Surely there is no better inspiration for aggressive, angry art than war, destruction, desperation and death.
There was one heavy metal band in Iraq, making them possibly the most brutal metal band in the world. Now they’re running for their lives. This is the start of their story. I saw it tonight. God willing, their story is not yet over.
Their name is Acrassicauda, or “Black Scorpion.” They live in Turkey now, but they started out as five guys in Baghdad, then became a foursome when their original lead singer split. Then-MTV News guy Gideon Yago did a short segment and a magazine article about them during his post-invasion trip there in 2005. Vice Magazine picked up the story and has been following the band ever since, producing the documentary linked above. I got to see it at the Alamo Drafthouse as part of an indie film promotion sponsored by Scion.
And at a 9 p.m. showing on a Thursday night, there was a line looping all the way through the Alamo lobby, and the theater was pretty much packed solid.
To put it bluntly, this is an amazing story that could only come out of reality. That these four guys braved everything to create something together, borne out of love of music foreign to their country and fueled by the frustrations of watching their home city become a war zone and their country spiral into anarchy, really spoke to me.
Best part? They’ve got a pretty good sound. They’ve got a MySpace page with four songs, three of which, as the movie shows, were recorded in a crummy little basement recording studio in Damascus, Syria, their first stop on the road out of Iraq. Visitors learned from an associate producer on the film that telling the band’s story has been more or less a labor of love for the magazine staff, and “Heavy Metal in Istanbul” might be a followup to the first film, and an album release might be possible if the guys survive long enough to wait through the arduous process of getting visas.
(Edit: Just realized “Istanbul” is a featurette now available on the latest release of the DVD, along with a bunch of other stuff. So go buy the DVD.)
I know I want to see the end of this story. Go check out the site. If they get T-shirts made, I wanna buy one.