Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

Metal Without Borders

Limp Bizkit may be coming out with a new album this year, but nu-metal — a genre of rock that melds hip-hop influences and pop-metal — died in America effective October, 2001 (with the debut of the chart-topping indie band The Strokes). Yet, while the death rattle of nu-metal rings here, Israeli nu-metal is vibrant and healthy.

Contrasted to the vulgar, jejune hedonism of American nu-metal, Israeli nu-metal has a decidedly humanistic tinge. Consider Seek Irony, five Israelis who recently finished an album with producer Sylvia Massy Shivy (Tool and System of a Down). Seek Irony’s music is often standard nu-metal fare. The single “Tech’N’Roll” features masculine posturing and vague, absurd declarations about the power of rock ‘n’ roll: “Tech and Roll, expands your mind and saves your soul.” Their recent single “Everything We Are,” though, is both a musical accomplishment for the band (thumping without being ridiculous, moving without recycling vague tropes) and a surprisingly political one. The song is a collaboration between the Israeli group and Rabih Zogheib, the lead singer of Blood Ink — a Lebanese metal band. The two bands met immediately before the Lebanon War in 2006 and kept up a correspondence during the violence.

Seek Irony

After the war, Seek Irony and Zogheib cut the single together. According to Seek Irony, which posted a long blog post about the song, Zogheib faced down pressure not to work with an Israeli band. Zogheib and Seek Irony, instead of meeting together, traded vocal tracks online, and the track was mixed at Seek Irony’s home studio in Tel Aviv. The song, as Zogheib describes it, is a non-partisan protest against the war. The chorus, an elongated, desperate vocal cry, goes, “Taking everything we are and everything we could be/Tearing us apart.”

The single may lack subtlety, but here the most significant gesture was the one the led to the song’s creation. At times the context surrounding a song’s production gets ignored, but with “Everything We Are,” that is what infuses it with its emotional core. “Taking everything we are” is a set of words that rings far more sincere when imagined as one band singing to another across war-torn borders.

Listen to “Tech’N’Roll,” “Everything We Are” and other songs on Seek Irony’s MySpace page.

Mordechai Shinefield has written about music for Rolling Stone, The Village Voice and the New York Press.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at editor[email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.