Egyptian artist Nader Sadek — whose multimedia installation "The Faceless" opens tonight (Thursday, September 6) at Michael Steinberg Fine Art in New York's Chelsea district — has released the following statement explaining the non-involvement in the project of legendary death metallers NILE (whose lyrical content is based on mainman Karl Sanders' interest in Egyptology as well as other ancient Middle Eastern cultures such as Mesopotamia):
"I was asked by many people why NILE didnt take part in my project 'The Faceless' and there's a few reasons, the first being that this project deals with Middle Eastern culture and not specifically Egypt but deals with events that have happened in Morroco and Iran — which covers, at a certain level, the persecution of metal fans. NILE's music revolves around ancient times — this is a project about contemporary culture.
"I spoke with Karl several times to see if he was interested in possibly playing a solo. He was interested, it seemed, but it was around the time where he was going in the studio to record the new NILE album. Had he agreed to do it, though, I would have asked him to make it as 'un-Egyptian' as possible. So to me its more important to get an amazing guitarist (which Karl definitely is) than one who is somehow linked with Egypt. It would have been fun — but definitely not necessary."
Nader Sadek invited Steve Tucker (ex-MORBID ANGEL), Trym (EMPEROR, ZYKLON), Alex Skolnick (TESTAMENT), and Ralph Santolla (OBITUARY, ex-DEICIDE, DEATH), as well as Middle Eastern legend Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Miles Jay (ex-WEIRD AL, FATHY SALAMA'S ORCHESTRA), Liron Peled (RAQUY AND THE CAVEMEN) and Raquy Danziger to contribute to "The Faceless". These musicians worked with Sadek to produce a noise experiment moving in and out of independently conceived death metal and Arabic music tracks. This sonic composition accompanies Sadek's uniquely installed drawings which juxtapose the iconographies of death metal and Middle Eastern fundamentalism, which outsiders often associate with darkness, moon worship, and anti-Christian fervor. "The Faceless" startles the audience into rethinking connections between these two frequently misunderstood and vilified cultures.
Having grown up a death metal fan in Egypt, Sadek works from the knowledge that the Egyptian state perceived both death metal and religious fundamentalism as threats to its power and legitimacy: death metal rebels against religious and political hypocrisy; piety rebels against a bureaucratic, commercialized, and godless world. Through sound, image, and space, "The Faceless" mingles these cultures in thoughtful, frightening, and uncanny ways.
Says Sadek: "For a while now, I've been interested in exploring what different cultures perceive of as extreme. 'The Faceless' grows out of years of walking the crowded streets of Downtown Cairo dressed as a full-on death metal fan (i.e., long black hair, long-sleeve MORBID ANGEL/DEICIDE t-shirts, and an overall grungy look). Then, in a sort of twisted reversal, I decided to walk the streets of New York's Times Square in the black garb of a fully veiled woman. The intense reactions I got in each case confirmed for me the potential of this project. Those experiences inspired me to channel the popular paranoid fantasy in which the fully veiled woman is wrought from a dark death metal world, full of serpents, skulls, demons and dark mountains. I hope that by reflecting back to the audience their paranoid fantasies, which totally oversimplify the reality of Middle Eastern and death metal culture, that my work will get them to question their own prejudices and sense of the extreme."
In other Nader Sadek-related news, he has designed and produced a mask for MAYHEM frontman Attila Csihar, which was worn at the group's August 25, 2007 show in Stavanger, Norway. Check out pictures at this location.