The first part of this series of articles revolving around our beloved country’s ongoing prejudice against Metal music and its defenders criticized the official announcement by the General Secretariat of Catholic Schools, which unwittingly attacked a major metal international concert in Beirut with headliners Anathema among others (check that first part here).

In this part, I’ll mention another censorship method: banning a significant number of international Metal artists’ releases from the Lebanese stores (Virgin Megastores per example). I’ll also talk about something I personally experienced while trying to import Metal CD’s into the country.

First, you should know that Bilocate‘s (Jordan) “Sudden Death Syndrome” album has been “banned” in Lebanon (while it’s being sold in MANY countries in the Middle East / Europe / US!). After some internet surfing, I found out that “extreme” metal releases weren’t the only ones to be legally banned from our country: everything that had an underground feel or bizarre ambient to it was blacklisted.

Bilocate - Sudden Death Syndrome Cover

While Metallica and Iron Maiden seem to have found their way into the country (along with other heavy metal, hard and soft rock bands available at Virgin Megastores and other music stores), the more ‘extreme’ fans have always relied on, oh well, illegal downloading/sharing to access their favorite music releases! (what if band shirts were blacklisted too?)

Well, I’ll show you what happened when I gave “legal music purchasing” a chance, when I ordered a bunch of CDs from the US and shipped them to Lebanon.

I should have received the following:

Destruction‘s The Antichrist and All Hell Breaks Loose, Kreator‘s Enemy of God, Slayer‘s Reign in Blood, RoadRunner Records compilation and a Violence Best Of non-original CD.

I got this instead:

Lebanese Rock Censorship | Banned

Lovely right? (for you non-Arabic speaking readers, this states the confiscated albums and sums it up with a remark “satanic worshipers related albums“). So I only got the non-original CD which I got as a gift from the buyer along with my purchased CDs (the non-original had no cover art but you all should know that Violence play the same music genre as Slayer – thrash metal – ) and that seriously sucked, aside from the fact that I got no refund whatsoever, some idiot probably took the CDs for himself…

Lebanese Rock Censorship | Banned -2-

So I have some experience with this Rock censorship in Lebanon and I bet some of you have been through that as well (share your stories with us); but my question remains “Why should Lebanon be different from the rest of the Arab world?“. We are influenced by many cultures therefore such a censorship should never exist!

This kind of treatment should provide all major metal record labels with the answer to the global wave of free music downloading and sharing: there’s no easy and legal way of purchasing the music in the first place (and no I don’t want to buy mp3s).

I sure hope that we’ll no longer have a banned musicians list so that local music fans can easily support the bands they love, and hopefully be able to watch them perform live in their home-country, not abroad.