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Asfalts Rise From the Streets of Cairo

BREAKING

Chalice of Doom Sign to Spanish Label


Jordanian metal outfit land deal with Memento Mori
Jordans Chalice of Doom have been signed to Spanish label Memento Mori ahead of the release of their second album, Into Hypnagogia. The Al Zarqa-based five-piece doom-metal band have also secured a slew of guest vocalists for the album, including Greek soprano Christina Kroustali, from Die Verbannten Kinder Evas, and Norwegian vocalist Marius Strand from The Fall of Every Season. The album will also include guest vocals from Swede Roger Johansson, the ex-Edge of Sanity singer who currently plays in 11th Hour and Paganizer. Johansson said he was persuaded to appear after hearing demos sent to him by singer Fares Swedan. This album will be something that the doom fans will drool over. You have just about everything present here. The heaviness, the melody and most important the feeling. This album is going to be something you want to listen to over and over and over, Johansson said in a statement released by the band. Swedan and his bandmates bassist Azmo Lozmodial, guitarists Ahmad Seffo and Tariq Khasawneh, and drummer Mohammed Jaber released their first album, Immemorial Nightfall, via Satanarsa Records three years ago. And last year, the band organized Jordans first metal gig in over five years. It was this show, Swedan says, that inspired the band most of whom are still students to create Into Hypnagogia, which will now be released by Memento Mori. Its going to be a very different album, combining a lot of musical influences and featuring many talented guests, says Swedan. Its going to be an interesting mixture of many musical styles. ORLANDO CROWCROFT

Egyptian rappers ride the post-revolution hip-hop wave


and over again. Now, they perform in venues like The Opera House in Cairo, as well as malls and universities reaching a new crowd. We try to participate in concerts where theres not likely to be an audience for hip-hop, so we can introduce them to it, Ibrahim explains. Now, people [here] are more open to new genres. And not just hip-hop, there are lots of underground bands who had no fanbase before [who are now doing well]. Ibrahim started rapping in English in a group called Maddskillz. My English sucked back then, nobody really listened, he recalls. So he started writing lyrics

r essed i n m atchi ng ou tfits white shirts and bow ties, leather jackets and sixpence hats 31-year-old Farouk Ibrahim and 29-year-old Mohamed Gad Elkarem, an Egyptian rap duo who go by the name of Asfalt, bounce around the stage at Cairo University. I want the Egyptian people to be winners, I want everyone to feel, to open your eyes and dont be afraid, they rhyme, in Arabic, together with guest rapper Zap Tharwat. The audience all join the chorus, fists in the air: I want, I want, I want 3ayz, 3ayz, 3ayz. The show is high energy, mixing politics, big beats and humor (at the end, they offer their version of Gangnam Style). The duo are meticulous in their preparations they even have their own clothes designer. Throughout the show Ibrahim and Elkarem ca ll for unit y and good leadership in their country, while cursing violence, racism and unemployment (and bad TV during Ramadan). But if you suggest to Ibrahim that, as many have claimed, Egyptian hip-hop impacted the revolution, his immediate response is, Bullshit. No one had heard of [rappers] before the revolution. What he does believe is that the revolution had an impact on hip-hop and Asfalt. Two years after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the duo have tripled their annual bookings andincome. I never affected the revolution. The revolution affected me, Ibrahim says. Before the revolution, the video for Asfalts song Asfalt Remix had gotten 50,000 hits over five years. Since the revolution, their video Ana Satreen has already reached more than 300,000 hits, mostly from the Middle East, but also from the U.S. and Europe. Pre-revolution, Asfalt could only get gigs in the same four cultural centers over

cleaning house Ibrahim and Elkarem (from left)

in Arabic and in 2005 he formed Asfalt with a group of other rappers including EMoney (who later joined the group Arabian Knightz) and Mohamed El Deeb. Elkarem joined in 2006. Last year, Asfalt were among the 15 finalists in Rolling Stone Middle Easts Street to Stage competition, and they also reached the finals of MBCs Arabs Got Talent. However, Ibrahim doesnt believe hip-hop is a popular enough genre yet to win these kinds of competitions in the region. Well give it more time and thought before participating in any other contests, he says. Instead, their focus is on getting more gigs, and writing new material. Ibrahim says Asfalts next track , Itll All Come Out In The Wash (set for release this month), is an optimistic look at the situation in Egypt. Although the present doesnt look so pretty, he explains, we still have hope for the future. JANNE LOUISE ANDERSEN

from left: janne louise andersen; orlando crowcroft

Chalice of Doom

Rolling Stone, March 2013 23