You can’t make this stuff up: Acrassicauda, a Saddam-era Iraqi thrash band, survived the war but lost their equipment — and the entire building they practiced in — to a missile strike. They suffered death threats and retaliation at the hands of religious fundamentalists who considered them and their music to be Satanic (it is not). When they’d finally had enough, the band fled their homeland and holed up first in Syria and then Turkey before the U.S. granted them asylum. The band lives here now. That they managed to hone their chops and even record a demo while growing up in the rock-and-roll exile of Iraq makes them seem ripe for Hollywood. Indeed, a Canadian filmmaker made Acrassicauda the subject of the documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad in 2007.
Their sound? Straight out of the thrash-metal textbook, meaning no shortage of super-technical Yngwie-flavored pentatonic scale blasts on guitar and dazzling whole-band meter shifts with those (for lack of a better descriptor) Cookie Monster vocals. Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Slipknot all figure into the gene pool of Acrassicauda’s music, which makes sense — the band is said to have learned the craft of heavy metal from listening to bootleg tapes of U.S. bands. Acrassicauda’s unwieldy moniker comes from the bastardization of Androctonus crassicauda, the name of a species of scorpion common to the deserts of Iraq.
Touring now behind their March 2010 debut EP Only the Dead See the End of the War, the Acrassicauda experience is to confront the fresh memories of the violence and destruction that the band members and their families have lived through. “All that I have known,” growls singer/guitarist Faisal Talal, “Now buried beneath the garden of stones.”
Found Face Down, Ruines OV Abaddon, and A Battle to Fight also perform.
ACRASSICAUDA: Brick by Brick, Sunday, May 29, 8 p.m. 619-275-5483. $10.