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Rock and a hard place

Jordanian heavy metal bands find the public ill-informed about their music.

Additionally, metal heads are viewed as slackers or delinquents, whereas in Jordan many tend to come from middle- or upper-class backgrounds where they were exposed to Western culture. Members from some of Jordan’s most successful heavy metal bands have day jobs as computer programmers, managers and youth counselors.

"I’m a family man. I have two kids. I sustain a good and responsible life and yet I pursued my passion for music," said Hani Abadi, a bassist in Bilocate whose day job is working as a personnel manager.

Groups can still rehearse in private and even broadcast their music over the Internet. Most groups also travel outside of Jordan to perform. While Europe has hosted concerts for several Jordanian metal groups, other Arab countries like Lebanon, Egypt and Dubai allow performances, though metal heads say that could change just as easily as it does in Jordan.

For Haikal, who says most of his band’s music focuses on human emotion in difficult situations, it can be frustrating to hear other types of music that are allowed in the country without facing any serious scrutiny. In one of Amman’s Western-style malls where he used to work, he says stores often played pop songs with obscenities and overt sexual innuendo.

"Parents were going around the store and they just ignored it, but if you put on metal music, they’d say 'Oh no, this is the devil’s music! Stop it!'" he said.

Abadi acknowledges that heavy metal’s angry sounds might be off-putting for some people, but he says it is just an emotional outlet. Many of his band’s songs have an anti-war theme, which he says it’s hard not to get angry about.

"You can’t talk about war and have this kind of Back Streets Boys vocals in the background. The issues we tackle are very serious and when you’re angry you don’t talk in a normal tone, you shout … and you get relief out of it," he said. 

More GlobalPost dispatches on Jordanian life:

Is Amman the Mideast artists' mecca?

The changing face of Jordanian dating

How to shoo off a Jordanian jinn

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