As an American, I sometimes forget how provocative heavy metal as an artform could be, particularly in less secular countries. Everybody talks about freedom of speech in this country and some would lead you to believe we are losing that freedom, but last time I checked, nobody in this country is facing potential death just for being in a metal band.
That's exactly what's happening to Iranian band Confess members Nikan Siyanor Khosravi and Khosravi Arash Chemical Ilkhani. Both men were arrested by the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and are facing charges of blasphemy, advertising against the system, running an illegal and underground band and record label promoting music considered to be Satanic, writing anti-religious lyrics and granting interviews to forbidden foreign radio stations. These serious charges resulted in the two band members, aged 23 and 21 sitting in solitary since last November until finally making bail on February 5th, paying the equivalent of $30,000 US.
The musicians are lawyering up and could face a minimum of six months to six years in prison, and worse, if they are found guilty of the blasphemy charge, they could be executed! It's easy to see how they could be charged with blasphemy, especially when they have a song named "I Am Your God."
The band's new album, In Pursuit of Dreams, also features tracks titled "New World Order," "Teh-Hell-Ran" (a play on words of the Iranian capital Tehran), "The Alphabet Of Power" and "5 Years In A Cave." It was released on the group's own label, Opposite Records.
The government has allegedly seized all of their personal online accounts, including e-mail and Facebook, although as of this writing their profile on Facebook is still active.
We're not exactly sure what we can do to help the band at the moment, but we figured raising awareness is a start. We have started the hashtag #FreeConfess. Feel free to grab the image and/or retweet: