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DESCRIPTION: Acrassicauda is an Iraqi thrash metal band who now reside in the US after receiving death threats for the music they play.


ACTIVITY PERIOD: 2001 - Current

MUSIC GENRE: Thrash Metal


RECORD COMPANIES / LABELS (Current & Past): Vice Records



Born out of a basement rehearsal space in Baghdad, Acrassicauda (Latin for “Black Scorpion”) is Iraq’s only heavy metal band. Tutored by music instructor and guitar virtuoso Saad “Yngwie” Say and inspired by western bands like Metallica, Slayer and Slipknot, they began writing and playing metal in 2001. They soon learned that their dream of performing live in Iraq was going to be no easy task.

Original members Firas (bass), Tony (lead guitar), Marwan (drums), Faisal (rhythm guitar) and Waleed (lead vocals) were only able to play 3 shows before the war started in 2003. Soon after, Waleed retired from the band and fled the country, leaving Faisal to fill the void of lead singer. Due to increased security precautions throughout Iraq, it became difficult to practice or even get through a show without serious problems. As the situation worsened in Baghdad they began receiving death threats from insurgent groups and religious fundamentalists accusing them of Satan-worship. Eventually, it proved impossible to find any venue that was safe to perform in.

Thanks to generous donations made on their behalf, the band resided in Turkey for a while after living a year as refugees in Damascus, Syria. In their seven years as a band (prior to arriving in the USA) they have managed to play only 6 concerts in Baghdad, 2 in Syria and one in Turkey. The war has all but destroyed their dream to live in peace, grow their hair long, bang their heads and play metal as loud as they want. Life in Turkey was proving extremely difficult for them and Acrassicauda was literally a band on the run.

While on the move, Vice magazine tried to resettle the members in Canada and Germany while also providing money from the Vice corporation. Some $40,000 from Vice sponsors and donations collected online helped out with living expenses of the four band members, according to Suroosh Alvi, one of the founders of Vice and director of the film profiling Acrassicauda. Alvi went on to say, “We had outed them and endangered their lives. They were receiving threats from Iraq while they were in Syria. We had a responsibility.” It was with Vice's help that the band was able to use a Syrian recording studio to record three tracks for a demo recording that included “Between the Ashes” and “Massacre.” Turkish musicians also lent the band a fully equipped recording studio after hearing of the band's plight while in their country.

After applying for asylum, the United States government granted the band refugee status, which allows it to apply for green cards after one year. Tony, Faisal, and Firas went first. Tony went to Michigan to handle some family business and started living there. Faisal and Firas settled into their new lives in New Jersey. A humanitarian relief and refugee resettlement agency, International Rescue Committee, placed them in an apartment in the town of Elizabeth.

Then, in the early morning hours of January 30, 2009, Marwan arrived. On the band's second day in the United States, they were able to watch Metallica at the Prudential Center in Newark. Each band member met the group backstage and James Hetfield, Metallica’s lead singer, presented the band members with one of his guitars, a black ESP, after signing it Welcome to America. The Metallica concert was the band's second-ever stadium concert—the first being the band Testament, which the band saw a few months earlier in Turkey.

The band's first officially released album, Only the Dead See the End of the War, is a four-song EP Released on Vice Records on March 9, 2010. It was produced by Alex Skolnick of Testament at Spin Studio in Astoria, Queens. Acrassicauda followed the release up with a performance with Cannibal Corpse, Voivod, and other metal bands at the Scion Rock Fest in Columbus, Ohio, on March 13.

In July 2011, Acrassicauda embarked on its 2011 "Make it or Break it" tour. In addition to more touring, the band plans to complete recording of their first full-length LP in 2012.

Source: Band's web site bio & Wikipedia article


Music Video by Acrassicauda - 'Garden of Stones'

Trailer for the Rockumentary Film: 'Heavy Metal in Baghdad'

Full Doco links…


Parent Category Page Links: Music Artists / Outfits - Iraq

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