If you haven’t gotten a chance to see the 2007 documentary Heavy Metal In Baghdad, it’s a pretty inspirational movie that should be required viewing for anyone in a band. If you think your band has problems, try not having a place to play because your rehearsal space was bombed. Or being shot because you’re wearing a metal T-shirt. The film followed the tribulations of Acrassicauda, an Iraqi band that eventually made it out of that country. While VICE, who chronicled the band for six years, played a part in their eventual relocation, their determination to use metal as a means to escape is what forms that crux of the documentary. And Acrassicauda’s performances in the film aren’t polished, or even particularly that good, but set against the backdrop of the war, the very fact that they play at all is almost revolutionary.
That’s only part of the story, however. In 2008, Acrassicauda relocated to America, and since then, have been hard at work becoming an actual band. That’s all going to culminate on March 9 of next year, when Vice Records releases Only the Dead See the End of the War. It’s obvious that the band’s worked hard at improving, and they’ve learned from the best. The four song EP was produced by Testament’s Alex Skolnick and mixed by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Hatebreed). As could be imagined, the EP’s songs are informed by their time in the war. Check out “Garden of Stones” here.
The Acrassicauda juggernaut continues with a book, Heavy Metal In Baghdad: The Story of Acrassicauda. VICE editors Andy Capper and Gabi Sifre covers the complete history of the band from its formation to their American relocation and features photographs, posters, flyers, and set lists. It’s a great companion to the film. The book’s available now, but it looks like 2010 is going to be a hell of a year for the band.
Hey guys, Winds of Plague has a new keyboard player! No, this isn’t some kind of Groundhog’s Day shit - this is the third one they’ve had in two months. Lisa Marx, who’s been the band’s keyboardist since way back in October, was apparently not able to learn the songs in time for the band’s tour, according the rumor mill and Lambgoat. Alana Potocnik, formerly of The Breathing Process and Abigail Williams, has replaced Marx.
In fact, Potocnik has something in common with Kristen Randall, who left the band in October. They both logged some time in Abigail Williams, a band that’s had three keyboardists in its four years of existence. But that’s nothing. According to Wikipedia (which is always right), Potocnik is the band’s sixth keyboardist Winds of Plague has had. What is it about Winds of Plague that makes keyboard players leave? The revolving door of keyboardists is a little ridiculousm and there’s got to be a good reason, other than the songs being too complex. Congratulations to Alana Potocnik, though. Hopefully she’ll last longer than a month, but we wouldn’t get too comfortable with the slot if we were her.
It’s a tough call as to which makes us cringe more, the Dave Matthews Band or the misery that Saturday Night Live has become over the last few years. Somehow, the show redeemed itself this past weekend with “The Mellow Show,” a skit poking fun at the light rock stylings of Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and yes, Dave Matthews. The saving grace was Matthews himself, doing a pretty solid Ozzy impersonation. He’s a good sport, if nothing else, but he might want to watch his back if he’s anywhere near Sharon.
Here’s a video from our pals at Noisecreep featuring Converge frontman Jake Bannon discussing the unfortunate (and unforeseen by site management) leak of the band’s masterful new album Axe To Fallearlier this year by a staff writer from our even bigger pals MetalSucks. Leaks almost always come from two places: press or manufacturing plants, and that’s the truth. Jake goes more in-depth about the hows, whys and reprocussions for the artist and label when these things happen. Also, Jake must be the most articulate person with neck tats of all time.
The “short list” of films being considered for Best Documentary nominations for the Academy Awards has been released, and somewhat surprisingly, Anvil! The Story Of Anvil has been left off (along with Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story) despite massive critical acclaim (and not just in the metal circles – everywhere).
It’s a shame on two levels, because I’m always for metal being presented to a larger audience in a real and honest way where it isn’t a caricature. And while I didn’t love-love-love the film like others, I thought it was a very unique look into a world unseen by not only most people, but even metal fans. It’s brutal and tough seeing a band so down on its luck and blindingly dedicated. It does have quirky Spinal Tap-ian moments, and it is uplifting and inspiring to see two dudes extremely dedicated to each other and their passion.
A word of advice if you haven’t seen it, though. Don’t be like the blindly “fuck the world” metal dudes yelling at the movie during the screening I attended. No, the guy’s sister who has supported him numerous times both morally and financially for decades and now ponders if it’s time to give up is not a “cunt”, she’s being a reasonable adult. While the film is fun and inspiring and a testament to dedication, it should also be a cautionary tale. I call it Anvil! The Story Of Why You Need To Get Out Of This Business Just Before You Become A Joke. Everyone has an expiration date, and unfortunately some don’t have the self-awareness to know theirs came a long, long time ago.
It’s certainly a must-watch for not only metal fans, but anyone who’s stayed their course after many, many failures.
Since A Perfect Circle’s box set, A Perfect Circle: Stone and Echo, sold out of it’s 2,500 copy physical run, the band is releasing the audio and video content digitally. You can hear their 20-track live album, Stone and Echo, on consequenceofsound.net before it’s out digitally on November 26th.