Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)
(Click on heading to visit official website of 'Heavy Metal In Baghdad' movie.) Style: thrash, heavy metal Label: Vice Records Year: 2010 Home: Baghdad, Iraq
Members: Faisal Talal Mustafa ~ vocals/rhythm guitar Tony Aziz Yaqoo ~ lead guitar Firas Al-Lateef ~ bass Marwan Hussain Riyadh ~ drums
Immediately the ears are bombarded with a fierce thrash attack that jumps right out of the door with distorted guitars, fast solos & an incredibly heavy rhythm section behind it all. Its in additional listens that one really picks up on the attractiveness of the choppy rhythms that bring early Soundgarden to mind. Though, listeners expecting something musically different than the normal thrash because of the country of origin will largely be disappointed outside of a little glimmer of bongos & religious cries at the end of "Garden Of Stones". This is metal right out of the American mold with essentially little variation, the lyrics are even in English except for a spoken word introduction in "Massacre", demonstrating the international influence of thrash for those that might think otherwise of this metal sub-division. But, this isn't any old band imitating American thrash but the first heavy metal group to emerge from Iraq, formed under the regime of Saddam Hussein. To stay somewhat unmolested they even wrote a song praising Saddam ... which the lyrics to this American produced album show was only a PR move, to put it lightly. Though, for whatever good it did they not just adopted the American metal sound but also the reputation receiving death threats from Islamic militants who thought they worshipped Satan. Today the members of the band are refugees in the U.S. having been driven from their homeland, plus Syria & Turkey. Formed in 2001 this EP is essentially their debut as previous releases were no more than demos unofficial in glimmers were the law allowed ... such as being featured in the ground-breaking movie Heavy Metal In Baghdad. After the film their music was found attractive enough by Testament/Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Alex Skolnick to offer his services as their producer. A minor problem with this release is that one really wants to hear the lyrics knowing that however typical metal they may sound there's real messages of personal torment & strife below the cliches. The opening track "Message From Baghdad" features the least intresting & most difficult to discern singing of the four tracks, though it also features some of the heaviest & choppiest riffs. Things get more clear in the following songs where lines like "They've got the power to control my fate/I'd rather die then disintegrate ... just set me free & let me breathe" from "Message", with an echoy guitar solo that sounds influenced by Alex Skolnick's style & an attractive duel vocal style, are anything but cliched lines. A real highlight of the album is the six minute "The Unknown" that closes the album with the fastest & wildest riffs, & most Soundgarden-like, with its cries of "living in a world of hate" & a hypnotic flavor under all of it.