While every independent musician struggles to get themselves heard and to gain respect, most have not faced the amount of resistance that Iraqi thrash metal band Acrassicauda have faced. How many bands have received death threats from Islamic militants or had their practice space and all their equipment destroyed by a bomb? How many have been forced to flee their homeland for fear of their lives or forced to ban headbanging at their gigs because of its similarities to the head movements of orthodox Jews? These are just a few of the hurdles that Acrassicauda have had to overcome in their ten year career.
Formed in Baghdad under the regime of Saddam Hussein, Acrassicauda are often credited as being the first heavy metal band from Iraq. The group received international attention when they became the subject of Vice Magazine‘s feature-length documentary “Heavy Metal in Baghdad” which follows the group from their hometown of Baghdad into Syria, where they were forced to flee due to increasing violence in Baghdad, and to Turkey where they fled after the Syrian government declined to extend their visas. The band was eventually, through the help of the good people at Vice Magazine, granted refugee status in the United States.
Since then they’ve met their idols Metallica who presented the band with one of lead singer/guitarist James Hetfield’s guitars, they’ve had a record produced by Alex Skolnick of Testament and were featured in the Scion Rock Fest alongside Cannibal Corpse, Voivod and other notable metal acts. That’s a long way from playing a Baghdad hotel under high security while the Iraq War raged outside.
The band will be playing in Los Angeles at the legendary Whiskey A Go Go this Thursday, July 7 and at The Bunkhouse in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 9 as part of their first ever US tour. This is a momentous occasion for a band that has overcome unbelievable obstacles. Get your tickets for Los Angeles here and for Vegas here. Go to the shows and headbang ’til it hurts for these guys. If anyone deserves it, it’s Acrassicauda.