All around the world, fans of extreme metal face judgment, ridicule, and abuse from people who don’t understand them. But it’s important to remember that in countries with strict governmental or religious rule, playing metal can be seen as a crime, one which is punishable with prison time or worse. A depressing reminder of this is the case of Arsames, a death metal band from Iran who have just been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for playing “satanic” music.
According to Metal Injection, the Mashhad-based quartet were arrested months ago. Now, it has come out that the band has been “charged with 15 years in jail for being in satanic metal band and being against the Islamic government.”
This is a shame for so many reasons–not the least of which is that these guys fucking rule.
Also interesting is that the band have been active since 2002, and have played in Armenia, Turkey, and Dubai. Which begs the question: why did the Iranian government suddenly decide that this band was a threat to them? What happened that changed their minds?
This is obviously 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?”
Everyone at The Pit wishes the members of Arsames the best, and hopes they see justice against the tyranny of religious fundamentalism.
Words by Chris Krovatin