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I’ve spent years trying to convince the world of metal’s radical potential. I’ve followed the obscure byways of obscure extreme metal genres in search of the avant-grade potential of this most degraded form. My heart has swelled with satisfaction as – finally – The Wire, The Quietus and other bastions of elite musical opinion have begun to embrace the metallic dark side. (More…)

Israel is not just bedeviled by the occupation. It also struggles internally, with every manner of social problem. The two biggest winners of this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival could not do a better job of underlining this. Both films explore the insinuation of violence in Israeli society, by looking at the country’s Mizrahi and Bedouin communities. (More…)

Late in Dave Eggers‘ moving new novel A Hologram for the King, his protagonist Alan Clay, a onetime corporate sales manager for Schwinn who is now tenuously self-employed as a consultant, is lying on his belly in a Saudi Arabian operating room, trying to think of something other than the tumor inside him. “I sold capitalism to the communists,” he thinks. (More…)

Few European cities are as synonymous with drugs as Berlin. Second only to Amsterdam, in terms of Dionysian reputation, the German capitol tends to take on a more sinister hue due to its hipster association with heroin. Think back, for instance, to such rep theatre classics as Christiane F., Uli Edel’s 1981 film about a young girl, living in Neukölln, who goes from soft to hard drug use, and eventually, prostitution, all by the age of fourteen. (More…)

In the 1970s, older folks regarded punk as untalented, amateur, and above all, noise. Only a few years after its arrival, British artists affiliated with the punk and postpunk scenes co-opted the “noise” designation, turned it into a badge of pride, and pushed the sonic envelope further than many believed possible. (More…)

There are times that being a political commentator frustrates me. Today is an example. In the wake of the bombing attack in Bulgaria, which has thus far claimed the lives of 6 victims and, apparently, the bomber as well, I alternate between feelings of rage and sadness. Yet, cynics like Bibi Netanyahu feel compelled to capitalize on such tragedies in order to advance their war ambitions using the innocent victims of terror. He has no sense of decency, or remorse. (More…)

The focus on Arab countries takes some getting used to. Especially if you’re accustomed to encountering anti-Israeli occupation flyers, not anti-Assad or Tahrir Square-themed demo adverts. Indeed, the introduction of Arab Spring-themed street art, and political postering,  throughout Europe, has signified a cultural change. The subject of popular debate now includes Middle Eastern states other than just Israel, and its conflict with the Palestinians. (More…)

Eighteen months ago, we flooded public squares across the Middle East. We sought to situate ourselves against the old order, en-nizaam – the regime. En-nizaam meant more than just Hosni Mubarak and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. It referred to an entire way of doing things, one that mired the region in dysfunction when the old empires finally collapsed.  (More…)

It is obvious: the ruling order finds itself in a deep crisis. Everyone actually knows full well that it can’t go on this way. The political answer to the problem is the attack on society from above, fully in the sense of capital and profit: everything for the economy, nothing for people. (More…)

Nalchik is the capital of Russia’s autonomous region of Kabardino-Balkaria, nestled in the foothills of the Caucasus and Mount Elbrus. 550 metres above sea level, its air is crisp and pungent with the scent of tourist repellent, the unfortunate result of its proximity to such hotspots as Ingushetia and Chechnya. (More…)

The original title for Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s detective novel, Off Side, is El delantero centro fue asesinado at atardecer which translates to “The center forward was murdered at dusk”. The title comes from a series of florid notes sent to FC Barcelona: “Because you use your centre forward to make yourselves feel like gods who can manage victories and defeats, from the comfortable throne of minor Caesars: the centre forward will be killed at dusk.” (More…)

I debated with myself about writing an article on the so-called “Levy Report,” a rightwing fantasy about Israel’s settlement project being legal under international law, which suggests that Israel retroactively recognize outposts that were set up contrary to Israeli law. (More…)