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Heavy Metal in Baghdad, Truly Heavy

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 17, 2008 4:04PM

Heavy Metal in Baghdad's Acrassicauda

We finally saw the Heavy Metal in Baghdad documentary last night and walked away rather stunned. It follows the one and only metal band in Iraq, Acrassicauda, from just after Saddam's defeat through 2006 when they are seeking refugee status in Syria. (Currently the band is in Turkey.)

In the beginning we see a band that is hopeful yet apolitical, and that plays its music for the sheer joy of doing so. The single concert we see them allowed to play in Bagdhad -- inside a heavily fortified hotel and through intermittent power outages -- shows a band loved by its fans. Shortly thereafter the group is on the run, the situation in Iraq has descended into full-blown civil war, and the effects of the war come chillingly close to home. No longer are we buffered by news footage, or stories on interfaith conflicts; instead we see the war through the eyes of a bunch of guy just like you. They are normal people caught in an extraordinarily horrible situation. The final moments of the film will most likely shake anyone with a heart to their core.

The DVD is currently available, but we've long waited for a proper screening to hit Chicago. That time will finally come Thursday, June 19 at the Stop Smiling storefront, 1371 N Milwaukee, at 7 p.m. Make sure you don't get turned away at the door and RSVP to

Photo courtesy of VBS.TV/VICE Films