of the American death metal band Cannibal Corpse’s lyrics and artwork should be banned because they “could damage the mental health of children” On 28 November 2014, Ufa’s Oktyabrsky district court approved prosecutors’ requests that Cannibal Corpse’s album artwork and any Russian translations of their lyrics be banned from […]
  • Book by Mark LeVine: ‘Heavy Metal Islam’

    BOOKS ##PagePublishedLong## Mark LeVine (USA): ‘Heavy Metal Islam – Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam’304 pages. Published by Three Rivers Press on 8 July 2008. Language: EnglishAmerican author and historian Mark LeVine has published a book about the special role of Heavy Metal music in the Middle East and its relationship with […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Musicians’ freedom expanded

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:Musicians’ freedom expanded There has been a quiet, yet marked increase in cultural activities in Saudi Arabia during the past couple of months. New music bands emerge, and the internet has become an important meeting place for underground musicians. “There is a revolution taking place,” stated the American tv news reporter Nic […]
  • USA: Printing plant refused to print ‘satanic’ album cover

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA: Printing plant refused to print ‘satanic’ album The forthcoming album from British death metal band Akercocke, entitled ‘Antichrist’, has caused uproar amongst religious groups in Ireland and USA. The US printing plant where the CD booklet is being manufactured has refused to print ‘satanic’ material The album is currently set to be […]
  • Syria: ‘Silenced voices’

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: Silenced voices In Syria, music is a mirror which shows the soul of the listener. The hedonist youth of Damascus sees fuel for the fun of their parties, fundamentalists suspect moral corruption, the authocratic regime fears the output of subversive minds. And just a few young musicians perceive a magic language of […]
  • European Commission: Artists are free to ‘offend, shock or disturb’

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Poland / EUEuropean Commission: Artists are free to ‘offend, shock or disturb’ The European Union criticised Poland’s supreme court for allowing prosecutors to try Adam Darski, lead singer in the heavy metal band Behemoth, for illegal artistic expression. At issue is the interpretation of Article 196 of the Polish penal code referring to […]
  • Iraq: Black Metal’s anti-religious message meets Islam

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iraq: Black Metal’s anti-religious message meets Islam In July 2012 Kim Kelly from the newspaper the Atlantic finally got in touch with somebody he had tried to reach for over a year: 28-year-old Anahita who is the voice behind the black metal solo project Janaza as well as its sister project Seeds of […]
  • Iraq: Operations targeting ‘Emo’ teenagers hit heavy metal fans

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iraq: Operations targeting ‘Emo’ teenagers  hit fans of heavy metal as well Brutal persecution and killing of ‘Emo’ teenagers has put musicians and fans of heavy metal music under critical danger in Iraq. ‘Emos’ are fools and experts must finish them, said the conservative cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the Iraq-based Al Sumaria News […]
  • Egypt and the Middle East: The musicians are taking incredible risks

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## The Middle East: The musicians are taking incredible risks “As we all enjoy the stories of how music has become a potent weapon in the struggles for freedom across the Arab world, let’s bear in mind that the situation could change for the worse,” writes author Mark LeVine in this personal commentary based […]
  • Egypt and Tunisia: The artistic revolution in the Middle East

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Egypt and Tunisia:The artistic revolution in the Middle East “This was a very artistic revolution,” Noor Ayman Nour, son of a famous dissident Egyptian politician and founder of the Egyptian metal band Bliss, told Andy Morgan — a writer, journalist, researcher and event programmer with a background in the music industry who has […]
  • Germany: Expelled from teachers collage for playing death metal

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Germany: Expelled from teachers collage for playing death metal Thomas Gurrath is a member of the Stuttgart-based death metal band Debauchery. Until 28 March 2010 he was training to become a grammar school teacher in the German state Baden-Württemberg. But when his supervisors found out about his musical activities with Debauchery, he was […]
  • Iran: Music from ‘below the radar’ distributed on free CD

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:Music from ‘below the radar’ distributed on free CD From a country where music is sometimes considered a crime, a compilation of underground rock, hip-hop and heavy metal music, compiled by the music centre Bar-Ax, was published as a free bonus-CD with the April-May 2010 issue of the British music magazine Songlines, no. 67. The […]
  • Poland: Death metal band leader charged for offending religious feelings

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Poland: Death metal band leader charged for offending religious feelings Vocalist and guitarist Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski of the Polish heavy metal band Behemoth was formally charged on 8 March 2010 for insulting Roman Catholics. If found guilty, Darski faces up to two years in prison. Adam Darski made headlines in Poland in September […]
  • Syria: Interrogated and harassed for listening to metal music

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: Interrogated and harassed for listening to metal music Young people in Syria are interrogated by the secret police if they listen to heavy metal music, writes Romuald Stankiewicz in this personal travel report from the country. By Romuald Stankiewicz I met Mohammed in Damascus. After finishing high school he came to this […]
  • Press release: New Freemuse report about censorship of heavy metal music

    PRESS RELEASE##PageSearchDescription## ##PagePublishedLong## Freemuse report about censorship of heavy metal “We play heavy metal because our lives are heavy metal…” From the underground to the mainstream heavy metal is a global phenomenon attracting thousands of fans – but along the way it has gained many enemies too. “Long haired music,” as it has been described […]
  • Launch of Freemuse’s new report on censorship of heavy metal music

    FREEMUSE REPORT ##PagePublishedLong## Take part in the launch of Freemuse’s heavy metal report Mark LeVine is online, ready to communicate with you on Facebook and Skype, from 6 PM to 8 PM GMT on Monday 22 February 2010. SkypeIn order to communicate with Mark LeVine on Skype, you need to establish contact with his skype […]
  • Freemuse report on censorship of heavy metal music

    FREEMUSE REPORT ##PagePublishedLong## Mark LeVineHEADBANGING AGAINST REPRESSIVE REGIMES – Censorship of heavy metal in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and China Report no. 9 Freemuse, Copenhagen, 2010ISSN: 1601-2127. ISBN 978-87-988163-3-1.    104 pages. Purchase printed version Right-click to download(On Mac: CTRL-click) Review Metalunderground.com – 4 March 2011:Review by Rockstar_Scribbler“Immediately after the first couple pages […]
  • France: Threats, campaigns and media rage against heavy metal festival

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## France: Threats, campaigns and media rage against heavy metal festival On 18-20 June, Clisson in France hosts one of the most ecclectic metal festival in the world, Hellfest. In May 2010, the festival organizers received threats from religious groups, and according to the organizers, the media attention which followed has doubled their ticket […]
  • Russia: City bans heavy metal music in caf

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Russia:City bans heavy metal music in cafés, clubs and restaurants Authorities in the West-Russian city of Belgorod has banned performances of heavy metal music in a bid to “save the city’s youth”. Governor Evgenie Savchenko in Belgorod, situated 500 kilometres south of Moscow, wants to “promote the suppression of satanic activity,” and to […]
  • Iran: 80 young people arrested at illegal concert

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:80 young people arrested at illegal concert Iranian police detained 80 young men and women for “lustful pleasure-seeking” activities at an illegal concert, Tehran’s chief prosecutor was quoted by ISNA news agency as saying. Public prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was quoted in the Kayhan newspaper on 7 May 2010 as saying that moral […]
  • Iran: 12 ‘satanist’ musicians reportedly arrested in Orumiyeh

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: 12 ‘satanist’ musicians reportedly arrested in Orumiyeh On 25 October 2009 the news agency Reuters India quoted an Iranian newspaper which reported that 12 musicians accused of promoting satanism had been arrested in northwest Iran. “A number of people in the city of Orumiyeh who engaged in the promotion of satanism through […]
  • Jordan: Heavy metal musician: “We were rebels”

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Jordan:“We were rebels” “Wherever we came out we were branded Satanists,” writes Rami Abdel Rahman in this personal account of his experiences as a young metal head in the 1990s heavy metal scene of Jordan. By Rami Abdel Rahman One snowy winter afternoon in Sweden about two years ago, I hurried into a […]
  • Malaysia: In League With Satan? – The Malaysian Black Metal Ban

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Malaysia:In League With Satan? — The Malaysian Black Metal Ban A personal account by the editor of The Devil On 45 Zine Author: ‘Ed On 45’First published: 10 July 2009 What do you think of first when you hear the term ‘black metal’? Probably something along the lines of; high pitched vocals, blast […]
  • Iran: Rock concert raided, 104 arrested

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: Rock concert raided, 104 arrested A concert in the southern city of Shiraz was raided by an Islamist militia, and 104 people arrested, on the grounds of being ‘immoral’, reported the state-run daily newspaper Jam-e Jam on 27 May 2009. Jam-e Jam newspaper carried pictures of drum sets and amplifiers seized in […]
  • Iran: Musicians respond to the crisis

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: Musicians respond to the crisis Despite a general ban on most forms of popular music by the Islamic government in Iran, rock music has become one of the most vibrant forces for critiquing the various ills of Iranian society, writes music researcher Mark Levine Mark Levine is in close contact with numerous […]
  • Iraq: Musicians take up their instruments again

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iraq:Musicians take up their instruments again 50 musicians have been killed in 2004-2006 in Iraq, according to a national artists union. But as the civil war appears to be fading, so does the pressure on musicians and the ban on music by the Mehdi Army’s and Al-Qaeda’s militiamen, reported Sammy Ketz from Agence France Presse […]
  • Commentary: Motley Crue, open your ears to Middle East bands

    COMMENTARY ##PagePublishedLong## Suggestion to Mötley Crüe:‘Open your ears to bands from the Middle East’ In response to a recent Americans-only ‘Make Rock History’ contest which was organised by the heavy metal band Motley Crue from Los Angeles, author Mark LeVine asks the band: “Why not really make rock history and open your Make Rock History […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Interview with founder of thrash metal band

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:‘Stay safe, play smart’ Interview with Faisal Al-Alamy, founder of the Saudi Arabian thrash metal band Octum. They released a demo entitled ‘Fighting For Freedom’ in January 2008 By Mik Aidt, Freemuse Guitarist Faisal Al-Alamy lives in Jeddah, and two years ago – inspired by bands such as Megadeth, Metallica, and Kreator […]
  • Iraq: Film about the heavy metal band Acrassicauda

    FILM ##PagePublishedLong## Iraq: Film about exiled heavy metal band Acrassicauda The documentary film ‘Heavy Metal in Baghdad’ documents how Iraq’s only heavy metal band, Acrassicauda, had to escape the country and is now literally a band on the run The band Acrassicauda was formed in Baghdad in 2001. As the war in Baghdad worsened they […]
  • USA: Disney criticised for stopping heavy metal concerts

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA:Disney critizised for stopping heavy metal concerts “Why has the heavy metal genre now been labeled ‘inflammatory’ and their fans ‘undesirable’ at House of Blues venues in Anaheim and Orlando?,” asks Machine Head’s Robb Flynn in a blog commentary. About a month ago, the heavy metal band Machine Head were told that their […]
  • 1990s

    MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA ##PagePublishedLong## 1990 – 1999 1990s. Algeria. Souad MassiSouad Massi was threatened and censored for her political stance in her native country. Now she makes music from her self-imposed exile in Paris continuing the fight for the rights of women and Berber in Algeria.1994. Iran. MarziehA sharp voice of political dissent and […]
  • Poland: Anti-sect organisation blacklists metal and rock bands

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Poland:Anti-sect organisation blacklists metal and rock bands In July an anti-sect organisation will distribute a list of artists with a “dangerous message” to the Polish authorities. It will likely result in the artists getting banned from performing in Poland. According to Poland’s Metro newspaper, the ‘All-Polish Committee for Defence against Sects’ has put together a list […]
  • Mark LeVine: Heavy Metal and Islam

    INTERVIEW ##PagePublishedLong## Mark LeVine (USA):  Heavy Metal and Islam In this video interview, recorded at a conference on freedom of speech in the Middle East organised by Pen on 8 September 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the American author and historian Mark LeVine explains about the role of Heavy Metal in the Middle East. Can a Heavy […]
  • Malaysia: Blacklisted Heavy Metal band launches debut album

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Malaysia:Blacklisted Metal band launches debut album After more than 20 years of performing, the Malaysian Heavy Metal band Blackfire has finally released it’s debut album, entitled ‘Lahir Dari Api’ (“Born of Fire”) on 6 June 2006 By Freemuse The album was printed in 1,000 copies and released by a close friend of the […]
  • Oath to Vanquish

    OATH TO VANQUISH(Lebanon) ##PagePublishedLong## The Lebanese Death Metal trio Oath to Vanquish published their debut album on 25 July 2006 in Europe and USA, but not in their home country, Lebanon.In this video interview, recorded in Beirut on 8 July 2006, the two brothers Elias and Carlos, along with third member of the band, Cyril, explain about the […]
  • Freedom of musical expression in the Middle East – report

    FREEMUSE REPORT 06 June 2006 Marie Korpe (ed.)’All that is Banned is Desired’Conference on Freedom of Expression in Music, Beirut 2005 Freemuse, Copenhagen, 2006ISSN: 1601-2127Read the report (in English language)Purchase printed versionRead the report (in Arabic language) There is an Arab saying ‘Kul Mamnou’ Marghoub.’‘All that is banned is desired.’And there is a Qur’anic command:‘Never […]
  • Malaysia: Norwegian rock band banned from performing

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Malaysia:Norwegian rock band banned from performing The Norwegian black metal band Mayhem was scheduled to give a performance in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur on 4 February 2006, as part of their international concert tour through Asia, but following objections from members of Dewen Rakyat, the country’s parliament, the concert has been banned. Officials […]
  • Mark LeVine: Globalisation and music censorship in the Middle East

    INTERVIEW ##PagePublishedLong## Mark LeVine (USA): Globalisation and music censorship in the Middle East In this video interview, recorded at a conference on freedom of speech in the Middle East, organised by Pen on 8 September 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the American author and historian Mark LeVine explains about the effects of globalisation in relation to […]
  • India: Album recalled and destroyed because it offends Christians

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## India:Heavy Metal album recalled and destroyed because it offends Christians India has seen a “Cartoon Crisis” of its own, only this time around Jesus is the prophet in focus. EMI Warner Music has pulled the new album by the American Heavy Metal band Slayer from music stores across India because of protests from […]
  • Malaysia: Islamic authority bans black metal

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Malaysia:Islamic authority bans black metal On January 23, 2006, the highest Islamic authority in Malaysia placed a ban on black metal – a rock music variant dominated by distorted guitars and occult imagery “Followers of black metal could be prosecuted under Islamic law,” spokesman of the National Fatwa Council’s panel on Islamic affairs, […]
  • Beirut Conference 2005: Speech by Ali Abu Shadi

    SPEECHES ##PagePublishedLong## Better the devil you know At the Freemuse conference on freedom of musical expression in Beriut, October 2005, Ali Abu Shadi spoke about his work as the chairman of the central Censorship Department in Egypt.“I accepted the job because I wanted to do something positive. I tried to change the concept of the […]
  • Beirut Conference 2005: Speech by Moe Hamzeh

    SPEECHES ##PagePublishedLong## A Threat from Hell? Who feels threatened by Heavy Metal? What is so offensive? Is it the music, the lyrics or the references to religion and death after life? These were some of the questions raised by rock musician Moe Hamzeh at the Conference on Freedom of Expression in Beirut in October 2005 Moe Hamzeh, […]
  • USA: M

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA: Mötley Crüe blacklisted by NBC According to The New York Times, the heavy metal lads of Mötley Crüe are suing NBC because the network canceled scheduled appearances and banned the band after singer Vince Neil uttered the “F”-word on a live “Tonight Show” broadcast Has Mötley Crüe’s free-speech rights been violated? The glam-metal […]
  • R

    RÈDA ZINEMusician (Morocco)
  • Malaysia: Black metal music under attack

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Malaysia:Black metal music under attack Malaysian authorities see the music as part of “black metal cult” By Meredith Holmgren Malaysian authorities are once again targeting black metal as a source of satanic cult rituals. On 5 October 2005, Malaysian officials announced an investigation of “heavy metal cult” members, who they believe “practice animal sacrifices […]
  • Moroccan musicians and fans free

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Moroccan musicians and fans freeOn 4. April a court in Rabat dismissed the charges against eleven (who had been earlier released on bail) and reduced the sentences on the other three to 45 days. The fourteen heavy metal musicians and fans were arrested in February in Casablanca and sentenced to jail from 2 […]
  • Sweden: Teacher fired because of his music

    NEWS 27 June 2008 Sweden:Lost his job because he plays heavy metal A school teacher in the small town Västervik was kicked out after only one week’s employment because the school found out that he played in a heavy metal band, reported the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation on 24 June 2008. The school headmaster, Sven Torstensson, […]

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