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Egypt today isn’t exactly a prime destination for international acts. Besides a few big state-sanctioned concerts and a DJ or Jazz band from Europe every once in a blue moon, our exposure to live music from other shores is remarkably limited. However, the concerted efforts of a few individual Egyptians are working to change that and make Egypt a must for acts from across the world. One of the hardest working people in the Egyptian music scene at the moment, Nader Sadek, is booking Heavy Metal bands from the States and Europe in Cairo as part of a plan to use the vitality of the worldwide Metal community to help reinvigorate Egypt's tourism industry. His latest Heavy Metal endeavour will bring the legendary Brazilian band Sepultura to Egypt for the first time on June 4th at the Nile Country Club in Maadi. Alongside Sepultura, his own eponymous project will be performing with Egyptian bands Gorynov, Perpetual Ferocity, and Mephostophilis. Nader Sadek has teamed up with the Brazilian embassy, Red Bull, and Il Divino Pizzeria to make this show – a dream for most anybody who ever considered themselves a metalhead – a reality.
Sepultura, for those who aren’t cool enough to know, is one of the biggest cultural exports of Brazil. An iconic act, Sepultura is known the world over for their use of heavy grooves and World Music in their albums, as well as pioneering the heavy sound as a whole in the late 80s and early 90s. The band has sold about 20 million records globally and has achieved gold record status (which means they’ve sold at least 500,000 copies) in the States for their albums Arise (1991), Chaos A.D.(1993), and Roots (1996) in the U.S. Every person who has ever considered themselves a fan of Metal, even if it was just to piss off their parents for a few months when they were a teenager, has at least heard of Sepultura.
I had the chance to briefly speak to legendary lead guitarist Andreas Kisser about his band’s impending visit. He just so happened to be at the studio working on the band's upcoming 13th album, which will be released later this year. "The show in Egypt will be the first after the recording sessions,” Andreas tells me; “it has been a long time since we had the first offer to play in Egypt, but none of the of them worked out. Finally, we will be in Cairo to do a Sepultura show! We are very happy with this opportunity. Nader was the guy who tried many times to make this happen.”
Photo by Guilherme Nozawa
Nader Sadek is an Egyptian visual artist and musician who got his break working as a stage artist for the Norwegian band Mayhem. Using the contacts he developed during that time, he embarked on a bold quest to create a Metal supergroup of sorts, under his own direction. The lineup has been a veritable who’s who of the international Metal community over the few years he’s been touring the world. Now he’s back in Egypt and working at what he does best to make the country a haven for metalheads and bands alike, utilising the fact that fans of the genre are famous for their willingness to travel great distances at great expense to see the bands they love in exotic locales.
Being an Egyptian Metal fan himself, Sadek says this is a dream come true; "I'm glad I could contribute to Sepultura’s legacy - being the first Metal band of its stature to play in Egypt. I've seen their live performance many times, and it's simply flawless. I can't wait for Egyptian Metal fans to get to witness this!"
Sadek and Andreas Kisser have some history together. Andreas Kisser recorded some guest solos on Sadek’s last release, an EP called The Malefic: Chapter 3. "I reached out to Gerardo Martinez, head of Sepultura’s current label, Nuclear Blast Records USA, a true visionary and one whose contribution to the global Metal scene is undeniable," Sadek says, recalling the process. "I asked him if he could get in touch with Andreas, and without hesitation he did. Andreas plays on the tracks Descent and Entropy Eternal on the EP. He did an incredible job! Some of my favourite solos he's ever done!” The Malefic also features musicians from big name Death Metal bands such as Cryptopsy, Cattle Decapitation, and Mayhem. Featuring Andreas Kisser among other big names was a mind-melting feat for metalheads all over the world. He didn’t even have to leave Brazil! “It’s amazing the things you can do with technology these days,” Kisser recounts of his recording experience; “it was great! I did my parts in my home studio in Sao Paulo and sent the files to Nader in Egypt." That means even though Andreas Kisser has collaborated with an Egyptian artist, he’s never actually visited the country, even though he is a bit of an Egyptology nerd. “It’s a dream come true! I love all Ancient Egyptian history; I’m not an expert, but new things are always coming out, new discoveries and interpretations,” he says. He keeps up regularly with new bits of information as they come out, most recently with the Scan Pyramids project. “It’s amazing to have this chance to visit the country and play to all our Egyptian fans who have been waiting a long time to see Sepultura," Andreas Kisser says. "We will have a show that will go down in the history of Cairo!” Sadek is prepared to play host as well and introduce them to the country and its history in the flesh; “It would be a crime not to take them to ancient sites," Sadek jokes. "I plan to take them to every spot I can and have them immerse themselves in a real representation of our rich culture. From history to Egyptian and Middle Eastern food."
Despite Egypt’s less than amicable history with Heavy Metal, and some recent setbacks, Sadek is determined to persevere with his vision of an Egypt with free musical expression. "I have an amazing network of family, friends, and followers, without whom I would not be able to do any of this; they are my backbone and I am eternally grateful for their continued support and loyalty,” Sadek says, as he’s neck-deep in paperwork and constantly interrupted by phone calls and messages pertaining to this show and other things he has in the works. "To me it's also fun; I don't see this as work, despite taking it 100 percent seriously. I love watching people's joy, and so despite the pressure, thankfully, it always ends up on a positive note one way or another!"