In 2013, filmmaker Monzer Darwish began filming a documentary exploring the state of Syrian heavy-metal in the wake of the nation's ongoing civil war. The completed film — titled Syrian Metal Is War — finally saw the light of day last year, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign. Now, Darwish has made the whole film available for streaming via YouTube.
Filmed via mobile phone and DSLR, Syrian Metal Is War sheds light on the Syrian musicians' enduring spirit amid one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern times, as well as the potentially lethal risks associated with heavy-metal musicianship in the war-torn country, from suicide bombings to mandatory military service.
I don't think any musical genre let us express our deepest thoughts, feelings and opinions like metal music does," Darwish said of the film's themes, in an interview with Noisey last year. The director added that he was forced to cut a lot of footage out of the film due to safety concerns. "The fighting parts in Syria have this revenge culture — if you can't kill your enemy, then kill their loved ones," he explained. "I think this is how the war worsened in this very short amount of time!
If you'd like to support Darwish's brave work – and you should! – head here to donate.