“Our music is about our past culture, history… that they think when we growl and play fast music we are into Satanism!,” begins the statement. “The skulls on our t-shirts means the same for them as satanic musicians.”
The statement then gives a more detailed account of what happened. “We [were] arrested in 2017 when we were in our studio during rehearsal. They moved us to jail that day and [did] not [tell] our family about where we [were] for a week. Finally after nearly a month later we paid bail to come out of prison and they told us you should not work, release [or sell] your merch until your final court … and do not talk with media! Our Instagram page, official website … banned and they shot down all for a year, but we built a new Instagram again and [started] to be active until few weeks ago [when] the court called us again and they gave us 15 years [in] prison. So we had to escape from Iran.”
Last week, news broke that Arsames had been arrested and charged with being in a “satanic metal band” and “being against the Islamic government.” It had been revealed that the band had paid bail and were laying low in their own homes, though they still faced 15 years in prison.
Iran is a dangerous place to be a metal band. The Islamic country considers the genre to be “satanic” and has been known to arrest artists just for playing music. Iranian metal band Confess, who have been very vocal about their legal troubles, were arrested in 2015 for “Blasphemy; Advertising against the system; form and running an illegal and underground band and record label in the satanic “Metal & Rock” music style!; writing anti-religion & atheistic, political & anarchistic lyrics and interview with forbidden foregin radio stations.”
The band also posted a brief call to action video with even more details. “Is it a crime that we are playing metal music!?. Is it [a] crime that we are talking about Persian history?! Is it a crime that you think we are into Satanism when we have songs about Cyrus the Great and monotheism!? Is it a crime that we love music and our country?!” The video ends with the hashtag “15NotFair” and a call to share their message and support the band.
It is unknown where the members of Arsames have escaped to, though it could be detrimental to the band’s safety for that information to be revealed.