Rock the Casbah

Metal is making a comeback in Egypt after a crackdown on "Satanic music."

In Egypt, you're much more likely to hear the call to prayer than a face-melting guitar solo, so Dutch photographer Aukje Dekker was surprised to find a thriving underground heavy- and death-metal scene. Fascinated, she documented it in a series of photos."In the West, heavy metal is generally associated with low lifes and trailer trash," says Dekker, "but the situation in Egypt is completely reversed. These kids are the children of diplomats and other well-off Egyptians who get to travel abroad or who own a satellite television, which is how they got be exposed to heavy metal."A 1997 government crackdown on "Satanic music" led to dozens of arrests and the banning of concerts, but the scene is enjoying something of a comeback. "There is still a general consensus that heavy metal is a Satanic expression," says Dekker, "so when these kids walk down the street with their long black hair and matching T-shirts, they are often called names, but that doesn't stop them from pursuing their musical passion."LEARN MORE