ACRASSICAUDA, (black scorpion) the band made famous by the internationally acclaimed, award-winning documentary, Heavy Metal in Baghdad, is often credited as being the first heavy metal group to emerge from Iraq. Its members struggled to stay alive as their country fell into bloody insurgency. Acrassicauda was born out of a basement rehearsal space in Baghdad and inspired by western bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Slipknot.
Marwan Hussein, Faisal Talal, Firas Al-Lateef and Tony Aziz, are four young Iraqi men who exude the familiar, agitated energy of the average, angry metalhead—but their passionate condition was arrived at with more authentic strife than most American metal bands can claim. Imagine carrying cans of gasoline to band practice in order to power the generators that run your instruments, then having the rehearsal studio and equipment blown up by a bomb missile. Because of its increased fame after the American regime change, the band started to receive death threats from Islamic militants who thought that the band was worshiping Satan. Due to this and the increasing violence in Baghdad, the members of the band fled, first to Syria, and then Turkey before being granted refugee status in the United States of America.
Several months, people, and filled-out forms later, the band finally arrived in New York, where they recorded the EP “Only the Dead See the End of the War” produced by Alex Skolnick & Nik Chinboukas at Spin Studios in Long Island City, and engineered by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Hatebreed, System of a Down).
In 2011, they completed their successful inaugural coast-to-coast US tour with one new member, Muhammad Al Ansari (guitar.) After the tour, Tony decided to leave the band due to family issues and moved to Virginia. Marwan Grada was brought in for regional tours, as well as opening up for Ministry in New York City. Acrassicauda is now ready and poised to record their first full-length album.
Acrassicauda ran the risk of being killed for playing Heavy Metal, and some of their fans were killed for listening to it. Their risks are very real; it is not safe for them to return to their own country. Still, they refuse to let their dreams die.
“Nobody was expecting that in Iraq heavy metal could exit…We started and we’re not gonna stop.” – Acrassicauda
Firas Abdul Razaq
Muhammad Al Ansari