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10 Bands who create music against the odds

(Image credit: Svengali)

Has lock down got you in a slump? Stopped you jamming with your mates and put all those rock star hopes and dreams to bed? Well, it shouldn't have. 

Dubai-based multinational metal band Svengali have fought against the odds to put their passion into action and create some truly badass metal, proving that if you've got the drive, there is no obstacle that can stand in your way. 

The quartet's sophomore album, Sayonara, explores the state of mind during addiction relapse, uniting and fighting against oppression, losing identity and overcoming obstacles. 

"This album is a representation of the last five years of our lives", the band explain, "which spans from being homeless and living in a car in one of the most expensive cities in the world, to building our own studio and recording the album independently."

To celebrate the release of their latest single, This Is Kombat, premiered below, we caught up with the biggest-selling Middle Eastern metallers to discover 10 more inspirational metal bands who face adversity and lockdowns every day and yet manage to bring their art to the masses – in fact, they use this very turmoil as fuel for their aggressive music.

1. AtriA (Iran) 

"Atria are currently banned from playing in their home country... all metal bands there are! But they keep pushing through all the obstacles. We got a chance to see these guys live in Dubai and they put on one hell of a show!"


2. Maysaloon (Syria)

"Maysaloon have put the Syrian metal scene on the map. Some of the hardest working dudes under some of the craziest circumstances!"


3. Medic (Egypt)

"With their country in turmoil and under lockdown during the Arab Spring, these guys grabbed the opportunity and used their time to create their debut album. Thankfully so, because that album and their live shows are an experience!"


4. Dark Phantom (Iraq)

"It doesn’t get more metal than Dark Phantom. Under threats of terrorism, conflict and religious persecution, these guys are fighting to change the perception about this genre in our region."


5. Creative Waste (Saudi Arabia)

"Creative Waste have played plenty around the world but have only played publicly in their own country for the first time very recently. Waiting about 15 years to play your home town has to be a whole new level of dedication!"


6. Smoldering in Forgotten (Bahrain)

"Another middle eastern country with a history of metal shows being raided and bands being questioned. But Smoldering In Forgotten is one of those bands that powered through with the scene and put their country on the global metal map."


7. Kimaera (Lebanon)

"One of the longest standing bands in the Lebanese scene, Kimaera had their fair share of persecution from the authorities. Despite that, they continue to put out new material and play abroad whenever they can."


8. Aramaic (United Arab Emirates)

"Aramaic take the genre and their heritage and merge them on another level. From living through wars and refugee camps, these guys came together to tell some epic stories. "


9. Scarab (Egypt)

"Scarab get compared to USA’s Nile a lot. The difference is, this isn’t a creative theme they picked for their band... this is their heritage."


10. Kaoteon (Lebanon/The Netherlands)

Born in war torn Lebanon, now settled in The Netherlands. Kaoteon went full steam ahead regardless of what the consequences were, grabbing a Metal Hammer Global Metal Award along the way!


Svengali's latest album Syonara is out now