After years of listening to various different types of music, and
attempting to understand their deeper meanings, I found that there
is one style of music that gives true happiness and enlightens the
soul, that music is death metal. There are no concerts. CD's are
expensive, and vinyl is not available. MP3s are available, but only
the low quality formats. Welcome to Iran where three friends published
a book about DEATH. This information is only useful for those who
are interested in knowing about the lives of headbangers in Iran.
It has been really exciting for me to finally write about some of
the wonderful things that have happened here. I hope to open your
eyes to a different way of life, where the availability of CD's
(from every genre) is minimal, compared to the relatively easy access
found in the United States, Europe and the Far-east (places where
this availability is often taken for granted. We would like to extend
our thanks to the Emperor of Metal, Chuck Schuldiner whose inspiration
gives us strength. Mohammad Pazhutan.
CULTURE IN IRAN
Most modern music styles are somehow unknown to the Iranian people,
who are primarily interested in Iranian folklore and the traditional
music played by both local artists and Iranian pop musicicians
whose material has been imported from Los Angeles since the Islamic
revolution. Twenty percent of the Iranian people are interested
in modern music. They generally enjoy every style of music, listening
to techno in their cars while joyriding through the streets. People
listen to rap, hip-hop, and pop music, and when they talk about
rock, they mean Pink Floyd and Dire Straits, they aren't interested
in Rush or Led Zeppelin.
THE IRANIAN METAL HORDE
Yes, some people in Iran are actually interested in metal music,
though most of them like Metallica (the albums after 1991), Meat
Loaf and Bon Jovi. It is rare that you will find a real thrash
fan. The true metal scene is very small, which is why we know
every headbanger in Iran. Many of our friends are excellent musicians.
They are creative, and while many of them have good instruments,
there is no studio to record this kind of music, so it's a very
underground movement. We search for our favorite music while selling
We have known each other since
our high school days, when we were listening to the Scorpions,
Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and a lot of other heavy metal artists.
Then we discovered Metallica (during the "And Justice For All"
era), Testament, Slayer, Megadeth, Venom and other bands in the
thrash/speed metal genre. Up until 1989, we never even heard of
death metal. Then one day I found a tape featuring Napalm Death,
Massacre, Entomed, Morbid Angel and Godflesh. Though they sounded
strange to us, we thought they were fantastic. Above all we were
shocked by the cutthroat vocals. Shortly thereafter, I listened
to Cannibal Corpses "Butchered At Birth" and Obituarys "Cause
Of Death" (James Murphy's guitar work killed me) and became a
real death metal fan. After about a year or so, a friend gave
me a copy of "Scream Bloody Gore." Words cannot describe what
I felt. In awe I just stood there and screamed along, it was the
greatest death metal work I'd ever heard. Since 1989 I've been
addicted to Death.
LIVING IN IRAN AND LIKING DEATH
METAL "Informing a generation" As you know, that
there was a war between Iran and Iraq for 8 years. When I was
a child, we slept with the sounds of bombs and air-defenses. My
brother was a soldier who was lucky enough to come back home,
but many people died in that bloody war. Iraq used chemical warfare
on some cities, and the governments didn't want to stop the war.
Universities were closed. Prices
skyrocketted and life became sad and depressive. With the help
of the UN the war ended, but memories of war still live in our
minds and infect our dreams. THAT'S THE MAIN REASON FOR LISTENING
TO METAL MUSIC. I think a death metal fan who has never heard
the sound of a bomb couldn't understand what these words mean.
Who can understand Slayer's "Chemical Warfare" better than a victim
of such weapons?
As you may be aware, according
to some psychological and philosophical theories every work of
art is something independent from the mind of the artist himself.
This is related to the mind and our way of thinking. I want to
tell you that in some gory lyrics as "Scream Bloody Gore", or
Cannibal Corpses "Devoured By Vermin", "Headless" and "Centuries
Of Torment"... you can find the deepest layers of a soul. You
can feel the light and the pure art. Here in Iran we have strong
beliefs and ideas about Mysticism, Mithraism, Zoroasterism and
the cults of fire. Iran had the greatest poets in history and
people has a sense of occultism. I myself enjoy new-age music
(Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Dead Can Dance) because of these
perspectives. Although metal music, in general, is realistic,
if you zoom on it, you can find many meanings in every second
of music you are listening to. You hear catchy riffs and grunting
vocals without thinking of what it means. If you utilize C.G.
Jungs theories you can decode them and find a connection between
voices you hear, artworks you see on a CD cover and song titles.
It may take a lot of time but as you look at metal in a different
way, not by music business point of view, there is so much to
understand and discover. THAT'S WHY WE DECIDED TO WRITE A BOOK:
TO INFORM A GENERATION.
I am an experienced rock, jazz and electronic music listener.
I love the classical masterpieces and every country's folklore.
After all, you need good musicians with solid music, lyrics that
express your emotions, and a lot of energy to help you in times
of sorrow. The band that does this better than any other? DEATH...
from rivers of sorrow to oceans deep with hope. There is always
sadness and depressive things. The government doesn't want to
understand the new generation. So I think one thing to help this
poor generation is introducing death metal to them to give them
the energy that is necessary for us to keep going on. Of all the
death metal bands I know, Death plays the catchiest and doomiest
riffs colliding with powerful lyrics that are deep enough to think
about for a lifetime. The same is true about CONTROL DENIED.
METAL SCENE IN IRAN
The worst thing is most Iranians think that metal musicians are
killers, cannibals, addicts and bad guys. Its very hard to make
them understand the real meanings and the philosophy behind the
music. In my opinion every artist has something to say and has its
own way of saying it. It seems logical that people understand metal
music but as the words are in English, and usually with roars and
screams, people think that they are movie monsters of something!
While boys can wear almost everything (jeans, jackets, leather,
t-shirts and...) all women and girls must have Hijab, which means
to cover every part of the body from head to toe. In this case this
is strange that metal t-shirts are always in fashion, especially
by those who are not really interested in metal music! Teenagers
wear Bat Man, Hulk Hogan and IRON MAIDEN shirts!!! They write Slayer
on their cars but they do not listen to it. Girls wear skull and
bone rings and necklaces, cannabis leaf, etc...., but they know
nothing about their meanings. They think that these logos and skulls
But the real metal maniacs in Iran
never write anything on their cars and jackets. They are simple,
friendly and kind and strange when people watch them walk in the
street with a walkman that plays Napalm Death right in their heads.)
Some parents think that if their children listen to metal music,
he will end up an addict, a sexual pervert and the music will
lead to a tragic suicide, but it's not a big problem because everyone
does the things that parents are against. CD's are very expensive.
The average salary is 800.000 Rials (one USD is equal to 8000
Rials), and a CD costs 100.000 to 150.000 Rials. It's better to
record CD's on a tape if you find the CD. LP's have not been available
since the Revolution, before that time every kind of music were
available. The previous generation was really into rock music,
Jimi Hendrix fans and Psychedelic music lovers.
After the Revolution everything
changed, people get superstitious and LP's destroyed. Classical
and Jazz CD's are expensive though not forbidden. You can find
original CD's with good labels here, also you can find instrumentals
such as Ottmar Liebert and Ravi Shankar. People who really understand
music, understand metal and that's the most important point, I
think. Doesn't matter if you pay that much for a CD because you
will enjoy it and it will give life to you for a lifetime. Several
people have PC's and are able to listen MP3 formats. It's the
cheapest way of having good collections and albums even though
its low quality. This way has some other bad points, for example
CD's dont' have any booklet, leaflet or information, they don't
even have titles. We seek and find and enjoy music in such a country
. I think now you know what if feels like to live in Iran and
behave this way.
MUSICIANS IN IRAN
There are many good and talented musicians in Iran who are not able
to record or release their art. Since 1960 pop musicians were releasing
many albums and singles. Although you cannot find a good work among
those records, musicians were free to play their stuff anyway. After
1978 many of those musicians left Iran for Los Angeles and they
are still doing their thing.
The new generation of musicians
who are interested in rock, metal, fusion and new-age came up.
These new musicians play for fun. The terrible problem separate
from the conditions of recording is the expense of musical instruments.
Nowadays you can buy a Fender Strat (2nd hand) or a Gibson Les
Paul for 10.000.000 Rials. A Korg Triton costs 30.000.000 Rials
and a Pearl Drum Kit (which were forbidden for 18 years!) costs
about 35.000.000 Rials. I know a drummer here who was searching
good drumsticks for 3 years! It's not flabbergasting, it's the
same for every musician here. We had some live concerts in last
three years. The band members were not matched. They played instumental
covers of Santana, Joe Satriani, Eric Clapton, Paco de Lucia etc...
These bands are not good and skilled, their performance is just
a matter of nepotism!!
Me (Mohammad Pazhutan, 27, better known as MP) and Mahyar (Mahyar
Mohyeddean, 27) have been friends since our high school days. Ali
Arjamandi (R-Joe, 25) has been a friend of ours since those days
though he wasn't our schoolmate. We visit each other once a week
or more. I am a songwriter/composer and enjoy writing poems. I play
keyboards and sometimes teach it. R-Joe is an electronics freak,
he is also a computer technichian. He enjoys playing guitar sometimes.
Mahyar is practicing hard to be a good classical guitar player,
in his spare time he translates lyrics and literature. The internet
is a very useful tool to catch the latest news and stay in touch
with other people, but it's somehow expensive and the maximum speed
of connection in Iran is 3.6MB and it's terrible damn work to download
anything you want. Anyway it's really good.... if we didn't have
the internet, how could we have found Yvonne?!? Anyone who would
like to contact me can send e-mail to: Mephisto.firstname.lastname@example.org
Interesting Iranian websites