Earlier this month, we reported that Iranian death metal band Arsames had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for playing death metal. Now, the band have apparently fled their home country in order to escape this ridiculous and unjust punishment.
Arsames were originally sentenced to 15 years in prison for “being in satanic metal band and being against the Islamic government.” But in a statement to Loudwire, the band said, “Our music is about our past culture, history… that they think when we growl and play fast music we are into Satanism! The skulls on our t-shirts means the same for them as satanic musicians.”
“We [were] arrested in 2017 when we were in our studio during rehearsal. They moved us to jail that day and [did] not [tell] our family about where we [were] for a week. Finally after nearly a month later we paid bail to come out of prison and they told us you should not work, release [or sell] your merch until your final court … and do not talk with media! Our Instagram page, official website … banned and they shot down all for a year, but we built a new Instagram again and [started] to be active until few weeks ago [when] the court called us again and they gave us 15 years [in] prison. So we had to escape from Iran.”
The band also shared this video pleading their case:
Obviously, it’s good that Arsames left Iran, though it’s a huge bummer that they had to flee their homeland. That said, the band’s punishment was absolutely ridiculous, and we hope they never have to serve a day in prison for making rad art for metalheads to enjoy.
This is not the first time the Iranian government persecuted a death metal band for doing nothing more than playing the music they love. In 2015 the band Confess were forced to flee to Norway after its members were arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison and 74 lashes (!!!) for performing death metal music.
“My lawyer called me after the announcement of appeal and said, ‘Guess what!? They turned your six years to 12 and a half for insulting the president and supreme leader, disturbing public views on the regime through you music,’” Confess frontman Nikhan Khosravi told Kerrang! last year. “But that 74 lashes as the cherry on the top was that Islamic part! It was actually a message to the rest [of Iran] that this is what happens if you confront our propaganda! But really? Lashes?”
Words by Chris Krovatin