Saudi foreign minister arrives in Madrid for meeting of European Council on Foreign Relations

JEDDAH: Saudi heavy metal band Wasted Land will perform at what the metalheads described as “one of the most prestigious (music) festivals on the planet.”

Wacken Open Air, the annual hard rock and heavy metal festival that attracts almost 100,000 headbangers to the town of the same name in Schleswig-Holstein, will take place from the first weekend in August with bands from all over the world.

Wasted Land won the Middle East Wacken Open Air Metal Battle in Jeddah in early May, earning the opportunity to represent Saudi Arabia in the international finals of the festival for the first time in history. The event was supported by the German Consulate and the European Music Week in Saudi Arabia.

The band will share the stage with some of the most famous metal bands from around the world, including Scorpions, Amon Amarth, Blind Guardian, In Ektremo, Pain and Beast In Black.

The band members are vocalist Emad Mujallid, founders and guitarists Aiman ​​Al-Ghamdi and Ahmed Khoja, bassist Mahmoud Al-Taieb and drummer Tameem Helmi.

Speaking to Arab News, Mujallid, Al-Ghamdi and Khoja said it was “unreal” and “a dream come true” to perform at Wacken Open Air.

“With an opportunity like this, it actually makes it real that you can do what you love,” Mujallid said.

Al-Ghamdi added: “Yesterday we dreamed (of finding) tickets to attend this great festival.” Now, in (a) few days, we will stand on stage with (the) best in the world. Just existing is an achievement for the first Saudi metal band.”

“For any metal band, playing at Wacken Open Air is an all-time dream. It is the ultimate stage where legends gather,” said Khoja. “We are honored to represent Saudi Arabia at such a major global event.”

Wasted Land was founded in 2004 and has been at the forefront of the battle to prove that heavy metal can exist in Saudi Arabia. The band’s sound is a unique blend of melodic death metal and groove metal. He draws inspiration from metal bands such as Suidakra from Germany and In Flames from Sweden.

Their journey from the music scene in Jeddah to performing at Wacken Open Air is one of ups and downs, breakups and reconciliations. The members have endured “a crazy amount of lineup and management changes” — but every time they’re faced with a challenge, they continue to strive for success.

Khoja described the year 2004, when he started assembling the band, as a period of testing.

“Times weren’t always so rosy,” he said, referring to the departure of some band members and the struggles of performing live, releasing songs on streaming platforms and promoting himself in his community.

“Basically, our identity was hidden and our musical performances were kept in the basement,” he added. Fortunately, things have changed.

“The Saudi music scene is in its best era today, and the reforms have also paved the way for other businesses in the entertainment industry to thrive,” Al-Ghamdi said. “I hope that all kinds of music will get the same attention and support.”

Mujallid added: “I think Saudi Arabia’s music culture is booming right now, and I hope they will be more open to supporting all genres of music instead of focusing on a few and ignoring others, such as rock, jazz, blues and even heavier music.” like metal.”

The band members also expressed their gratitude to the German Consulate in Jeddah for their support and especially to the German Consul General Dr. Eltje Aderhold who will be attending the festival to support this remarkable milestone.

Wasted Land is one of the first metal bands to play in Egypt and Dubai, and they have also opened for international acts such as Lacuna Coil and Moonspell.

They were featured in Saudi director Abdulrahman Sandoqi’s documentary “Underground”, which followed the Saudi music scene. The band also released an album, along with several singles and videos.

Leave a Comment