The Black Scorpion of Baghdad

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Der Spiegel runs a fascinating look (German-language link) at Iraq's only officially tolerated heavy metal band. A. Crassicauda (the Latin designation for the black scorpion, it sez here) is a five-man group that models itself on Slayer, Metallica, and Machine Head; members learned the genre through pirated CDs and videos smuggled in from Turkey and Jordan. The front man, "Bloodmaster" Walid, is the son of an Iraqi army officer.

A. Crassicauda sings in English, but reportedly sells out the concerts it stages at Baghdad's major venues. The second number at each show is an obligatory paean to the regime; the group speeds through it in two minutes. "By following the leader Saddam Hussein," it goes, "We will make them fall, we will drive them insane." When that's out of the way, the group starts doing songs ("Massacre," "Fade to Black") from a cautiously subversive repertoire.

Spiegel reporter Bernhard Zand offers this verse from the song, "The Doll," as representative of the group's veiled meanings: "I guess it's time to change the actor / I guess it's time to close this chapter / I guess it's time to go to the top / I guess it's time to say stop." For the record, the group's members wisely deny that their material is political. But then, as one of their own songs puts it, "To live, I have to lie."

Iraq's remaining literary establishment falls all over itself to praise Saddam's stupid novels; the country's leading singer of poetical verses, Kazem al-Saher, has exiled himself and is at this moment touring the U.S. But there may yet be audible dissent in downtown Baghdad, and it's driven by a heavy metal beat. Perfect.

NEXT: Cloners Against War

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  1. Black Scorpion; Black Adder. Is there a connection? Inquiring minds want to know… 🙂

  2. Does anyone know where I can get some MP3s of these guys I would love to hear them.

  3. Can anyone help to get more articles, news, photos, ANYTHING that is related to any Iraqi Heavy Band including the band A. Crassicauda.

    That would be GREAT. Peace

  4. Fuck the mp3’s, I want an album, info on how to get a hold of the band, and all info on the metal scene in that area, specifically Iraq. Man that’s so cool, and shit, I never thought it. I had an idea on jazz and knew there was rock in Iran and/or Pakistan (heard before from Iranian friend) but hot damn, death metal…this changes the whole metal scene and what outcomes could be, so bad ass, one more thing, Solitude Aeturnus rules as does Coroner and Mortification,later. Would appreciate info/comments ASAP, thanks, Joshua.

  5. Well, A-Acrassicauda will have some tracks on a 7″ record next year on France’s Tian An Men 89 Records… See also the Iraq and Iran scene reports in Maximum Rock’n’Roll fanzine, June 03 (#241) issue (www.maximumrocknroll.com)…

  6. Hello guys.

    Listen , I’m from Iraq and A. Crassicauda are my friends , Those guys are kewl BUT not the only Heavy metal band in Iraq , I’m a Bassist on another new heavy metal band comming up , Our band is Called “Semi-Death” we’ve been playing for 1 year now , Never came out on live shows really , We got like 5 self-written songs.

    About many people asking for A. Crassicauda’s album , Let me tell you something people , First of all recording an album requires some Top quality instruments and then requires some good studios to record some good album , And this is IMPOSSIBLE to be in Iraq , Our teacher recorded his album by his own using his very own Pentium 2 using a program called Cool Edit to record his album , Till now the album is completed but he just donno what to do cause he don’t have a band , He did the vocalsbass guitarrythem guitarlead guitareven drums! well he’s amazing his name is Saad Zai , He’s a god! heh , Anywayz , So what i’m saying is that it’s impossible to record an album and a heavy metal band? Well things are more complicated for us that for you guys … Me & My band are trying to make a web site and put some “shit quality” samples of our songs , But this still needs some time and money to spend some more time using the internet on internet cafes heh..

    If you’re instrested about knowning more about Heavy Metal in Iraq , Contact me by mail ( amd_hcds2003@yahoo.com)

  7. hi.
    listen this is waleed ,the blood master ,the vaoucle of acrassicauda band .
    one thing i really wonna say B4 i start writing whatever i wonna write …….??
    life is just fucking suckes .
    any way ,hay hay hay ,i just don’t now what to say .
    listen let me give you an idea about our band .
    it’s just too too fucking hard to live your life as a normal rocker here in iraq ,so imagen how can it be for ah havey metal band members ?????
    big troubles ???
    guys you just have no idea what kind of shit we’re having in here it’s just too out rages and distructive to the soul.
    it’s just like you’re feeling your damn soul .
    i don’t know i rather not say that cuz this is the first time i write for this ,cuz i find out about it by accedent can you believe that ,i never knew that people r wrting for us ,and this is just damn good .
    and by the way i really gtg now ,but just temperly till i make r own wep ,if you like you can e-mail r band throug this address .(waleed_rabiaa@yahoo.com)
    and i don’t know what to say really ,but forsure i’ll come up with something in the next time ,it’s just cuz we’re not fucking prepared for that .
    for the mean time i just wonna say something to all the rockers all around the fucking damn world ,let’s keep the metal flaming in to the darkes deepest bottoms of r burning souls ,so let the meta heal r wounded souls ,and read the thoughts byound .
    the blood master.

  8. hay ???
    for all the people who we’re asking about some recordes or mp3s or whatever to hear the band .
    it’s coming sooon ?!?
    and the thing is ,don’t give a shit to that big lauzy dirty asss ,that says ,r band not going to release an lp or it’s impossible to do that in here ??
    that’s just a bull shit ,and this guy is just a mo ther fuckr who wants to say bad shit about us and about the rockrs in here ,another thing don’t ever count him as an iraqi rocker ,he’s just ruining and humelating r image to the outside world .
    cuz the true iraqi rockers never give up no mater what is the hard situations can ever be ,and you can know that through the things we’ve done under saddam rigem ,not only us ,it’s us and all the metal godes who we’re in the fieled B4 even we we’re born ???
    and i believe i can help you to understand more about this ?????
    there’s a documentary that will be done by the coming two months ,and it’s about the history of meatl in iraq ????
    this will change all your thoughts about the rockers in here .
    anothr thing i’d like to add about this shitty ass ,they never been on stage B4 and i don’t thing they will ?????
    more about metal in irag coming soon .
    acrassicaud .

  9. i have no idea

  10. and i agree

  11. just to add, Iran had a black metal band called Abathur, i released the demo last year.

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