Fuheis: Jordan’s Doomdeath Capital!

Beards and long hair

Beards, long hair, black t-shirts.

Tombstones. Creepy old doorways.

Doomdeath!

Or maybe I should just scream: “Doomdeath Metal” into a microphone.

What on EARTH am I talking about.

A link showed up in my Del.icio.us RSS feed which I set up for the tag Amman. I clicked and read:

Days … months, and years went on as BILOCATE, the Jordanian Doomdeath metal band rising from the mid-country city Fuhais, walked in its path of glory and we shall narrate the story of this epic.

A number of things intersect here:

  • A trip down memory lane to early 90’s metal/alternative/rock concert in some place called ‘Skating Palace’ by, mostly terrible, Jordanian bands..
  • The intriguing town of Fuhais, that organically growing, picturesque settlement just outside Amman which is home to a cement factory, Joe Pizza, the giant christmas tree, Al Zuwadeh Restaurant and interesting old houses and churches.
  • The fact that, at any given time, there must be at least one Jordanian band which upholds the tradition of Metal, usually of the extreme variety.
  • Jordanian’s tendency to exaggerate a bit when promoting themselves. As in: “walked in its path of glory” and “we shall narrate the story of this epic”

I don’t know exactly how all of this relates to one another in my brain. But it somehow makes sense!

Bilocate

I downloaded one their songs called “Days of Joy” (which stands out as one of their few songs which don’t have a depressing title like: ‘2nd War In Heaven’ or ‘The Tragedy Within’). And, for some strange reason, these guys upload their music as .zip and .rar files (?!).

I am not a metal fan. So I can’t really judge. The song sounded a bit demo-ish to me. But it had some nice melodies and chord progressions. And apart from the occasional I-want-to-send-this-microphone-to-hell vocals, I got the impression that Doomdeath metal is quite soft and melodic. But what do I know?

One thing is sure: these guys are internet savvy. They even have a Wikipedia page. The web is the perfect medium for local talent to promote itself. So thumbs up for that (just please loose those .rar files please).

And next time you drive through Fuhais, remember: The Epic started here. :-)

UPDATE: Apparently I am out of touch! I underestimated the size of the Metal scene in Jordan. I just checked out JorZine, which seems to be THE online meeting space for the “Metaljieh”. I found information on tens of bands dating back to 1995. Metal lives on!

Now get this: CNN will be featuring the Jordanian “Brutal Death Metal” band Tyrant Throne on their Inside the Middle East show. This is how CNN’s Schams Elwazer and Hala Gorani described their encounter with Tyrant Throne on the Inside the Middle East blog:

The music was fast-paced and violent and the lyrics full of gruesome imagery (symbolic metaphors of the anger and angst that this genre of music expresses). These metalheads in their early 20s made our whole crew feel a little… old, I guess.

Maybe Hala and I don’t particularly “get” this kind of music… but according to a well-known online metal magazine Jorzine, Tyrant Throne seems to be the best-known Jordanian death metal band and has a small but respectable fan-base spanning a couple of continents.

After the jam session was over and our ears stopped ringing, a knock on the door reminded us that we were, after all, in the Middle East. In this region, even death-metalheads are very serious about hospitality towards guests… we were treated to a very un-metal-like but much-appreciated snack of freshly baked homemade cake with pink (yes, pink) frosting and orange juice.

Just brilliant!

Cnninterviewie7
CNN’s Schams Elwazer and Hala Gorani with Tyrant Throne’s members
Catch them on CNN:

March 1st, 2008: 10:30AM, 4:30PM, 9:30PM
March 2nd, 2008: 2:30PM, 8:30PM
March 6th, 2008: 4:30PM, 8:30PM


20 Responses to “Fuheis: Jordan’s Doomdeath Capital!”

  1. peter Says:

    lol ahmad you truly cover every topic imaginable.. i wish there was 360east.tv I could stream in my lunchbreak :)
    peace

  2. Humeid Says:

    I am condemned to being a Generalist. LOL!

  3. Moey Says:

    I used to own JordanMetal.com, the most active metal scene website, Jorzine are close friends of mine, let me just post this which I posted earlier on jorzine:

    Jorzine is more than enough for the scene, why to improve it? with such new kids on the block, 15 years old who listen to metal so they get parents attention or bother them? or should I start with the cliche of a Jordanian metalhead: lazem yesma3 opeth, metallica and be3raf (a local band name here)’s guitarist, bekon iben 3am o5t set em abooh la ma ba3raf meen… ya zalameh fokkak!

    Metal in Jordan is all about craving attention, which every human being crave but not to that kinky level. a bonus on the scene: ahhhh! ana ba3raf benet metaljeyyeh gothic, zabbatet-ha eb mecca mall! also, they rank your music taste/level by how many bands names you know (they claim to know the songs, ask them to mention more than 2 and hahaha! BANG)... Oh, and if you don’t like their favorite bands, every single woman in your family gets called “nice” names.

    Also, a real metalhead should love beer, and get drunk and wasted over 1 draft beer. should also pick up fights with blacks, rap music lovers, gays… etc
    hatred should flow in the air… esh bedkom kaman?

    Every guy who owns a guitar wants to start a band, even if his band will end up like another local band… he will also try his best to show off, fight with other guitarists from other bands to create competition. this includes calling others names.

    Also, Jordanian band members do not accept clean or straight in the face criticism.

    OHHHH! el 3are6, i.e. my cousin got this guitar for 1300 JD (he got a chinese replica for 200 or a used one or from the gulf for 400 maximum).

    Esh kaman beddak?

    ya3ni, I saw enough. I’ve been through enough of asafeen, investigations, accusations, fight attempts, death threats, bad English…

    I even quit metal music, I do not have a single metal song on my ipod nor on my macbook. I dislike the music because of majority of the fans, I prefer indie, alternative and brit-rock nowadays, even the lyrics are cheerful and gay (as in happy). I also enjoy trance, filthy electro and drum & bass now.

    I’d rather put pornographic content on JordanMetal.com than add something to the scene. Sorry, truth hurts I know.

  4. rami Says:

    Ey nice post… one thing i miss about the jordanian metal “scene” is the brotherhood that grows between bands, which had always brought an extra push of support when bands needed it.

    The 1990s was a time when metal in jordan was at its prime time. Bands like Hebron, Zahareth, the Haunted Cottage (from Zarqa also), as well as Darkcide and Ajdath made it to world wide recognition. Unfortunately all those disbanded, with most members leaving the country to start other projects in other areas.

    I was the drummer with both Darkcide and Ajdath at some point in time, both bands consisted of almost the same three people. We are still in touch, and we each have different projects going on, one in Sweden (me), and one in Poland and the other one in New Jersey. Other Jordanian metal pioneers are leading bands in Australia, the UK and other places. Recently I sold an old drumset to Tyrant Throne, after a very long nice jam.

    In Jordan there is even a heavy metal record Label, which has signed bands from the UAE, Syria, Lebanon and so on. However, the biggest metal scene in the Mideast remains the Israeli, followed by Turkey, and might I add, bands from both countries have excellent relations with Jordanian bands. Music goes way beyond political borders in the middle east.

  5. ali alhasani Says:

    wow!! dude your amazing , The last Thing i expected from you is to cover the metal scene in jordan and hey you did it..
    I’m a JorZine Team member ( Photographer ) i cover the Metal events happen in jordan concerning Metal…
    and this website is just amazing , It’s our home , Our salvation
    and BILOCATE members are good friends of mine and i will be sure to tell them about this post so they take notice of what you said
    the metal scene in jordan is good and will keep raising
    in the future i promise you it will be more then that.

    p.s : you may wanna check out Days of joy video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_scx2fTZFxA
    it’s amazing…

  6. Ramzi Essayed Says:

    Ahmad, i congratulate you on this post wither i like it or not in the end this what blogs are made for – owners to post their opinions and reach the world by the voices spoken out loud with no restrictions -, all i can say is that the same exact reason real bands are working for… you have a talen for sure to waste time on the net improving your blog and covering many stories that might not be related to your field but it will drive attention and traffic to your blog (i salute bloggers for this fact).

    now we are on the web 2.0 world and its a tool that every project should use to the maximum i guess you noticed how well we used this tool, i cant comment on the scene am in it my self since ages and i met some bands and knew most of the members in 90s up till now and like everything else it has its ups and downs but for sure bands like BILOCATE , Tyrant Throne & projects like JorZine are the ups regardless of the efforts made before for the scene (Websites, Forums, MIRC channels, MSN Groups & yahoo groups) just name it you will find it in the Online Jordanian Metal Community as you noticed some tried their best but failed & Some tried and succeeded or will succeed if they worked hard (keeping the level of work high as much as possible with the few resources Our Scene can provide) its a long story with much hidden facts for most of the fans.

    I am a marketing guy my self & the first rule i use it to keep knocking the doors till i open them, i guess your door (Blog) is opened and we reached your readers and you by a small RSS feed, imagine the same with other international doors that will be opened with time.

    Thanks for your efforts i always enjoy reading a useful (positive or negative) Post.

    Ramzi Essayed,
    BILOCATE

  7. Rima N. Says:

    Great article Mr.Humeid, I enjoyed seeing Jordanian scene has reached even the non- interested segment of people and yet they are impressed :)

    Just would like to comment about What my friend Moey described, it is what I would call the “Stereotype” of metal, beside it is not limited for those who listen to metal music as much it is common between teenagers in general to go after girls in malls or wanting to look “cool” with beer in hands, also craving attention by many many ways.. Any how, myself and so many people I know not even related to this stereotype..

    Being IT working professional living outside Jordan and still give my time & efforts to metal scene gives one indication about big potential I see in Jordanian bands, they deserve the efforts, time & money that JorZine is giving and deserve the support, it is not my personal opinion, just go through JorZine website and see the feedback from international music webzines and professionals in this industry about bands such as Bilocate, Tyrants Throne, Ajdath, infested mind and many others

    Bellow some links for your reference

    TERRORIZER The Middle East Report Part II
    http://www.jorzineonline.com/Default.aspx?Page=archNews&ID=164&month=6&year=2007&NewsPage=news
    BILOCATE Interview at Throned Asian Oath
    http://www.jorzineonline.com/Default.aspx?Page=archNews&ID=210&month=10&year=2007&NewsPage=news
    AUGURY & PHEX on “Underground Metal: The Compilation”
    http://www.jorzineonline.com/Default.aspx?Page=archNews&ID=198&month=9&year=2007&NewsPage=news
    BILOCATE in Raven’s Eggs & Kegs Show Contest
    http://www.jorzineonline.com/Default.aspx?Page=archNews&ID=192&month=8&year=2007&NewsPage=news
    – Jordanian Metal Scene Featured in Pulp Magazine
    http://www.jorzineonline.com/Default.aspx?Page=archNews&ID=179&month=7&year=2007&NewsPage=news
    – A look at African and Middle Eastern Metal
    http://www.chroniclesofchaos.com/articles/rants/6-1005_desert_demons_-_part_iii.aspx
    BILOCATE to headline EGYPT METAL gig
    http://www.jorzineonline.com/Default.aspx?Page=archNews&ID=54&month=9&year=2006&NewsPage=news

    check also number of visits (51,902), fans (26,369) & play times of Bilocate band in myspace
    http://www.myspace.com/Bilocate

  8. Humeid Says:

    Thanks everyone for your input. Although I am not metal fan, I am thrilled to see the creativity and commitment in any field of music or sub-culture emerging in Jordan. I totally believe that our youth culture needs a revolution. Self expression through music is part of this revolution.

    Ramzi: thanks for your comment. I don’t want you to take my comment as negative. Take some of my cheeky comments in a light hearted manner :-) All respect to you guys for persisting with your music and your web marketing. I think its great.

    I also happen to live near to Fuhais and it is a tow I always like to drive through. I think it has its unique culture. Knowing that a metal band has emerged from there adds to its charm.

    Keep it up!

  9. Batir Wardam Says:

    I have to admit that when I read the title of this post I thought you will write about the Cement factory emissions in Fuheis! However, this was a nice post although my latest encounter with heavy metal was Bon Jovi’s “You give Love a Bad Name”.

  10. Humeid Says:

    Batir Batir Batir!

    Thanks for making me laugh at the end of long and stressful day. You fell in my trap. Yeah the factory is quite something. I just find the names of the different genre’s of metal music hilarious: DoomDeath and Brutal Death and so on.

    Bon Jovi.. Man! You ARE out of touch my friend. Who knows you might be hiding a black t-shirt in your closet too :)

    But seriously now..

    I think that metal is an interesting societal phenomenon in Jordan. Notice that some of those bands come from outside Amman, like Zarqa and Fuheis. It is definitely a global phenomenon that has also persisted in Jordan.

    And just for your info: This kind of music is as far from the Bon Jovi commercial mainstream as you can imagine. So this is cannot be simply discounted as western-consumerist imported culture.

    Look at the comments above and you get a sense of an interesting sub-culture that almost never gets covered in the mainstream media, except when some over-alarmed writer warns people of satanists etc etc.

    ...

    Bas wallahi da7aktni ya akhi! :-)

  11. Moey Says:

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOL Bon Jovi rocks man!

  12. Ramzi Essayed Says:

    Humeid, sure my friend i wont take them negatively you said it before anything you are not a metal fan and for me seeing this from a non metal fan worth a great value of appreciation.

    if you live near fuheis then surly we should meet someday, i work and live in Dubai – UAE but i get to have many business trips to jordan every 2 – 3 months usually.

    we will keep in touch and thanks for what you wrote.

  13. Maha from Play 99.6 Says:

    I love this topic… its sad that people don’t know of the “underground” culture of metal and even different types of rock music here… i’ve really found a lot of it here and that’s great.. we’re going to mention this on the radio so that listeners can catch them on CNN when it airs :D

  14. Rima N. Says:

    That would be amazing Maha; one of our goals in JorZine is to increase awareness about this culture as just music, by exposing the creative talents we have in Jordan, and to eliminate the misconception of relating it to Satanism

    I am really grateful for you Maha and Mr. Humied for keeping an open mind about this issue, and I hope someday the society will give our talents a chance to grow freely

  15. muhannad saleh Says:

    thnx for the blog Mr. Humied u did a great job man and thnx maha for helping u always been a great support to the rock and metal music
    i salute u both and the bands,ppl who worked so hard to make such things happen on our metal and rock scene

  16. Bardees Says:

    I read the title of this post and was like “what is Humeid saying about fuheis?!!” cz I live there :) ) but then I got it :D
    I haven’t heard of BILOCATE before, and I’m not into metal music alot,but I found this to be so new to me and interesting.Good luck to all.

  17. 7ala Says:

    walked in its path of glory?!! It’s the first time i hear about them!

    Ok maybe becoz I am not a metal fan I have never heard about them, bs bardo … “Epic” marra wa7deh! :)

  18. Josef J Says:

    Nice topic dude!

  19. Hani Obaid Says:

    I actually work with one of the band members (first one on the left in your picture). He’s a very nice guy, and very much normal.

    I’m not a metal fan myself, so I don’t like the vocals, but the guitar playing by itself isn’t bad at all.

  20. Vote To Help A Rising Jordanian Metal Band Play At The Desert Rock Festival in Dubai | H.A.N.I. 101 Says:

    [...] Vote To Help A Rising Jordanian Metal Band Play At The Desert Rock Festival in Dubai November 27th, 2008 (7 seconds ago) Music Bilocate is a Jordanian Metal band. That’s right, Jordanian Metal! It was started a few years ago in (as Ahmad put it) the home of Jordanian Metal, Fuhais! They have recently released their second Album, and are competing with 8 other bands in the United We Rock Battle. The winner gets to play at the Desert Rock festival in Dubai, as well as a trip to Germany. [...]

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