Non-Review – “Heavy Metal in Baghdad”

 By now, if you’re into this kind of thing you’ve probably heard of Acrassicauda, Iraq’s most famous (and possibly only, at present) heavy metal band. Heavy Metal in Baghdad is a documentary film produced by Vice magazine about the determination, drive and incredible faith in music that got these young men through the upheaval and destruction of their entire country. No doubt about it, these kids are hard, and much can be said about their struggle as refugees as outlined in the film and accompanying book.

The trouble is, the band themselves hate to be viewed through that journalistic lens, preferring to be treated as musicians first and only.  So, instead of writing about the Acrassicauda phenomenon, I listened to their music instead. Not the raw stuff played in the basements of Iraq in the film, but real original tunes recorded in the US after their escape. They are OK at best. No, that’s guilt holding me back. They’re bad.

Listening to Acrassicauda is like going to your little sister’s piano recital or an art show at the local halfway house. You are proud of what these people have achieved in the face of adversity, but you do not like it. You will pay money for it for the story behind the art, not the art itself. This, of course, drives the band berserk, as they want to sink or swim on their own. They don’t want anyone’s pity, they may never be professionals, but they are going to give it a shot. That’s the attitude that makes people like them all the more.

Go see the movie.

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One Response to “Non-Review – “Heavy Metal in Baghdad””

  1. This is how I felt about that Anvil film (not to compare their struggles, only my experience). Their music is stuck in bad 80’s hairbandia, but the lead dude is so passionate that he made me get all teary. Not that it’s ever a long walk for me to well up, but still.

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