“Offers the hit-and-run pleasures of a lively road trip…. Levine manages to unpack enough cross-cultural incongruities to mount his own mosh pit follow-up to ‘You Don’t Mess With the Zohan….informative, valuable, and moderately mad.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A fascinating social phenomenon….[LeVine’s] material is rich, as he mingles scenes of conflict with surprising moments of understanding.”
—Los Angeles Times
“There’s something irresistible about the idea that LeVine… not only interviewed rock and rap artists from all over the Middle East and North Africa but also put down the notepad and got up onstage to jam with them."
“A deeply felt, informed volume that’s both hopeful and emotionally honest…LeVine does a remarkable job, sketching not only the surprising realities of the musicians, but also providing excellent historical background and terrific detail….anyone–regardless of musical preference–who wants an eye-level glimpse into the Middle East should pick up Heavy Metal Islam."
“With a jolting arrangement of images and voices, LeVine powerfully upends received notions about the Middle East by exploring one of the area’s least-known subcultures…. LeVine argues that if these musicians could find a way to cooperate with progressive religious activists and the working class, they could trigger a revolution. This is a tall order, but the author’s warm and intelligent examination of a reality few in the West have experienced suggests it may yet be possible.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Alternately inspiring and disheartening—a solid work of cross-cultural analysis.”
“Using music as a prism to observe social relations, he expertly describes the political upheaval and social confusion in the Middle East that Westerners ignore or seldom understand. This examination of the changing and evolving cultures in a key global region is highly recommended.”
“Heavy Metal Islam is a fun read, and an important one. As an American, Islam has been portrayed as the boogie man. I don’t know much about the culture or musical influences. As a musician I can relate to the struggles [of] trying to write and record songs and the difficulty of finding hard rock records where they don’t exist. So this was a pleasant surprise that these young artists and fans from such a different culture can enjoy the same soundtrack of my youth. I guess Lemmy is God in all languages.”
—Gilby Clarke, former guitarist for Guns N’ Roses and star of the hit TV reality show, Rock Star Supernova