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Acrassicauda: Only the dead see the end of the war

03/05/12  ||  Cobal

Acrassicauda are four young Iraqi musicians who got to survive Hussein’s regime, war, the precarious situation of refugees, and still managed to get the attention of mainstream media such as Vice, that famous hipster-praised mag, and MTV, one of the crappiest networks ever. Those are not good references if you ask me, not at all. Truth be told, the first notice I had about these guys was – yes, you guessed – through a blog that mentioned “Heavy Metal in Baghdad”, a so-called documentary on the life and miracles of a poor band that suffered the horrors of war. Don’t get me wrong, I totally respect the fact that they didn’t disband even under fire, literally, while most pussies out there aren’t able to make ANY kind of sacrifice to pursue their dream. Acrassicauda have proven they’re tough and they’ve had hard times, that’s fo’sure, the problem is that image is abso-fucking-lutely over-exploited both in the documentary and their own only serious release, “Only the Dead See the End of the War”.

This being a double feature, I consider it appropriate to drop a few lines on the documentary itself. Believe me, if I use italics to address it, it’s because I really don’t consider a bunch of poorly edited almost weeping scenes a documentary. I mean it’s not that it’s not interesting, as a matter o’fact it’s got some action if you like, but at some point it hopelessly leads into total boredom. Let me put it this way: after purchasing it, I watched it once and a half as I fell asleep at my first attempt. ‘Tis always good to have some background on the music one listens to, though, right?

So, they’re famous, they have suffered, and they’re not Europeans nor from the US, a condition which always gives a band some level of exoticism and arouses curiosity, but, are they any good? Happily they are. As a matter of fact this four-track-EP rocks! Although it’s nothing exactly new, I’d call it a modern mixture of thrash and groove metal, as well as some Middle-Eastern folk-resembling melodies, all together creating a raw yet rich atmosphere. In my humble opinion, the best song here is “Massacre”, and its best moment is when the great guitar solo, which consists of a damn trippy folky tune, breaks in. By the by, even though vocals are OK, I’d rather not listen to the lyrics, as they again, keep on saying how terrible war is… – sigh -.

Altogether, “Only the Dead See the End of the War” is a fine release, and I won’t lie to you, it’s a rather modern approach blending both thrash and the grooviest riffs you can imagine, though the result is pretty legitimate. I actually had a good time listening to it, yet I don’t see me doing it again, at least not soon. On the other hand, including the documentary on a DVD attached to my copy is always a nice detail. As I said before, having some background on the band before listening to their stuff won’t ever hurt. Although this one (the background) in particular ain’t that good. May Acrassicauda bring together their individual talents, as well as the huge support they’ve had so far – David Ellefson and Alex Skolnick for instance – and release a full album that’s worth it very, very soon. Otherwise, they’ll simply vanish from the scene and remain in the memory of those who had the chance to listen to them as one of the bunch of bands that “never really made it, but were pretty cool”.



  • Information
  • Released: 2010
  • Label: Vice
  • Website: Acrassicauda MySpace
  • Band
  • Faisal Talal Mustafa: vocals, guitars
  • Tony Aziz Yaqoo: guitars
  • Muhammad Al Ansari: guitars
  • Firas Al-Lateef: bass
  • Marwan Hussein Riyadh: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Message From Baghdad
  • 02. Garden of Stones
  • 03. Massacre
  • 04. The Unknown