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Friday, Feb 13 2009 | 17:03 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

“Heavy Metal in Baghdad” is a feature film documentary that follows the Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda from the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to the present day. Playing heavy metal in a Muslim country has always been a difficult (if not impossible) proposition but after Saddam’s regime was toppled, there was a brief moment for the band in which real freedom seemed possible. That hope was quickly dashed as their country fell into a bloody insurgency. From 2003-2006, Iraq disintegrated around them while Acrassicauda struggled to stay together and stay alive, always refusing to let their heavy metal dreams die. Their story echoes the unspoken hopes of an entire generation of young Iraqis.

The Band

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 three 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 now resides in Turkey after living a year as refugees in Damascus, Syria. In their seven years as a band they have managed to play only six concerts in Baghdad, two 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 is proving extremely difficult for them. Acrassicauda is literally a band on the run.

The documentary “Heavy Metal in Baghdad” was directed and produced by Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi (Producer: Monica Hampton, Executive Producers: Shane Smith and Spike Jonze, Editor: Bernardo Loyola, Music by Acrassicauda)

www.heavymetalinbaghdad.com

The DVD Vice Films präsentiertHeavy Metal in Baghdad” (Vice Films) is going to be released in February 27, 2009.

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