Only the Dead See the End of the War
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So you think that it's hard to keep a band together these days with constant squabbles and power struggles that feed each other's egos and keep the emotional wells full to the brim with the beginnings of countless angry solo material? Well, try living in a country in which your long hair and concert tees will get you killed and the mere existence of your heavy rock or metal band angers some sects enough to blow you, your family, and your cohorts to bits. And what of the fact that your band might even be lucky enough to play only one show every two years, in secluded locations, most ending in bomb threats or terrorist attacks before your third song is even underway? Acrassicaudia, the Iraqui heavy metal band featured in Heavy Metal from Baghdad, fled from war torn Iraq to Syria, Turkey, and finally have made it to the United States and released their first four-song EP, Only the Dead See the End of the War. Their perseverance, heart, and love for the music itself has guided them through struggles that we could only dream of and gives them a leg up against all other metal bands out there today.
Though this band has had only a handful of shows and is still relatively young to the metal scene in terms of experience and exposure, Acrassicauda proves that they can indeed hold their own in the metal genre and will have a future that will indeed be fruitful, allowing them to create, record, and perform their music live as more individuals gain the knowledge of this band. Produced by Testament's Alex Skolnick, Only the Dead See the End of the War sounds just as you would expect: a mixture of Metallica, Slayer, and at times Alice in Chains. Acrassicauda's sound most definitely shows their influences, yet gives things a new spin that is sure to blossom into a style that is by far their own as time passes. Though a great deal of metal music is constantly subgenred to death, I have say that this band's sound is just plain heavy metal in it's truest form. "Message from Baghdad" opens things up with an aggressive riff and quick tempo that sounds like something out of early 90's camp Metallica and a message that is straight up pissed off. My personal favorite, "Garden of Stones", follows with great double kick drum grooves and chunky guitar rhythms that fall into the pocket and further reinforce the half-time feels that are scattered throughout. One aspect of this track that really stands out among the other three is the strong Middle-Eastern influence that surfaces towards the end of the song with changing chord progressions, added hand percussion, and Iraqi vocals that are clean. The vocals on "Massacre" change things up in being a bit more grunge influenced than the other material on this release, sounding a great deal like early Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains.
If you have seen Heavy Metal in Baghdad or are in any way a fan of heavy music, you should go ahead and grab this album. Though nothing new or ground-breaking, the story and struggle of this band alone is worth giving them a listen. -Andrew Bryant