Born out of a basement rehearsal space in Baghdad, Acrassicauda (Latin for “Black Scorpion”) is Iraq’s only heavy metal band. Tutored by music instructor and guitar virtuoso Saad “Yngwie” Say and inspired by western bands like Metallica, Slayer and Slipknot, they began writing and playing metal in 2001. They soon learned that their dream of performing live in Iraq was going to be no easy task.
Original members Firas (bass), Tony (lead guitar), Marwan (drums), Faisal (rhythm guitar) and Waleed (lead vocals) were only able to play 3 shows before the war started in 2003. Soon after, Waleed retired from the band and fled the country, leaving Faisal to fill the void of lead singer. Due to increased security precautions throughout Iraq, it became difficult to practice or even get through a show without serious problems. As the situation worsened in Baghdad they began receiving death threats from insurgent groups and religious fundamentalists accusing them of Satan-worship. Eventually, it proved impossible to find any venue that was safe to perform in.
Thanks to generous donations made on their behalf, the band now resides in Turkey after living a year as refugees in Damascus, Syria. In their seven years as a band they have managed to play only 6 concerts in Baghdad, 2 in Syria and one in Turkey. The war has all but destroyed their dream to live in peace, grow their hair long, bang their heads and play metal as loud as they want. Life in Turkey is proving extremely difficult for them. Acrassicauda is literally a band on the run.