In America, heavy metal is lifestyle, but in Iraq, metal can cost you your life.
Thrash-metal band Acrassicauda was founded in Baghdad in 2001 by four guys who just wanted to rock. Forging a sound based on bootlegs and internet scouring, the band created a sound based on classic thrash from the 1980's. But in Iraq, nothing is that easy. Censorship rules during the pre-American invasion required them to sing odes to Saddam Hussein, and after his fall, the band was targeted by conservative Muslims who saw their music as devil music, or worse, American music. Headbanging was even condemned as an act too close to the motions made by Jews in prayer.
Then as Iraq erupted into cataclysmic violence, the band risked their lives to go to practice, or to wear a Megadeth shirt on the street. Their dreams were shelved. Then Vice magazine got ahold of their story and followed the band in the documentary “Heavy Metal in Baghdad,” which chronicled the guy's thwarted attempts to perform just one show amid the destruction, and their subsequent escape from Iraq and troubled days as refugees in Syria, then in Turkey.
Due to media attention and the documentary, the U.S. granted them asylum and in 2009, after surviving death threats while in exile from their homeland, they came to America. Thursday night, after crossing the world, living as refugees, and fighting for their individuality, Acrassicauda has come to L.A. for the first time for the Scion Metal show. It's free with RSVP. You should go.
Acrassicauda has come a long way to rock for you.
Watch Vice Magazine's film, Heavy Metal in Baghdad.