If accurate, then this story is more terrifying than spending a night in an abandoned insane asylum with Mayhem.
Members of Iranian band Confess (not to be confused with the Swedish glam rock group of the same name) have reportedly been arrested for playing heavy metal, and the penalty could be death.
Not even fucking with you.
According to a number of sources including Metal Nation News, Loudwire and Metalsucks (by way of Unite Asia), two members of the band – aged 21 and 23 – were captured in November of 2015 by top Iranian military force, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, as a result of their groove/thrash/nu metal-related activities (that’s right, not even black metal).
They were reportedly held in solitary confinement until last week (that’s almost three horrifying months) until they were released on a bail bond equal to more than AUD$42,000.
In layman’s terms, they’ve been charged with playing heavy metal, owning an independent record label and talking to foreign radio stations.
Formally speaking, they’re facing charges of “blasphemy”, “advertising against the system”, “forming and running an illegal and underground band and recording label in a musical considered to be Satanic”, “writing lyrics that are anti-religious, atheistic, political, and anarchistic”, and “granting interviews to forbidden foreign radio stations”.
These two musicians could now be imprisoned from anywhere between six months to six years, or even put to death if they’re found guilty of the blasphemy charge.
This is a gut-wrenching situation to be sure, and as frustrating as it can be living here in Australia sometimes with many of our government’s nanny state laws, I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that we don’t face this extreme level of persecution for playing the type of music we love.
As far as what can be done to help these guys at this point, it’s unclear. But I suppose it all starts with spreading the word about their incredibly fucked up situation, the news of which first came through a friend of the band, who wrote an impassioned letter to one of their promoters, who then published the story on heavy music blog Metal Nation:
“[Confess] are a talented thrash band that risked it all to pursue their hopes and dreams of one day being able to leave their land and share their music/stories with the world. Because of their heavy-handed religious rule, many countries in the Middle East view rock and metal as the devil’s music. In many cases the musicians or those who just listen to the music risk being jailed and in some cases executed for it. I have always feared that one day one of the bands I promote from there would end up in such a position. Well… that time arrived for Nikan Siyanor Khosravi and Khosravi Arash Chemical Ilkhani of Confess.” (Read the full excerpt below)
We’ll be keeping our devil horns crossed that Confess – at the very least – escape their potentially fatal blasphemy charge, but if this song is anything to go by, their prospects probably aren’t good:
From Metal Nation:
Metal Community…On behalf of the band Confess (Iran), I am making this post public in the hope that it will go viral. I have spoken many times and in depth regarding the dangers of being a metal musician from the middle east. I would often use Confess as an example when describing the perils one would face by playing music. They are a talented thrash band that risked it all to pursue their hopes and dreams of one day being able to leave their land and share their music/stories with the world. Because of their heavy-handed religious rule, many countries in the Middle East view rock and metal as the devil’s music. In many cases the musicians or those who just listen to the music risk being jailed and in some cases executed for it. I have always feared that one day one of the bands I promote from there would end up in such a position. Well… that time arrived for Nikan Siyanor Khosravi and Khosravi Arash Chemical Ilkhani of Confess. This evening I received a message from a friend of the band (who will remain unnamed to protect their identity) that I found to be alarming. According to the message, they have been jailed in their country for playing heavy metal, owning an independent record label and for communicating with foreign radio stations. I was personally asked to help and my hopes are that we, as brothers and sisters in metal, will rally together and bring this story to the forefront. Share this and share often. Who knows? There just may be someone in our community that is a legal expert or perhaps works in official capacity for a government who can help our brothers out. I have attempted to contact Nikan however, I am fearful that given what has been reported he will be unable to reply. My fingers are crossed I hear from him soon and that he is keeping a positive mental attitude.
Below is the message exactly as I received it (keeping it real). From what I can tell it was translated best as the messenger could. Thank-you all in advance for rallying for a good cause.
“Hello, hoping you doing well..
I have a important news for you!”
“Nikan (Siyanor Khosravi & Arash (Chemical) Ilkhani arrested by the “Intllengante unit of Seppah-e Pasdaran of islamic republic Iran” (One of the main military forces of the country) since “November 10th of 2015” and the has been under the arrest in Evin perison in Tehran-Iran” and up until they released in “February 5th 2015” on the “1.000.000.000 Rial” (30.000 U.S $) and all of these days they’ve been held in “2-A Solitary Confinemet” of the “Evin”..!
“The “23” and “21” years old two Members of the Irannian metal band called “Confess” arrested in accusation of “Blasphmy; Advertising against the system; form and running an illigal and underground band and record label in the satanic “Metal & Rock” music style!; writing anti-religion & athiestic, politcal & anarchistic lyrics and interview with forbiden foregin radio stations.”
“During the arrestment Lead singer and the Dj of the band has been under a tough conditions and a hard investigations!
The current situation of the guys is that they are working with their lawers and waiting for their trial and announce of their judgment dates, judges of the law sutes and untill that they all their activities is sut down.”
“All the personal and band E-mails and facebooks are under the control of the goverment!”
“As it told the Metal & Hard Rock music (In a oneword, the exterem music) in Iran is forbiden and againts the law and because it consider as a satanic genre of music it has a hursh punishment such as imperisonment and having lots wiplash and consider as a political-religious-securety crime and the criminal is a deteny!”
“The garges of “Siyanor [-13]” & “Chemical” puts them in the situation that they are face the minimum 6 month to the maximum 6 years of imperisonment in of jail! If the court find them belasfemers even they are facig EXECUION!”
* The last studio album of “Confess” is “In Pursuit Of Dreams” which released in “28.10.2015” via an irannian music company called “Opposite Record” (That found by the Frontman, Lead Guitaris & Lead Voalist, Composer & Lyricist, “Nikan Khosravi“).
The sad thing is that the promoting of this record coudn’t goes well and stop undone for now!”
“After 4 years of international sucsess; after releasing of 33 tunes as the 2 full lenght studio albums, 1 official EP record and 3 Independent singletracks; but now the future of the two main man of the band is blur and so the band as well..!”
“The reason of this redio silent was the sefty of our brothers in perison and now we hope you guys help us to telling the world that the life conditions of us is very terrible and spread the news. we are expriancing a so real times and a dark days and our friens are in a horrible danger.. .”
Thanks for your time; “Peace”
* I am (namewitheld); a real close friend and old friend of the guys and admin of the official page of “Confess”. I knew that You and Nikan was friend and he really needs you now by share it, post it and talkabout it in the network and your radio shows and your co-workers and friends! We are need your help.. *