Another day, another novelty band from media


What is a novelty band? A band chosen for anything other than its music. Common topics include bands with: women, female singers, minorities, retarded people, gay people, transsexuals, unusual instruments, drug use, JPOP girls and children. Record companies love novelty bands because the media fawns all over them, then the hipsters do, and it sells hype quickly and bypasses the normal metal fans, who are critical of quality instead of being driven by novelty.

The latest novelty comes to us from Vice Magazine who want us to read about Al-Namrood from Saudi Arabia. While it is true that this band may be risking their lives to perform, it seems like they face roughly the same amount of struggle that bands behind the Iron Curtain did back in the 1980s, which means they can circumnavigate authorities to exist, record an album, shoot a video, and be feautured in American media with their faces in the video and not get killed.

As with all novelty stories, this will be short-lived. There have been many tales of heavy metal bands from the Middle East and after the media blitz, these bands have gone nowhere. The quality test is what matters. If you cannot pass the quality test, you are SOL. Al-Namrood will be the latest to fail the quality test because their output is only nominally black metal, not aesthetically distinctive and indeed a bit awkward, and finally, the songwriting is not that memorable at least by metal standards.

“Bat Al Tha ar Nar Muheja” consists of fast melodic riffing in the style of Satyricon Nemesis Divina with a Middle Eastern influence on the choices of scales used. The vocals, on the other hand, sound like something from more recent Absurd albums. The song seems put together in the style favored by Behemoth, where riffs relate marginally to each other and the main point is to follow the vocals and rhythms to a big break and a melodic interlude, after which point the band returns to blasting fast single-picked riffs. While it is not terrible, it is also not exceptional.

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10 thoughts on “Another day, another novelty band from media”

  1. I blew my head off like Per Ohlin says:

    Myrkur was the trend last year. I guarantee people will lap this up as well.

    1. BreadGod says:

      The press is now fawning over this new band called Castrator. Even though they play some of the most boring cookie cutter death metal ever made, all the metal journalists claim that they’ll revolutionize the death metal scene simply because all the members have vaginas.

      1. I blew my head off like Per Ohlin says:

        I checked them out and they were pretty boring.

  2. /:):6;6!));46 says:

    sounds like every modern metal band since 2000 except cameljockeys

  3. Dualist says:

    I agree this fails the musical acid test.

    But I’d say these middle eastern bands are genuinely putting their necks on the block though. The Eastern Block countries might possibly have jailed metal artists for showing capitalist tendencies but in Saudi and Iraq, where there are also a few bands, there’s a good chance their necks could easily end up severed from their heads.

    I notice that metal archives mentions that one BM band from Oman, called Arabia, later ‘moved to the UK’. Iran has 64!

    Either way, VICE is always going to trumpet people who seem to transgress their own cultural norms. I bet even if they had the most sexist, homophobic lyrics they’d still overlook that…

  4. in the void says:

    got bored after about 10 seconds, sounds like something you hear in metal clubs in England, when there is hardly anyone there, from about the year 2000 onwards, people think its out there extreme so they latch onto these bands, believing that they have instant transgressive subcultural capital(khan-harris),but ultimately are just want-to-be metallers

  5. burning hell says:

    Somebody ought to dub Ahab the Arab over this, it actually comes incredibly close to matching the video

    “The song portrays a “sheik of the burning sands” named Ahab. He is highly decorated with jewelry, and every night he hops on his camel named Clyde on his way to see Fatima, who is the best dancer in the Sultan’s harem. Fatima is described with a modified quote from the 1909 hit, “I’ve Got Rings On My Fingers”: “with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes and a bone in her nose, ho ho”. During the ride, Ahab “speaks” (actually, sings/chants in a pseudo Middle Eastern style) in mock Arabic.”

  6. Ignyaz says:

    Listened to this band a couple of years back for novelty’s sake, but beyond said novelty there was little redeeming about the entire ordeal.

    So in conclusion I had listened to a band before VICE made them cool. It’s hipsterception I tell you.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Arabz? Man wat da fukk..!! I’m not evun gonna waste time clicking dis sick shit. First of all y’all only drawnin any attention at all cause of the slaves on the cover. Sublimating ones people again through cheap shots. What ever happened to your real metal spirit you fuckin sissys Where’s yo HIRAX, Blasphemy and Morbid Angel and Suffocation albums?? We talkin black metal trustylerz 4 real..


  8. LostInTheANUS says:

    Funny how there was no mention of the violin in At the Gates. Then again there is no use of the violin in their Magnum Feces so nobody thinks of it.

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