Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance embraces metal music

Saudi melodic metal band Immortal Pain recently performed at Comic Con Arabia in Jeddah with a huge crowd of fans cheering and singing along with them. (Yasmeen Kayello)
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Saudi melodic metal band Immortal Pain recently performed at Comic Con Arabia in Jeddah with a huge crowd of fans cheering and singing along with them. (Yasmeen Kayello)
Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance embraces metal music
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Saudi melodic metal band Immortal Pain recently performed at Comic Con Arabia in Jeddah with a huge crowd of fans cheering and singing along with them. (Yasmeen Kayello)
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Updated 03 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance embraces metal music

Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance embraces metal music
  • Local band Immortal Pain fulfills growing appetite for genre among Saudi music lovers

JEDDAH: Saudi metal band Immortal Pain delivered a loud and lively concert at Comic Con Arabia in Jeddah, with a huge crowd of fans cheering and singing along with them.

Friday night marked the second performance of the band at the convention. They have been in the rock and metal scene since late 2005, starting with two members and later doubling.

In a previous interview with Arab News, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Emad Ashoor said the band started with only him and the lead guitarist Rasheed Attar. Later, drummer Moayad Al-Shammari and bassist Anan Al-Sabban joined the group, and just last year, they signed a contract with Saudi recording company Wall of Sound: Dark Mode.




The local band has been in the rock and metal scene since late 2005, gradually increasing their audience over the years. Instagram/immortal_pain_official. (Supplied)

The Jeddah-based band has been throwing mini-concerts across the Kingdom. They have also released original music and are working on releasing more to their Saudi, Arab, and international audiences.

While they previously spoke to Arab News about their origins, this time the members shared insight into the dynamic of the group and how they work together on making their songs and music videos.

It all begins with inspiration.

“The four of us gather, talk about our latest encounters in life and how we felt,” said the drummer Al-Shammari. “Then we express everything in music. We let our instruments talk for us.”




The four of us gather, talk about our latest encounters in life and how we felt. Then we express everything in music. We let our instruments talk for us. (Supplied)

On the unusual places or moments that can inspire, Al-Shammari said: “One day, I was passing by a construction site, and the sounds of wrecking and drilling inspired me somehow and I made a song based on the noise of the construction site.”

Ashoor, gifted with a poetic sense, takes over the next step of writing the lyrics.

So far, they have been writing lyrics in English, but they all agreed they were open to the challenge of writing in Arabic and were eager to experiment and evolve with their music.

The four of us gather, talk about our latest encounters in life and how we felt. Then we express everything in music. We let our instruments talk for us.

Moayad Al-Shammari, Immortal Pain drummer

Once the lyrics are in place, they decide upon a melody and arrange the song, deciding which riff goes first and which follows. The lyrics are recorded last.

When asked about the difficult times they have encountered throughout their career, the four agreed that starting was tough as metal music was considered a Western genre and was not popular locally. Although they have supportive families, they said it was hard for them to find an audience at the very beginning.

Their audience gradually increased from a few people to several dozen, and by the time they played at Comic Con last year and this year, they had amassed about 1,000 music fans.

“Rock and metal are both on the rise contrary to what Gene Simmons and the likes of KISS might think. They can go ahead and retire if it’s getting too loud,” bassist Al-Sabban joked when asked about the metal scene in the Kingdom.

“But the local and global scenes are growing,” he said, adding that Metallica would be playing in the Kingdom next week. “As we all know, when Saudi Arabia gets involved, it’s going to be bigger and better.”

When MDLBeast announced that Metallica would be performing in Saudi Arabia, fans from across the Middle East and North Africa bought tickets to see the legendary metal band.

Immortal Pain also told Arab News exclusively that after only releasing singles, they are officially going to record their first full album first thing next year. They also revealed that in 2024, they will hit the road on a tour across the MENA region, throwing concerts in the Kingdom, the UAE, and Egypt.

Al-Shammari proudly added that they have also received an invitation to perform in Germany, and while nothing is yet confirmed, they are hoping things will work and they will hold an international concert.

For updates about the band, follow their Instagram @immortal_pain_official.

 


Hajj Ministry’s Jusoor initiative highlights pilgrim services

Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (SPA)
Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (SPA)
Updated 10 sec ago
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Hajj Ministry’s Jusoor initiative highlights pilgrim services

Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (SPA)
  • This innovative platform streamlines the issuance of Hajj visas, simplifies arrival procedures, provides pre-planning options, and offers an array of Hajj packages through authorized service providers

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched the second edition of the Jusoor initiative in Riyadh on Sunday, aimed at highlighting the Kingdom’s efforts in serving pilgrims and ensuring a seamless experience at the Two Holy Mosques.

Present at the event, held under the patronage of Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, were several ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps of the EU, the Americas, Australia, and other countries.

The initiative seeks to foster global connections and showcase the services provided by the Kingdom to pilgrims.

Al-Rabiah emphasized the unwavering commitment to transforming the Hajj and Umrah journeys into all-encompassing experiences that fulfill pilgrims’ aspirations.

Highlighting the ongoing development endeavors in the Two Holy Mosques and other holy sites, he affirmed the ministry’s objective of accommodating a maximum number of pilgrims while enhancing service efficiency, aligning with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

At the heart of the Jusoor initiative lies Nusuk, the official platform responsible for offering Hajj services to residents in Europe, the Americas, Australia, and a number of European and African countries.

This innovative platform streamlines the issuance of Hajj visas, simplifies arrival procedures, provides pre-planning options, and offers an array of Hajj packages through authorized service providers.

 


JIAT investigation clears coalition forces of aerial targeting in Yemen

JIAT investigation clears coalition forces of aerial targeting in Yemen
Updated 26 min 28 sec ago
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JIAT investigation clears coalition forces of aerial targeting in Yemen

JIAT investigation clears coalition forces of aerial targeting in Yemen
  • Regarding the At-Tuhayta allegation, after analyzing coalition air missions on that day, JIAT found no evidence of operations in Hodeidah governorate
  • JIAT also confirmed that Saqeen General Hospital, in the western part of Saada governorate, is on the coalition forces’ no-strike list

RIYADH: The Joint Incidents Assessment Team on Monday issued a statement regarding the allegation of the targeting of a residential area in At-Tuhayta city in Hodeidah governorate, Yemen, on Nov. 12, 2021, in which a man and three children were killed, and two men injured.

After examining various documents, including air tasking orders, mission schedules, and satellite images, JIAT concluded that the claimed location lacked specific coordinates.

Analyzing coalition air missions on that day, JIAT found no evidence of operations in the Hodeidah governorate. Similarly, missions on Nov. 11 and Nov. 13 that year showed no activity in the area.

In a press conference in Riyadh, JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour also addressed another allegation that coalition forces targeted the Saqeen General Hospital in Saada governorate on May 30, 2015.

After evaluating various sources, including a Doctors for Human Rights report from March 2020 which claimed that coalition aircraft carried out two airstrikes on the hospital and severely damaged it, JIAT conducted a thorough investigation.

Al-Mansour explained that this involved examining air tasking orders, mission schedules, post-mission reports, satellite images, open sources, the National Information Center’s website listing health centers, the coalition forces’ no-strike list, and focusing on international humanitarian law.

JIAT confirmed that Saqeen General Hospital is in the western part of Saada governorate and was on the coalition forces’ no-strike list.

The closest military target hit by coalition forces on May 30, 2015, was 13 km away from the hospital, the Iran-backed Houthi militia receiving a hit from a guided bomb.

By studying the daily mission schedule, JIAT found that on the previous day, coalition forces had carried out an air mission on a target 7,000 meters away from the hospital, using one guided bomb that hit its target. No air missions targeted Saqeen on May 31, 2015.

Specialists studied satellite images of the hospital and found no trace of damage caused by aerial targeting on the main building or its annexes.

JIAT also addressed an incident in a Bani Makki residential area of the Midi district in Hajjah governorate on June 29, 2021, in which one person was killed and two others injured.

JIAT found that forces carried out an air mission on a military target on that date. A vehicle carrying arms for the Houthis in Abs was hit by a guided missile.

The coalition forces did not carry out any missions the previous day or in the following 24 hours.

Specialists studied satellite images of the military target’s location and found that it was about 1,500 meters away from the nearest residential area.

JIAT confirmed that the vehicle, a light truck, was seen underneath a tree and the missile recorded a direct hit.

Al-Mansour said: "There is indeed international cooperation and communication with international organizations; if they have representatives, they may provide us with information."

Concerning allegations or claims that have not been addressed, he outlined the current process: "Based on the team's (Joint Incidents Assessment Team) classification of an allegation, we initiate the investigation procedures and review the results," explained Al-Mansour.

"Some organizations cooperated with us by providing information, while others did not have information, and some pledged to furnish us with the required information," he added.


Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain

Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain
Updated 04 March 2024
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Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain

Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain
  • NCM forecasts inclement weather in some parts of the Kingdom until Tuesday
  • Civil Defense calls on everyone to take caution and adhere to its instructions

RIYADH: People are warned to be careful after the National Centre of Meteorology forecast inclement weather in some parts of the Kingdom until Tuesday.

The Civil Defense Directorate said: “Forecasts from the NCM indicate heavy rains in the Riyadh region, including the capital Riyadh, Diriyah, Afif, Dawadmi, Al-Quway’iyah, Al-Aflaj, Hotat Bani Tamim, Al-Hareeq, Al-Zulfi, Al-Ghat, Shaqraa, Al-Majma’ah, Al-Muzahimiyah, Rumah, Marat (and) Huraymila from Sunday.

“The Civil Defense calls on everyone to take caution and adhere to its instructions. Your cooperation is needed. Your safety is our goal.”

The authority has previously warned residents against crossing flowing valleys and canyons as this can be dangerous with potentially fatal consequences.

The NCM has said most regions will experience cloudy weather, thunderstorms and rain until Tuesday.

It has issued warnings of moderate thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds reaching speeds of over 50 km per hour, leading to hailstorms, sandstorms and high waves along coastal areas. This is expected to affect the Jazan, Baha and Asir regions.

The Makkah and Madinah regions are expected to experience light to moderate rainfall.

The forecasts also indicate that some areas will remain overcast and wet until the weekend.

Riyadh had hazy sunshine on Monday. The minimum recorded temperature was 14 C, and the maximum was 27 C.


Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen

Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen

Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen
  • The explosives, which were planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen, posed a threat to civilians, including children, women and the elderly

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Project Masam cleared 669 mines in Yemen — which had been planted by the Houthi militia — between Feb. 24 and March 1, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Overseen by the Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief, the project’s special teams destroyed 537 items of unexploded ordnance, 109 anti-tank mines, and 23 anti-personnel mines.

The explosives, which were planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen, posed a threat to civilians, including children, women and the elderly.

Project Masam is one of several initiatives undertaken by Saudi Arabia at the request of King Salman, which has cleared routes for humanitarian aid to reach the country’s citizens.

The demining operations took place in Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sanaa, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhale and Saada.

A total of 434,002 mines have been cleared since the start of the initiative in 2018, according to Ousama Al-Gosaibi, the project’s managing director.

These include 275,891 items of unexploded ordnance, 143,621 anti-tank mines, 8,001 improvised explosive devices, and 6,489 anti-personnel mines.

The initiative trains local demining engineers and provides them with modern equipment. It also offers support to Yemenis injured by the devices.

About 5 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen, many of them displaced by the presence of land mines.

Masam teams are tasked with clearing villages, roads and schools to facilitate the safe movement of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The project’s contract was extended for another year in June 2023 at a cost of $33.29 million.


Saudi crown prince congratulates newly elected prime minister of Pakistan

Saudi crown prince congratulates newly elected prime minister of Pakistan
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi crown prince congratulates newly elected prime minister of Pakistan

Saudi crown prince congratulates newly elected prime minister of Pakistan

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman has congratulated Mohammed Shahbaz Sharif, on the occasion of being sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The Crown Prince sent a cable to Sharif on Monday expressing “his sincere congratulations and best wishes for success and prosperity for his country, and for the brotherly people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, further progress and prosperity,” the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Pakistan’s newly elected lower house of parliament on Sunday elected Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister for a second time, putting him back in a role he had stepped down from ahead of general elections on Feb. 8. 

Sharif, the candidate for his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and coalition allies, secured a comfortable win over Omar Ayub Khan of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party of jailed former PM Imran Khan.