Brooklyn-based Acrassicauda, a metal band originally formed in Iraq and featured in the 2007 documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad, is hosting a benefit at the Knitting Factory Sunday to support immigrant resettlement programs in Brooklyn. The 6:00 p.m. all-ages show is free to attend, donations are encouraged.
Speaking with Billboard about the decision to conduct the benefit, the typically apolitical band says it was sparked by President Trump’s executive order calling for a travel ban from seven majority Muslim countries. Drummer Marwan M tells the magazine:
We dodged that conversation because of everything we went through growing up in Iraq. But what’s going on here is idiotic and making us sick to our stomachs. We decided that we can’t pretend nothing is happening. This country is built on immigration and the idea of diverse cultures united. So many Americans are people who have fled their countries for one reason or another and built a home here. And this country has benefited from them.
The Sunday show features special guests Alex Skolnick of Testament – who produced Acrassicauda’s debut EP, Only the Dead See the End of the War – and Jay Weinberg of Slipknot, along with the bands I Killya, Sun & Flesh, Robots and Monsters and Signals of Bedlam.
Original Acrassicauda members, drummer Marwan and guitarist/vocalist Faisal Talal, with assistance from members of Staten Island band Sicada, will headline the affair. All proceeds from the event, including from all Acrassicauda merchandise sold, will go towards immigrant resettlement causes. The band hasn’t designated one specific organization, but did say a portion will go to the International Rescue Committee, an organization instrumental in helping the band members when seeking asylum in 2009.
Weinberg was enlisted to help via text message from Marwan after witnessing the recent airport protests. He was on board right away.
If you’ve seen the documentary, then you know what those guys went through just to be a band; just to practice. They are trying to live, quote unquote, the American dream, but it seems more difficult to attain these days. So, they are standing up and speaking out for what’s right. They walk the walk, and if I can contribute to a cause that they’re behind, I’m honored to be a part of it.
Acrassicauda released its first full length album Gilgamesh in February 2016. Watch the powerful video for the single “Rise” below. The Vice documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad can be viewed in its entirety on the band’s website here.