Iraqi heavy metal band gains refugee status and comes to America

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June 11, 2009 by The Mormon Worker

There was finally some good news from the Middle East this last week. The New York Times reported that the Iraqi heavy metal band “Acrassicouda” finally made it to the US as refugees, and were able to go to a Metallica concert and hang out back stage with Metallica lead man James Hetfield. Acrassicouda was featured in a great documentary entitled “Heavy Metal in Baghdad” which chronicles the difficulties the band had in trying to play metal in Iraq, both before the war (having to sing songs praising Saddam Hussein), and after (having the building in which they rented a practice space destroyed by a US missile, along with all their music gear; worrying about Islamists threatening them for having long hair and playing “devil” music; living with the fear of bombings and death squads). The members of the band are from an area of Baghdad called Karrada, which is where I lived when I was working for a human rights group in Baghdad. The documentary is the best depiction I’ve seen of what life is really like for regular Iraqi citizens living through the war, so even if you aren’t a fan of heavy metal, its definitely a great film to watch. Anyway, reading about them getting to hang out with Metallica literally made me cry.

Check out the NYT article here:

Check out the website for the film here:



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