Acrassicauda / Heavy Metal in Baghdad

Wow, sometimes neat surprises are awaiting you when you do give unknown stuff a chance. I did this with the documentation Heavy Metal in Baghdad a while back which was broadcasted from the german TV station 3SAT. Already the intro made me smile and being interested. You can see Eddy Moretti who is putting on his bullet protection while explaining the goal of the mission:"(...) to find out, if the so-far only known active heavy metal band Acrassicauda is still active, because you know - Heavy Metal rules!(...).

That was the point where I knew I was going to watch it 'til the end. First, the title of the feature film "Heavy Metal in Baghdad" made me aware that this could be of particular interest to me and this intro scene got me. Here is a short synopsis taken from the website of the film telling you what this one is all about:

"(...) Heavy Metal in Baghdad is a feature film documentary that follows the Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda from the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to the present day. Playing heavy metal in a Muslim country has always been a difficult (if not impossible) proposition but after Saddam’s regime was toppled, there was a brief moment for the band in which real freedom seemed possible. That hope was quickly dashed as their country fell into a bloody insurgency. From 2003-2006, Iraq disintegrated around them while Acrassicauda struggled to stay together and stay alive, always refusing to let their heavy metal dreams die. Their story echoes the unspoken hopes of an entire generation of young Iraqis.(...)"

Having watched the movie I asked myself how it might have turned out the past years for the band, if there's a website around and if there's a chance to hear some more stuff from them. And happily the band can be said to be still alive! They do live in the U.S.A. by now and have recently released their first EP entitled Only the Dead See the End of the War. You can hear the full EP as a free stream on the band's mypspace site.  The EP was produced by Alex Skolnick, I guess a lot of you know him as the guitarist of Testament. If you like it, you can purchase it via itunes or buy it on Amazon.

As for the style of their music I would describe it as a mixture of elements from Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and bands the like combined with a bit more melodic vocals. Additionally they also do use some parts that are sort of progressive like Rage against the machine and other modern bands include them in their sound. In some ways they remind me of the first, self-titled album Random Damage did some years ago. Like it very much, though.

Additionally the band has filmed a video for the song "Gardens of Stone", the song itself has also been set up for free download from the films website. The video is well worth watching so I've included it here,too.


Actually the band seems to be busy with putting together their first full-lenght album. This wikipedia entry has some more information about the actuall situation of the band. Looking more and more around I found also a cool interview with Drummer Marwan Riyadh.

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