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Iraqi Heavy Metal Band Asks for Help as They Fight to Survive

September 21, 2007 11:17 AM ET

When Rock Daily reported on the stirring Spike Jonze-produced documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad as part of our Toronto International Film Festival coverage, we were told the bandmembers' situation was dire. Now new information has emerged about Acrassicauda, Iraq's only heavy-metal band, and their fight to survive. The group, which formed in 2001 and was influenced by Metallica, Slayer and Slipknot, almost immediately began receiving death threats from fundamentalists who called their music Satantic -- playing in public became almost impossible, and even practicing was dangerous. Like approximately two million other Iraqis, they fled their home country and became war refugees in Syria, but as of October 10th, their visas expire -- if they return home, they will almost certainly die. Now the filmmakers who documented their struggle in the film are asking for help raising money to relocate the band someplace safer (they're not disclosing where for fear of endangering the band further). For more information and instructions on how to donate, check out the movie's Web site.

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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