Thursday, May 27, 2010

Acrassicauda: Only the Dead See the End of the War (2010) Review

Just about anyone into metal has heard about the Iraqi thrash metal band Acrassicauda (Arabic: اكراسكودا). They were the subject of the 2007 documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad. The story of their struggle to play the music they love in a society which neither understands nor tolerates it, and in a society torn apart by war, has become a legend. It resonates with us more than Cliff Burton's death and it's more memorable than Ozzy at the Alamo.

The documentary itself ran into enough problems, so the end product was not all that high quality, despite the compelling tale told. It ends with the band having recorded a demo and giving it to the film's producers to distribute, and the band members stuck in the Purgatory of being illegal Iraqi immigrants in Syria.

The story's happy ending (or new beginning, rather) is that the band members obtained refugee status in the US and released their first EP nine years after their formation. Only the Dead See the End of the War contains four songs, and is about 21 minutes long.

The question you may be asking: Are they any good, or are they just a good story? My answer is, They are definitely good.

Their influence from early Metallica is obvious, and their relative isolation from the metal scenes of the world makes them sort of a throwback ("Garden of Stones" sounds a lot like Death, for instance). The resulting sound is surprisingly a stripped-down version of Alchemist, and at times they even incorporate some Middle Eastern influence into their music. The songs are well-written, and their obvious love of metal is readily apparent. It is lacking in polish, but that's what you would expect of any debut EP.

The Verdict: Maybe I'm being slightly generous here because this is only a debut EP, but I think it's very good, and these guys are definitely a band to watch out for. I don't think they'll ever be revolutionary in metal music, but they'll be a reliable standard. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I almost picked that up the last time I saw it. It's good to see you liked it, next time I will pick it up.