A metal band that bridges cultures

Al Jazeera: “The Maiden frontier”:

As many metal fans from the region have pointed out to me, Maiden’s songs remind them that they should not trust the hype and slogans promising a better tomorrow, that progress demands putting aside easy prejudices in favour of a much harder but more honest discussion about the future and that they should remember the past but not be afraid of the future.

…Of course, building a successful career as a rock band, however difficult, is nothing compared to building an alternative economic and cultural system in a region plagued by war, occupation, authoritarianism and poverty. But the point of music and the artists who produce the culture the rest of us consume is rarely to provide a direct blueprint for action.

Instead, it is to inspire, to give a vision of a different future and the courage to get up in the morning and figure out how to survive and even thrive in a system that is very much not set up for your benefit.

More than one member of Iron Maiden has told me that perhaps the greatest gift they can give fans is joy. And whether in Dubai or Madison Square Garden, the concerts were filled with joy, from musicians and fans alike.

Metal is often accused of being music about death, and certainly Iron Maiden’s songs can often seem, on the surface, violent and blood-soaked. But as one Iranian metal musician said about the genre, and Maiden in particular, “what’s amazing is how a music about death in fact affirms life”.