Always Riled Up: Protest Music For A New Era, Part 3 – Interview with Cherine Amr of Massive Scar Era

Cherine Amr and her band, Massive Scar Era, have been highlighted a few times in major media outlets in recent years. Most of this coverage has focused on two events: the emergence of a female-fronted metal band in Egypt in the wake of the Arab Spring – a wave of protests and popular uprisings across the Middle East during 2011 – or the recent denial of entry to the United States this past month when they were expecting to make it to play at SXSW (more on the specifics of this event are below). The band’s music, as you’ll read, became sort of secondary to these current event-based stories.

Best Of: Live Albums

There’s nothing quite like a metal show. The palpitating thrum of bass, explosive blasts of percussion, the crackling sea of people united by music — it’s beautiful, life-affirming, and brutal. Although live recordings will inevitably fail to stack up to the real thing, they allow us to experience singular moments…

Trees of Eternity – Hour of the Nightingale

All music has themes but metal is a genre which wears its heart on its sleeve. Thematics color everything in metal, from audience reception and marketing to the actual composition and execution of the music itself. It can affect production, tone, scales, and much more in an effort to align everything with a perceived image or to jar that image by deviating from the norm in just the right way. Take goth metal; a sub-section of doom, it relies on the theme of autumn, death, depression and nature for its impact. We haven’t even mentioned bands yet and album art, track names and that certain goth sound has already sprung into your mind. Sometimes, these themes become even more powerful and, by some twist of fate or by a pecuilar predestination, reflect in the musicians themselves: they might reflect the ideals of the music in their actions or in the facts of their lives.

And sometimes, that reflection has a bitter edge.

Stepping Stone: Nightwish’s Oceanborn

I did not listen to music as a child. Before I turned thirteen, I had enjoyed perhaps thirty individual songs in my lifetime. I had never had a favorite band or album. When asked what my favorite genre of music was, I would reply “Rock and roll!” with fake enthusiasm because that was the music boys liked. But this musical apathy diametrically changed with my sudden and unexpected discovery of Nightwish. Unlike most metal fanatics, I have the special luxury of knowing exactly when my metal journey started. ‘Twas a dark and stormy night on August 26th, 2009, and thirteen year old Andrew was trawling YouTube for funny videos in a dark basement because I’ve always been pretty cool. I came across a “misheard lyrics” video of Nightwish’s song “Wishmaster”, and I exalted in joy because I had finally found the funniest video on YouTube.

I shared the video with my equally cool and hip friends, and we all made fun of the strange sounding soprano vocals and the dramatic keyboard. But as I returned to the video countless times over a couple of weeks, I realized that I had begun to watch the video in order to listen to the music instead of laugh at the misheard lyrics. I was forced to admit to myself that the same vocals and keyboards I had derided actually sounded pretty cool. And thus began my journey.

Starter Kit: Power Metal

Starter Kit analyzes the ins-and-outs of some of the more obscure and niche sub-genres within the metal spectrum and offers a small group of bands that best represent the sound. Read other Starter Kit entries here. Power metal is one of the often misunderstood sub-genres in metal. To be frank,…