Iraqi metal quartet Acrassicauda announced their first EP, Only The Dead See The End Of War, will come out in March 2010 on Vice Records. Back in 2007, Vice produced a documentary on the band, Heavy Metal in Baghdad. Though condescending at times, the film managed to provide a fairly human element to the consistent parade of news reports from Iraq. Despite a few issues I had with the film’s portrayal of the band*, it’s one of a couple of cultural touchstones that have managed to connect American/Western audiences with modern Islamic culture. Along with Michael Muhammad Knight’s The Taqwacores, Heavy Metal in Baghdad shows the power of “pop” culture in connecting individuals in seemingly-disparate cultures to one another through a shared love of, in this case, music. (This isn’t to say that Islam is a foreign element in Western culture, but rather, Muslims are an oft-misunderstood minority in Western culture, and these films, books and musics help bridge the gap to individuals who’s cultural understanding of Islam might be fairly absent.) Although Heavy Metal in Baghdad would hardly eclipse, say, any Twilight film in terms of current pop culture importance, it’s presence did prove to have an impact on those who experienced and were involved in the film. (Same with those who read The Taqwacores.)
Now, the band are finally set to release their debut EP, something they’ve fought for before the Vice crew discovered the band. As the lead-off single “Garden Of Stones” shows, it’ll be real easy for any metal head to pick up. Entrenched in a menacing 80’s metal physique, the song emulates Metallica ’round every nook, cranny and second of sound. Singer Faisal Mustafa channels James Hetfield with every deep-throated vocal delivery. No wonder Metallica has taken such a shine to Acrassicauda. They may be from different countries, but they speak the same language.
Acrassicauda – “
Heavy Metal in Baghdad:
*There is a way to be critical without demeaning your subjects, but there are moments in the film where the filmmakers decide to do away with a kind-hearted critique of the story’s subject.