Jul 082010

Today we present Part 2 of our three-part series on North African metal. Yesterday we explained that we started down this dune-swept road by looking for Egyptian metal. Somewhere along the way, we stumbled across bands from some other North African countries, including the subjects of today’s post — Sawlegen and Barzakh.


Sawlegen is a Moroccan band. The first of their songs I heard was an instrumental called “Streets of Agrabah”, and it dropped me in my tracks like I’d been shot through the skull with a nail gun.

I tracked down the rest of the songs on Sawlegen’s sole album (2007’s Stories From An Old Empire), and I’ve never heard anything quite like them. “Streets of Agrabah” remains my favorite, but the whole album is a fascinating mix of contrasting styles, and on the whole it’s a riveting experience.

If I were to attempt a high-level description (which I guess I’m now doing), I would say it’s an amalgamation of folk metal and symphonic black metal, but with an infusion of exotic oriental melody and song structures that build to ever-more feverish crescendos. Staying at a high level, and relying on Western idiom, I would also say this album fucking rocks.  (more after the jump, including a song to hear . . .) Continue reading »