By Mark LeVine
It's not often that heavy metal bands from the Middle East make it to the States, but in July the Sunset Strip witnessed what was surely the first meeting of three powerhouses of Middle Eastern metal on its hallowed ground—Egypt, Iraq and Iran.
For well over a millennium they have been rival centers of Islamic culture, and more recently have been political rivals. Much more recently they have been home to three of the most intense metal scenes not merely in the Middle East, but in the world.
Nothing makes for a good metal scene like war and oppression, and Iran and Iraq have had about as much of both as any country could take. Egypt has been safe from war the last three and a half decades, but the mercifully ended rein of Hosni Mubarak was among the region's most effectively repressive for most of that period.