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Acrassicauda

Acrassicauda Photo

Band Photo: Acrassicauda (?)

Formed: 2000
From: Iraq
Last Known Status: Active

Latest Acrassicauda News

Below is our complete Acrassicauda news coverage, including columns and articles pertaining to the band. Some articles listed may be indirectly related, such as side projects of the band members, etc.

Note: We began associating news directly with bands in late 2003. Therefore, earlier band news may not be listed on this page.

Acrassicauda Announces Album, Tour

Acrassicauda, the band starring in the critically-acclaimed Vice documentary “Heavy Metal in Bagdad,” is rising again to wield a new full-length album and tour.

While performing across the United State, Acrassicauda will rally fans for support via the “We’re not gonna stop” Kickstarter campaign.

Al Jorgensen of Ministry was originally scheduled to record and produce Acrassicauda’s new album, but due to the timing of the band’s release Acrassicauda will instead work again with Nik Chinboukas at Spin Studio in Long Island City, NY.

Nik Chinboukas, along with Alex Skolnick of Testament, produced the band's first EP. Recording for the album is scheduled for November/December 2013. More...

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Video Interview with Acrassicauda Posted Online

Jamie at HardRockChick.com spoke with Faisal and Firas of Acrassicauda a couple days before the band embarked on the second leg of their U.S. tour. They talked about their favorite road food, progress on their upcoming album, and how they really need to get a new drum set. Check it out below:

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Acrassicauda Announces More U.S. Shows

Iraqi thrash metal band Acrassicauda has announced a few more U.S. shows out west. Here are the latest:

7/01/11 San Francisco, CA @ COCOMA
7/7/11 Los Angeles @ The Whiskey A Go-Go!
7/9/11 Las Vegas, NV @ The BUNKHOUSE
7/17/11 Eugene, OR
7/18/11 Portland, OR
7/23/11 Boise, ID
7/26/11 Denver, CO
7/29/11 El Paso, TX
7/30/11 Albuquerque, NM

The band completed a longer run of U.S. tour dates back in May.

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Acrassicauda Announces U.S. Tour Dates

Iraqi thrash metal band, and star of the documentary "Heavy Metal In Baghdad," Acrassicauda has announced that the group will be embarking on a tour of the United States this May. The band has also revealed that writing for new material will begin shortly.

The tour dates are as follows:

May 12th - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - TBA
May 13th - Baltimore, Maryland - TBA
May 14th - Cleveland, Ohio - TBA
May 15th - Detroit, Michigan - TBA
May 16th - Columbia, Ohio - TBA
May 19th - Chicago, Illinois - TBA
May 20th - St. Louis, Missouri - Fubars
May 21st - Springfield, Missouri - TBA
May 22nd - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - Bricktown
May 23rd - Dallas, Texas - Trees
May 24th - Austin, Texas - Red 7
May 27th - El Paso, Texas - The House Of Rock Live
May 28th - Tucson, Arizona - Club DV8
May 29th - San Diego, California - Brick By Brick

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Watch Heavy Metal Parking Lot on Hulu for Free

Technology has come a long way in recent years when it comes to streaming full-length feature films to your computer and/or television. While Netflix has a massive user base, Hulu is probably the best free service out there. Got some free time this weekend? They are now carrying two metal gems for free streaming:

Heavy Metal Parking Lot:

Heavy Metal in Baghdad - Follow the Iraqi band Acrassicauda through their trials and tribulations, as they seek to merely survive and make metal music:

As an added bonus, they have season 1 of "Hard N Heavy" online. Here's the first episode, entitled "Raw." More...

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Acrassicauda Cancels New York Shows

Acrassicauda has issued the following statement about canceling New York shows:

"After conversations with the Nuclear Assault team it is clear that they are looking to streamline their shows on the current run and asking certain support and opening acts to modify their involvement at the shows to help offset many of the expenses inherent with the touring element of their business. We have max respect for N.A.'s amazing support of regional and national bands in support slots, yet, at this time, we decided to step aside from the current tour cycle and let Nuclear Assault continue their sonic mayhem and kick a lot of ass - however, it will be just without us aboard for the current run of gigs.

"Although this will be disappointing to a lot of our fans we have decided to respect where Nuclear Assault is coming from and ask that anyone seeking a great evening of metal be ready to kick it with the N.A. guys. - With max respect and respect for the brotherhood of METAL: Acrassicauda..."

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Acrassicauda Posts "Our Long Story Short" Video

Acrassicauda's long awaited debut, "Only The Dead See The End Of The War," comes out this Tuesday, March 9. You can pre-order it now at the VICE Records store. You can still download the song "Garden of Stones" off the EP free from the label.

The band has released a new video, "Our Long Story Short," which summarizes their journey from Iraq to the creation of their EP in the United States finell. Check out the video below, and if you have not see the full-length feature documentary "Heavy Metal In Baghdad," it is available on DVD everywhere and even streaming online via Netflix.

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Acrassicauda Reveals New Music Video Online

Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda has unleashed a music video for "Garden of Stones," also the first track released from their upcoming EP, "Only the Dead See the End of the War." Watch the video below:

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Acrassicauda Offering Free MP3 Download

Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda, who were the subject of the documentary "Heavy Metal in Baghdad" and currently reside in the United States, have announced they will be releasing their new EP "Only The Dead See The End Of The War" on March 9th, 2010. Acrassicauda are currently offering the song "Garden Of Stones" from the EP as a free MP3 download. The song can be found at this location.

"Only The Dead See The End Of The War" was recorded at Spin Studios in Long Island City, NY with Nik Chinboukas. Alex Skolnick of Testament assisted the band with production and Josh Wilbur mixed the EP.

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Headline News

Acrassicauda Granted Refugee Status In U.S.

According to msnbc.msn.com, Iraq based metal band Acrassicauda have come to the United States and been granted refugee status. The band was recently the subject of the documentary "Heavy Metal In Baghdad." Excerpts from the MSNBC article are below:

"Drummer Marwan Riyadh, 24, arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday, where he was greeted by band mates Firas al-Lateef, 27, and Faisal Talal, 25. Fellow member Tony Aziz, 30, was visiting family in Detroit.

"The New York Times reported that the group met idols Metallica on Sunday after a concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. James Hetfield, Metallica's lead singer, presented them with a guitar signed "Welcome to America."

"The Times said the U.S. government has granted all four members of Acrassicauda refugee status, which allows them to apply for green cards in a year."

Read the full article at msnbc.msn.com.

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Watch "Heavy Metal In Baghdad" And More Online

Jaman.com now has the documentary "Heavy Metal in Baghdad" as well as a bonus feature "Heavy Metal in Istanbul" (since Acrassicauda has since fled to Turkey) and other live clips.

"Heavy Metal In Baghdad" chronicles the Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda's challenges living and performing as a band in war-torn Iraq and under the prior dictatorship, as well as their flight to Syria and recording of their first proper songs.

New users can view these for free by registering with the site. Existing users can digitally "rent" the feature video for $1.99 with all of the other bonus content being free.

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Mastodon, Neurosis Discuss Heavy Metal In Baghdad

After tomorrow, Middle Eastern relations will never be the same. No, the U.S. military is not gonna carpetbomb Iran (at least, we don’t think they will), there’s still no end in sight for soldiers stationed in Iraq and Israel’s definitely not signing a peace treaty with the Palestinians. Still, it will be a historic day for fans of Iraqi heavy metal since the film “Heavy Metal in Baghdad” will go on sale. An insightful, funny and emotional documentary film that follows the Iraqi band Acrassicauda from the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to the present day, “Heavy Metal in Baghdad” is both a testament to endurance and an affirmation of the strength of the human spirit.

“Heavy Metal in Baghdad” premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival and was an official selection of the 2008 SXSW Film Festival, the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival and was screened at the 2008 New York Underground Film Festival. The movie was hailed by Newsweek, The LA Times and the New York Times, which said it was, “both a stirring testament to the plight of cultural expression in Baghdad and a striking report on the refugee scene in Syria” and added “this rock-doc, like no other, electrifies its genre and redefines headbanging as an act of hard-core courage.”

Videos of members of Mastodon and Neurosis discussing the film can be viewed here.

You can view the trailer for "Heavy Metal In Baghdad" below. More...

Read the full article at Headbanger's Blog.

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Troubles Continue For Acrassicauda

With slam-dancing and head-banging frowned upon, life was never easy for the only heavy metal band in Baghdad.

In the days of Saddam Hussein, Acrassicauda were forced to write a thrash song about the Iraqi dictator and include it in their set. After the US invasion, a bomb blew apart their rehearsal space. And as the country imploded in a maelstrom of sectarian violence and religious militants starting sending members of the group death threats, the band had to flee abroad.

For just over a year, the four metal-heads have been on the run, escaping first to Damascus, then moving on to Istanbul. However, with just days left on their Turkish visas, they find themselves confronting the terrifying prospect of having to return home. "Where would we go back to? It's too dangerous. We are receiving daily messages: this person got killed, that person got kidnapped. It's happening every day," the drummer, Marwan Reyad, said in a telephone interview from Turkey. "I keep remembering what my father, who's half-paralysed, said to me before I left – 'I do not want to bury you, a father should go to the grave before his son, so just go, leave and concentrate on staying alive.'"

Iraq today, according to the band, is like the cover of the Iron Maiden album, Death On The Road. The sleeve shows wild-eyed horses careering along through a bloody-red landscape, pulling the skull-laden carriage of a cloaked and scythe-wielding Grim Reaper behind them. The irony that the apocalyptic visions of one of the Western bands that dominated the heavy metal scene in his youth, should now conjure so accurately the Iraq of his adulthood is not lost on Reyad. Neither is the fact that the chorus of one of the album's tracks parrots his father's advice: "Run to the hills, run for your lives. Run to the hills, run for your lives."

Reyad and the other band members – Firas Al-Lateef, Tony Aziz and Faisal Talal – are holed up in an apartment, the wood-burning stove and the grandmotherly floral wallpaper something of an anomaly with their on-stage image. They are living off donations from the global metal-head community, and trying to plan their next move. With tensions rising in Turkey over Kurdish rebels near the Iraq border, it is not the ideal time to be an Iraqi in Istanbul, never mind the fact that their visas are about to expire.

Musically, times are tough too. Acrassicauda's sum total of musical equipment at the moment is an acoustic guitar they managed to smuggle out of Baghdad. "We're all fighting over this poor one guitar," Reyad chuckled. "As for drumming, I try to practise with whatever I can lay my hands on, metal pipes whatever, and in the meantime, I try to keep my mind busy writing lyrics."

For the 23-year-old – the band's youngest member and its chief songwriter – the screeching guitars, crashing drums and ranting vocals that characterise heavy metal make it the perfect medium to say what he wants to say. "Heavy metal is the only style that really expresses what we have gone through and what we're going through, the anger, the misery, the frustration," he explained. "Nobody was expecting that in Iraq heavy metal could exist. But we started it and we're not going to stop."

He shares some of the lyrics he has recently written for a track called "Message from Baghdad". But, on paper at least, they seem melancholic, and you struggle to imagine them after the thrash treatment. "As I grew bonded to my fate/Rewinding wounded memories that I gained/So weak, I can hardly breathe/Sick of their lies, tired of deceit/Is it the gods' will or just a lie? People live, and others die," goes one of the verses. Perhaps this new tone is a product of the weariness Reyad says he feels in exile.

"I have been writing a lot just now. The two main subjects in my mind now are war and the leftovers of war, the ruins and wounds it leaves and how it has created this lost generation," Reyad says. "It's so dark and gloomy though. I grew 20 years older in the past two years. I look and try to find a point of hope but it's so hard, with things so dark, to find a light."

It's a far cry from the group's Saddam-era nationalistic offering "Youth of Iraq" which railed: "Following our leader Saddam Hussein/We'll make them fall/We'll drive them insane." Reyad is quick to distance himself from that work, saying he was still a teenager. The track was duly composed when authorities suggested that if the band wanted permission for a gig, they might like to include a song about the president in their playlist. Now, he says, he eschews religion and politics in the band's repertoire.

Acrassicauda, whose name has Latin roots and roughly translates as "Black Scorpion", got together in 2001 but their love of heavy metal dates back to when they were younger. As the rest of the country grappled with the Iran-Iraq war in the Eighties and then the Gulf War of the early Nineties, they would scrabble around on the streets of Baghdad, trying to track down the latest bootleg records from heavy-metal giants such as Metallica, Slipknot and Slayer. "We would buy whatever rock we could lay our hands on and devour it," Reyad recalls. "Others were into pop music, but it was all about love and slushy stuff and we didn't have time for all that stuff. I had to help my family as the economy was so bad and heavy metal spoke to me more directly."

In the two years between the band forming and the fall of Saddam, Acrassicauda managed three gigs, including one at the concert hall usually reserved for the Iraqi National Orchestra. Instead of Baghdad's suave and sophisticated elite flocking for a evening of musical entertainment, more than 500 metal nuts slam-danced the night away.

Read the full article at The Belfast Telegraph.

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Acrassicauda Seeks Safe Haven To Pursue Metal

Jam! Showbiz reports: Vice co-founder Suroosh Alvi, whose record label is home to Bloc Party, Chromeo, The Streets, The Black Lips, and Panthers, plans to get Iraqi metal band Acrassicauda into a state-of-the-art recording studio, then onto Ozzfest 2008 — but first he has to help get them out of danger and to a safe country.

“If we can get in trouble for this, then so be it,” says Alvi, who has followed his convictions since starting the edgy counter-culture magazine, Vice, in 1996 out of Montreal.

Acrassicauda — dubbed “Iraq’s only heavy metal band” because it is the only one known to have performed on a stage — is the subject of Vice Films’ moving documentary “Heavy Metal In Baghdad,” co-directed by Alvi and fellow Torontonian Eddy Moretti, and executive produced by Academy Award-winning director Spike Jonze (“Adaptation,” “Being John Malkovich”). Right now, the band members are living in Damascus, Syria, where the government has refused to renew their visas.

“They’re going to start kicking Iraqis back and their visas are expiring in the middle of October,” says Alvi, who is based in New York, but traveled to Iraq and Syria.

Vice had covered their story — from surreptitiously rockin’ out in Baghdad to attempting to start over in Damascus — through a series of filmed segments on VBS.tv, Vice’s Internet television channel whose creative director is Jonze. The full-length documentary recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, but things have taken a turn for the worse for Acrassicauda and Alvi and Moretti have started a fundraising campaign to help out these guys they now consider friends.

As the band wrote early this month in a blog on www.heavymetalinbaghdad.com, “We have been denied the right to be there in the film festival of Toronto in Canada for many reasons, as they said in the Canadian embassy for the second time, and as many of you heard that we are not able to perform or to play our music any more as a band all together for a lot of reasons. Plus there is no way to make living so after all there is no chance other than going back to Iraq where the chances of staying alive there are zero%.”

Alvi says that since the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. has let in less than 500 Iraqi refugees and Canada half that amount, while Syria has welcomed more than a million and Jordan some 400,000.

Alvi and Moretti have made it their mission to raise $20,000 to get singer Faisal; bassist Firas, along with his wife and child; guitarist Tony; and drummer Marwan (their surnames have been withheld by request) to a safe neighbouring country, until they figure out the next step. They have raised $8000 to date.

Ultimately, Alvi would like to bring them to North America, where they can realize their dream of playing heavy metal. But how does Acrassicauda measure up? Could they get a recording contract were they from the West? In “Heavy Metal In Baghdad,” we see their rehearsals and their live show, and even the results of an impromptu recording session in Syria, but it’s hard to tell if the snippets we hear of the actual original songs (such as “Massacre,” “The Orphan Child,” “Between The Ashes” and “Underworld”) are any good.

“Well, in my opinion, what this band needs is a month — a month to practice with normal equipment in a normal environment, what we consider to be the normal playing field for bands,” says Alvi. “And if they have that month, then they are good to go. They will be a great metal band, and not be a band that will be considered pretty good for Iraqi refugees living in Syria. And I think that’s what they want more than anything else.”

The article goes on to detail some of Acrassicauda's experiences playing metal in Iraq and under former dictator Saddam Husein.

Read the full article at Jam! Showbiz.

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VBS.tv Posts Heavy Metal Baghdad Series Online

VBS.tv has posted a moving three-part series called Heavy Metal Baghdad. It is a story about a group of guys and what they have to go through in a war torn country to play in a band. The first segment was about sneaking into Iraq for the story, followed by the second segment which was about said metal band Acrassicauda, and what they have to go through living in Iraq as metal heads.

In the third installment, the band has united in Damascus, Syria and play a reunion concert. The VBS.tv staff went to the show, hung out with them, and then recorded a demo with the band.

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Acrassicauda Flee Iraq?

Popbitch.com hears that the Iraqi metal band Acrassicauda have fled to Jordan after threats by radical Islamists in Iraq, prompting the website to remark, "So US and UK: well done for the new, free, liberal Iraq."

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Acrassicauda Can't Land Gigs In War-Torn Iraq

The Wall Street Journal has published an article spotlighting what may be Iraq's only heavy metal band, ACRASSICAUDA, as they learn the difficulties of reviving culture and entertainment in a society ripped apart by war. A short excerpt from the article, which appears in the WSJ's August 17 edition, follows:

"When ACRASSICAUDA ripped into a furious version of METALLICA's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' at a recent concert, dozens of fans rushed the stage, jerked their heads to the music and slam-danced.

"Midway through the set, a portly club official took the stage and ordered the crowd to sit down. The band ignored him and kept playing, and around 50 of the roughly 200 fans remained standing. The official ended the concert and angrily escorted the band off the stage. Faisal Talal, the band's singer and rhythm guitarist, shouted a string of profanities, drawing cheers from the crowd.

"It was a classic moment of rock 'n' roll rebellion, but such gestures come at a high price in Iraq. The venues that ACRASSICAUDA — which may be Iraq's only heavy-metal band — played before the war are now government compounds or off-limits because of street crime. The staid Iraqi Hunting Club, which hosted the aborted concert, says the band won't be allowed back. The group hasn't found a new venue.

"'It's never been harder for us to play our music, but there's also never been so much of a need for it,' says Mr. Talal, 21 years old. 'There's a lot to be angry about these days, and we want to give people a way to get that out.'"

The entire article is available online to The Wall Street Journal subscribers at this location.

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Iraqi Metal Band Acrassicauda Play Baghdad

Members of the Iraqi rock band Acrassicauda play heavy metal music on Monday (January 5) in Baghdad, Iraq. The band, comprised of young Iraqis and heavily influenced by American heavy metal bands, played at a Baghdad social hall and attracted around 100 young Iraqis to an afternoon of loud amplified rock music. Check out pictures from GettyImages.

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