Heavy metal music to many is about expressing oneself and, as a platform, allows anyone to express how they feel in any way they please.
However, in few countries, Metal as a genre is banned, either for its sometimes-blasphemous content, or for how it can affect the minds of others influencing rebellion.
‘’15 NOT FAIR’’ say ‘Arsames,’ an Iranian death metal band hailing from Mashhad, the second most populated city of Iran.
The band has been deemed ‘satanic’ and thus, in 2017, Vocalist Ali Madarshahi, bassist Saeed Mokari and Drummer Soroush Kheradmand where arrested and then sent to Vakilabad Prison. Since then, the band were sentenced to 15 years in prison and since have fled the country, like Confess, another band who were sentenced to 141/2 years and their vocalist sentenced to 74 lashings, who also had to flee the country.
After their second arrest, they released a video calling out the Iranian government:
Arsames are musicians who have used their artform to talk about history in a beautiful, often melodic way. The way in which they have been treated by the Iranian government is a testament to history itself and shows the power of a freethinking human against their oppressors. Arsames make music themed around history, and the Persian empires, songs like ‘Cyrus the Great’ talk of the Persian king Cyrus the great who founded the first Persian Empire solidifying himself as a prominent figure in civilisation as a concept. Seeing the evidence and given concept of the band, the Iranian government have persecuted their own history, instead of real justice.
The idea of art being supressed, Satanism or no, is becoming dystopian. People are trying to separate themselves from tradition and become their own individuals. Arsames and Confess are both bands who represent what the genre represented when it was being born with Judas Priest and Black Sabbath creating music that challenged norms. Music cannot harm, however it can inspire creativity and freedom, something any government should embrace.
To follow the band and what they are doing after fleeing Iran a link to their band camp can be found below.