If you haven’t gotten a chance to see the 2007 documentary Heavy Metal In Baghdad, it’s a pretty inspirational movie that should be required viewing for anyone in a band. If you think your band has problems, try not having a place to play because your rehearsal space was bombed. Or being shot because you’re wearing a metal T-shirt. The film followed the tribulations of Acrassicauda, an Iraqi band that eventually made it out of that country. While VICE, who chronicled the band for six years, played a part in their eventual relocation, their determination to use metal as a means to escape is what forms that crux of the documentary. And Acrassicauda’s performances in the film aren’t polished, or even particularly that good, but set against the backdrop of the war, the very fact that they play at all is almost revolutionary.
That’s only part of the story, however. In 2008, Acrassicauda relocated to America, and since then, have been hard at work becoming an actual band. That’s all going to culminate on March 9 of next year, when Vice Records releases Only the Dead See the End of the War. It’s obvious that the band’s worked hard at improving, and they’ve learned from the best. The four song EP was produced by Testament’s Alex Skolnick and mixed by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Hatebreed). As could be imagined, the EP’s songs are informed by their time in the war. Check out “Garden of Stones” here.
The Acrassicauda juggernaut continues with a book, Heavy Metal In Baghdad: The Story of Acrassicauda. VICE editors Andy Capper and Gabi Sifre covers the complete history of the band from its formation to their American relocation and features photographs, posters, flyers, and set lists. It’s a great companion to the film. The book’s available now, but it looks like 2010 is going to be a hell of a year for the band.