Iranian band Arsames, whose members were recently sentenced to 15 years in prison for playing metal, have successfully fled their home country to avoid being locked up.

Iran has a long history of suppressing creative freedom, famously sentencing Confess to over 14 years in prison and 74 lashes. Metal is viewed as a Satanic form of music in Iran, which violates the country’s strict blasphemy laws and could result in execution.

In a statement to Loudwire, Arsames wrote that they’re not a Satanic band. “Our music is about our past culture, history... that they think when we growl and play fast music we are into Satanism! The skulls on our t-shirts means the same for them as satanic musicians.”

Arsames continue, “We [were] arrested in 2017 when we were in our studio during rehearsal. They moved us to jail that day and [did] not [tell] our family about where we [were] for a week. Finally after nearly a month later we paid bail to come out of prison and they told us you should not work, release [or sell] your merch until your final court ... and do not talk with media! Our Instagram page, official website ... banned and they shot down all for a year, but we built a new Instagram again and [started] to be active until few weeks ago [when] the court called us again and they gave us 15 years [in] prison. So we had to escape from Iran.”

The metal band recently posted a video to their official YouTube channel explaining their sentence, which was handed down by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Mashhad, in further detail.

“Is it a crime that we are playing metal music!?” they begin. “Is it [a] crime that we are talking about Persian history?! Is it a crime that you think we are into Satanism when we have songs about Cyrus the Great and monotheism!? Is it a crime that we love music and our country?!”

Arsames’ current location is not yet public knowledge. Throughout the band’s 18-year history, Arsames have played alongside acts like Amon Amarth, Kreator, Napalm Death, Arch Enemy and Sepultura.

To support Arsames, you can visit their Facebook and Instagram pages and check out their music via Bandcamp.


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