There's nothing like a little heavy metal music to rip up a beautiful spring day. For many people, though, "heavy metal" represents much more than a genre of music, it's an enjoyable way of life. But if you lived in Iraq in recent years and were a member of the country's only heavy metal band, then the consequences could be deadly.
"The mere wearing of a Metallica t-shirt, or growing their hair long, or even wearing a goatee, could mark them for harrasment, imprisonment, or death," wrote Kim Voynar in her review of Heavy Metal in Baghdad. "Filmmakers Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi follow the band from 2003-2006, capturing the band's hopes, dreams, and attempts to keep the band together amidst mortar fire, car bombs, and the ever-growing threat of persecution for embodying Western ideals through their music."
Even though I have no natural affection for heavy metal music, it's such a fascinating story that I got caught up with the band members, as well as the filmmakers who took genuine risks to capture what was happening. As Kim Voynar wrote: "What's more important about this film is the truth that is captured here; the members of Acrassicauda are, in a way, representative of many young Iraqis who just want peace and freedom. This is the face of young Muslims that America needs to see."
The documentary had its U.S. premiere at SXSW last year, and is now available for free streaming at SnagFilms. We've embedded it below for your convenience. Please note that it's NSFW due to language.