Tracey Shipley
Youth, family and addictions counselor/creative therapist

Arallu- Israel’s Middle Eastern Black Metal Band and a Metal Camp for Youth

Arallu- An unforgettable Middle Eastern Black Metal Band and a Metal Camp for Youth

I don’t know if I can explain my love of Heavy Metal music.   Maybe it started with Metallica whose music I first heard in the 1990’s when I began working at a Drug Rehab in Florida. I asked the teens to create something that had meaning to them regarding their addictions and those they had lost due to this terrible disease. One of the boys simply played Metallica’s “The Unforgiven” and I was hooked. It was moving beyond words and upon researching the meaning of the song I saw that so many of the boys had similar stories undoubtedly influencing their poor choices in life. Only years later did my son introduce me to the heavier metal bands as he began his journey into writing and performing his own metal music on the open mic stages of Jerusalem. I could see that for him it was a way to express his feelings about things that upset him in life in a creative way and boy did he do it well!!!

As I frequented “Blaze Rock Bar” in Jerusalem with their eclectic music genres played live almost every night I of course loved the Rock ‘n’ Roll that I was raised on but the Heavy Metal evenings moved me in a different way. I could differentiate between the ones that were average and the ones that were exceptional in my eyes and those I could watch on stage for hours. I was familiar with Oriental Metal bands such as Melech Eish whose founder and main performer MC is a good friend and was Israel’s first band to “make it” internationally. I also knew that Orphaned Land was huge as well worldwide.  But the first Black Metal Band with oriental flavor that I was recently introduced to at Blaze was Arallu founded and led by Daniel “GeanieKing”. There is simply something magical that happens when Arallu mounts the stage. The powerful voices, lyrics, and unique combination of instruments make Arallu unforgettable.

Since its founding in 1997 Arallu has released 8 studio albums, 3 live DVD’S and has performed throughout Israel and Europe helping to bring Middle Eastern Metal to the forefront of the metal music world. The passion in their music did not happen by accident. This was the period of the first Intifada, the violent Palestinian uprising setting the streets of Jerusalem on fire. “Every day we saw the hatred through the news on TV”, Daniel explained. “I was surrounded by the conflict.” “I remember the bus exploding next to me on the streets of Jerusalem when I was on my way to school. I was 16 years old at the time.” “My life was mixed with bloodshed around Jerusalem. This is what brought Arallu to life. Finding out about the extreme metal music scene in Europe helped me to understand that through this music I could express the horror of what I was seeing in my city.”

“The lyrics about European and especially Nordic history, religions and war really spoke to me. And then I said to myself “Dammit, I’m from the Middle East. Our history is full of stories of war and bravery.” Daniel knew he had to share his feelings about the violence surrounding him as a base for the music he would create. In his video clip of “Oiled Machine of Hate” from his sixth album he shows the streets of Jerusalem filled with blood. “It was a religious war all around the country, Muslims against Jews, Christians against Muslims and the cycle didn’t end. All the footage in the clip was real. The news on TV was filled with these horrifying pictures of body parts, people screaming and burnt-up buses. I remember as a child it was a very hard thing to process and writing the first album’s lyrics was my coping mechanism. It almost wrote itself!

“At home I saw my father listening to music day and night from all around the Middle East, Turkey, Israel and Egypt. I was trying very hard to understand how to combine the oriental rhythms and guitars with the blast and shredding of the Norwegian Black Metal that I loved so much. It took me some time but eventually the first demo came out. Though it actually shocked people it was really accepted well around Israel.”

Daniel’s first albums were recorded alone. He created the music and the lyrics, played the various parts on the drums, guitar, and bass, and put out 2 demos and 2 albums. Once these were released it was easy to recruit musicians for the band he would ultimately start in 2001 – Arallu. Today Arallu has five members in the band, Richard Z, on drums, Ofek Noi on the guitar, Daniel on vocals and the bass, and   Eylon  Bark on backup vocals and on the mystical string instrument called the Saz in addition to the traditional Middle Eastern drum Darbuka. Eylon lives in Switzerland and comes in for their shows in Israel. Barak Kabilio was added as a “secessionist” joining the band for performances.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit with Daniel after his last show at Blaze Bar. I saw his young kids in the audience and it occurred to me that we need to develop the next generation of heavy metal bands in Israel. Then it dawned on me that Daniel “GenieKing” would be the perfect person to help me make that happen.  With the support of Jerusalem’s Municipal Music Center, we are organizing Jerusalem’s and maybe Israel’s first Metal Camp for teens and young adults. This July two groups of Metal hopefuls will enter the world of Metal with four intensive days of workshops learning all aspects of metal music from its history, and impact on the music world to the practical side of how to write powerful lyrics, sing and play like a metal artist. The plan is to create two young metal bands which on July 18th will have their first appearance on stage. This will happen at Blaze Rock Bar in downtown Jerusalem with special guests “Veolia” performing alongside them. Of course, Daniel will be there to guide and support his newly created bands. Who knows, this might be the start of a resurgence of metal music of the next generation here in Israel. Though the dates on the flier indicate one camp we have since planned a second one the following week.

Should you be interested in hearing more about the camp feel free to contact me: 0548108918 or by email

About the Author
Tracey Shipley is a youth and family counselor specializing in addictions and family communication. She was born in the US and moved to Israel in 1984 to continue her studies in Art Therapy. She moved back to the US in 1989 and began working in a drug rehab for teens where she was trained while she worked as a primary counselor. She moved back to Israel in 1996 and continued her work in addictions at the Jerusalem Methadone Clinic for a total of 9 years. She initiated projects for the children of the addicts at the Methadone Clinic, Established a program for Ethiopian Teens educating them about their culture and opened the Jerusalem School of Rock program which helps to create teen rock bands and established monthly teen music events at downtown venues where teens perform for their friends in a teen friendly exciting atmosphere. In addtion to her projects Tracey is the English Speaking Volunteer Coordinator for Emunah Jerusalem.
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