“They called us a Satanic cult on the newspaper’s front page and I was wanted by the cops… They could have easily thrown me in jail without a trial.” – Melechesh Ashmedi

Israel’s Melechesh take us to a world beyond the trivial concerns of Western metalheads – a place where being a headbanger can land you a night in the slammer. As frontman to the Middle East’s first black metal band, Melechesh Ashmedi talks to ZT’s Alex de Moller about his rise from the streets of Jerusalem to the life of a worldwide musical pariah. The righteous ideals of underground metal in the West are turned upside down as he reveals the realities of life in one of heavy music’s most unlikely regions: “I don’t know why you guys opt for the shitty version,” he says. “I don’t get it – We had to. If you gave me the choice at the time I would have opted for the professional stuff, but I was having a good time. I bought one of those little karaoke microphones. It was blue plastic and I got it in the old city of Jerusalem after school. You’d plug it directly into a stereo but I needed a stand. We had a lot of aluminium antennas, so I got one and bent it around the mic. How the fuck are we gonna make a tripod I thought? We got a fruit carton and turned it upside down. We had a lot of brown tape from the (Gulf) war – each house had like 50 rolls. It came in useful. We actually made drum skins from that tape and used plastic garbage buckets Honestly, it sounded good! I have recordings on tape!”

In the fiery wake of our cover artist, we examine the global metal underground – the phenomena, the cliches and inequalities of our stigmatised subculture and how they vary from country to country. We speak to bands from Bahrain, Sri Lanka, China and Egypt on a global search for the true meaning of underground music, a concept left long undefined. Primordial’s Alan Averill ‘Nemtheanga’ opens fire on the trends created by internet collectors, patch-jacket passengers and self proclaimed exiles while Nathan T. Birk takes on Canada’s Blasphemy in a rather… ‘adversarial’ interview. Further, we talk to Krieg, Enslaved, Swans, Underground label legend Nuclear War Now! and a horde of others as our Rapid Fire and Underground Black Metal sections take a turn towards the abyss!

Editor Calum Harvie hands the reins to a new editorial team as he steps down this issue. Lisa Macey (Editor-In-Chief), Nathan T. Birk (Deputy Editor) and Alex de Moller (Assistant Editor) assembled a creative bomb to leave you with ZT’s most spectacular literary assault to date! Visit the current issu for more info. DO IT NOW!

Thanks for dropping in!

If you’re here maybe you should think of adding Zero Tolerance Magazine to your arsenal of regular reading? We offer a 3-issue trial subscription to whet your appetite.