Tuesday, February 10, 2009
It is certainly a breath of fresh air to hear a positive news story in a time of such social, political, and economic upheaval. Just such a story arrived, via an email from my bro Charles, a couple of days ago in my Yahoo! inbox.
Acrassicauda, the only Heavy Metal band from Iraq (named after a species of scorpion, pictured at right), have an amazing story to tell, one that I learned about from a 2007 documentary film called "Heavy Metal In Baghdad". These guys have been playing in a Metal band together for 8 years, subsisting solely on their unending dedication to all things Metal, and facing obstacles that would be unimaginable for anyone living in the well-cushioned western world. In addition to having their practice space bombed, watching their friends and family die in a useless war, and facing persecution from their government for playing what has been deemed a style of music FAR too influenced by "western" culture, Acrassicauda persevered, supported only by friendship and music.
Finally escaping Iraq, these guys fled to Syria and then to Turkey, all the while keeping their dream alive, playing music together and hoping for a better life. The good news is, Acrassicauda were recently granted official refugee status in the United States, realizing a dream they've had for over a decade. They've settled in Elizabeth, NJ, and I'm really hoping they'll get out and tour soon, not only for their own satisfaction, but because I want to shake each of their hands, look them in the eye, and tell them what a personal inspiration their story has been to me. Acrassicauda's journey proves that Heavy Metal is a positive, unifying force, and that friendship, above all else, can beat even the worst odds.
Fuck yeah, Acrassicauda. LONG LIVE METAL.
Follow Acrassicauda's ongoing story, in their own words, on their new blog.
And check out the fucking movie, too! Truly inspiring shit.
Official trailer for "Heavy Metal In Baghdad":