Decades in the making, the US pullout from Afghanistan and the rapid Taliban takeover has inevitable left a state of chaos and a vast humanitarian crisis in its wake. Hailing from the country’s capital, Kabul, post-metal duo Afreet – formerly of the “psychedelic metal” band District Unknown - have always had an up-close perspective of the tragedy that has unfolded in their homeland, and the country’s potential too that now looks set to be swept away.
Having appeared on the World Metal Congress podcast titled Metal In Afghanistan last Wednesday September 1 to discuss the situation and the Travis Beard-directed documentary, RocKabul, centred around their former band, Afreet are launching a heart-wrenchingly powerful new track, My Land Is Breaking, and accompanying, often harrowing video with proceeds going to the Sound Central charity set up to help evacuate Afghan musicians.
Unfolding with a vast, witness-bearing, heart-heavy yet embracing scope that wouldn’t be overstatement to say belongs in the same, soul-blazing terrain as Gojira, My Land Is Breaking blends atmosphere, soaring dynamics and elegant acoustics that still has capacity for hope even as it places itself at the epicentre of despair.
The track is available from Bandcamp, Spotify and iTunes with all proceeds going to the Sound Central charity. Below we also have an interview with bandmember Yousef Shah as he discusses the creation of the song, the conditions it deals with and the charity to which it’s dedicated.
Be aware that the video is age-restricted and flagged by Youtube that it “may be inappropriate for some users.”
What can you tell us about the meaning behind the track, My Land Is Breaking?
“The track is specifically made in regards to the current situation in Afghanistan. The song is composed out of a sense of devastation, sadness, pain and anger that we felt as Afghans when seeing shocking events taking part in our country. The song will be released to show solidarity to our people, show support, raise awareness and sale of the song will also go to help charity events.”
What is the core message you wish to convey behind this new track?
“The core message is to tell the people all over the world that how unjust the situation in Afghanistan has always been, and how unfair it is for our people to suffer on a constant cycle. The message flags our corrupt government and the foreign policies that have failed us as we have fallen behind in history.”
Tell us about the narrative behind the music video.
“The music video is combined of footages that shows pain and suffering of Afghan people throughout the past decades and during the current events. Despite the different geographical locations we as Afreet are living in, we also managed to record and include ourselves partially in the video.”
What can you tell us about life in Afghanistan right now, both as musicians and generally?
“Life has always been very hard in Afghanistan, considering different aspects such as no jobs, low income, discrimination, strict islamic rules and art/music never being fully accepted in society. However, under the Taliban regime it is beyond what we describe as very hard. The Taliban is a radical, extremist group that does not allow you basic human rights or freedom of speech and expression; women can’t study and of course music is completely banned regardless of its genre. We fear that a lot of people’s lives are in danger right now and they are literally in hiding.”
Where will the charity proceeds be going and why did you choose this charity?
“The sale of the song on Bandcamp will go to Travis Beard’s charity, Sound Central. They are helping musicians in Afghanistan to flee the country. Everyone is doing their part to help Afghans and we are doing ours by helping musicians flee Afghanistan as there is no place for them under the Taliban regime, and their lives are at great risk.”
Beyond the single, what else can Metal Hammer readers do on a practical level to assist humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan right now?
“People need to educate themselves. Do not believe what you see on the news. There is a greater game being played here that you guys are not seeing. I suggest people keep raising awareness of the chaos happening in Afghanistan and I want people to provide help in whatever ways they feel they can to support.“
Obviously this is a hugely uncertain time, but do you have plans for Afreet beyond the release of this track?
“Afreet will always make music. We have idea forming for a new EP, or even an album. We will always provide support through the songs, not only to our people, but to other important causes around the world as well. Our music stands for righteousness, for a fairer and better world and, of course, our music will always represent and stand for our identity and for metal.”