How Heavy Metal is Taking Over Saudi Arabia

A conversation with one of its architects

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Although the genre is no real stranger to the region, fans of the sound could testify themselves: metal is far from being Saudi’s most popular genre. But looking at how the whole music industry is growing in the ever-changing Kingdom, it seems like it might as well be on its way.

Most iterations of rock come with their own load of superstitions, stereotypes and preconceived thoughts. And metal is proving not to be immune to this pattern. Hence why we decided to talk to the first concerned by the matter and shoot the breeze with Dusk, arguably one of the architects of this up and coming scene.

From inspirations and prospects to how he is navigating the whole birth and rise of the genre he likes to call his, we sat down with the Saudi-based rocker to blow smoke and discuss his experience with the early days of being part of this budding industry.

Tell us how Dusk came to be? Do you consider yourself as a pioneer of the genre in the Middle East/KSA?

Before Dusk came to be, there was a lot of backstory until reaching the point I am at now. My name is “Meshari Sangora” but I go by “DUSK”. The passion for music was always within me, but unfortunately, there was no guidance when I needed it, and no solid information that I could go back to whenever I needed it.

That’s why I do consider myself a pioneer in the genre, but I’m definitely not the only one. I have met plenty of amazing artists throughout this journey such as Wazin from Kuwait & Bahrain as well as my buddy DEADLEAF who’s also from Kuwait. Not to mention my dear friend, Abdulrahman Elghazali, who’s also from my hometown, Riyadh.

I’m sure that I will find more amazing artists to connect with during this ride.

How did you get into it ? 

I got into it by shuffling metal music on Spotify hoping to find that one thing that pulls me back to it, and thank God I found it.

Is metal accepted? 

Yes and no. Metal has always been an underground genre along with most of its sub-genres as well. However, I believe some of the newer bands associated with the modern sound are making an effort to be recognised in the public’s eye. Bands like “Spirit Box”, “Volumes” or “Sleep Token” are some that infuse elements people outside of the metal community normally listen to. It’s always good to add something new in my opinion.

I had no issues being accepted from my side. If anything, family has been a big reason for my success. The support they gave and still give is out of this world and I am grateful to be as lucky as I am.

How do you deal with the stereotypes associated with metal?

I deal with stereotypes by educating people about why we love this genre, and why we dedicate our lives to it. One thing that I hate most about these stereotypes is that people usually associate it with satanism, which is simply not true. There are only a very few that do associate it, and they would be considered as anomalies.

My advice to anyone asking is to learn more about it, or meet people who are into this genre of music to talk about it. Communication is key.

Who do you look up to? Who inspires you?

I try to stay open to any source of inspiration that may come my way. Either through a track by a band I love or maybe from a completely different genre of music.

The bands I look up to the most and love to be inspired by are, “Currents” “Born Of Osiris” or “Meshuggah”.

Is there a scene in Saudi Arabia? How do you predict its future? 

Yes, there was and still is a metal scene all over the kingdom. From bands that were formed in the late 90s to the early 2000s and even up to today. Each city was known for certain bands such as Dune, Crimson, Native notes and Hemic from Riyadh; Wasted land, Immortal Pain, Ana na7n and Skeleton crowd from Jeddah or even Wrywreath, Creative waste and Sound of ruby from the Eastern Providence.

Recently, places like Syrup in Riyadh and The Music Space in Jeddah have given the opportunity for indie musicians, including Metal artists like myself, to express themselves. With all the changes that are happening and the continuous engagement on social media, more people are getting exposed to the genre. Which makes me see a great future for the metal scene and metal music in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia.

What can be done to improve it?

I believe that one of the best ways to improve a scene in any country or state is collaboration. I would like to see more people connect and for local and foreign investors to see the huge support metal has in our communities, and how many people can actually make this industry bloom.

If we, as a metal community, can work together as one body to publicise the genre as much as possible, I am confident that this would hasten the process of getting the metal genre recognised nationally.

Do you have any upcoming projects in the pipeline? 

Yes I do have a lot of new music coming soon, 2022 will be a great year and I can’t wait to start recording again!

Check out more of Dusk’s tracks here!

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