A Merciful Fate for Baghdad Metal Band


After four years of lugging Marshall half-stacks across the Middle East, the Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda, subject of the documentary "Heavy Metal in Baghdad," has arrived in the United States. The band members were granted refugee status earlier this month and settled in Elizabeth, New Jersey, presumably because it borders Newark, America's very own Baghdad. The New York Times credits Vice magazine with lobbying on their behalf:

Acrassicauda's primary advocate has been Vice, the Brooklyn-based magazine and media company that made "Heavy Metal in Baghdad." Vice is better known for wisecracking pop-culture commentary than humanitarian aid, but it has been working tirelessly on the band's behalf for a year and a half.

Vice tried to help resettle the members to Canada and Germany, and kept them afloat with cash—as much as $40,000 paid from Vice's own coffers, sponsors and donations collected online, according to Suroosh Alvi, a founder of the company and one of the directors of the film.

And what better way to welcome the guys to New Jersey than giving them backstage passes to a Metallica concert:

And on Sunday night, two days after the last of the band's four members was resettled in the United States, they enjoyed what any metal fan would have to call heaven: bearhugs and "Wow, dude" heart-to-hearts backstage with Metallica at the Prudential Center in Newark. It probably wasn't necessary for James Hetfield, Metallica's lead singer, to surprise them after the show by handing over one of his guitars, a black ESP, and signing it "Welcome to America"; their minds were already blown.

Pretty genius video of Acrassicaudu meeting their metal heroes: