Jailed Iranian Metal Band Discusses Their Arrest, Safety, and More in New Interview

  • Axl Rosenberg

Last year, the metal community was moved by the story of Confess, an Iranian metal band that were reportedly arrested in their home country on 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. Following their arrest, we were told, they were kept in solitary confinement for more than three months before being released on bail of 1,000,000,000 Iranian Rial — more than $33,000 U.S. Reports further indicated that the members of the band could be jailed for anywhere from six months to six years, or even executed if they were to be found guilty of the blasphemy charge.

Since the story first broke, there have been a few interesting developments. First of all, in January, a representative for Amnesty International told Noisey that although the members of Confess were not, in fact, facing execution charges, they could still be in deep trouble due to “Iran’s tough crackdown on freedom of expression.” And then, suddenly, our friends at Metal Injection somehow got caught in the middle of everything:

“Metal Injection began receiving messages from metal heads from within Iran questioning the validity of Confess’ arrest. The accusers pointed Metal Injection to Confess frontman Nikan Siyanor Khosravi, via his only active public profile, an Instagram page. That’s when things got interesting.

“We contacted Nikan and spoke to him via Instagram messages. While Nikan was unsure as to why people would accuse him of lying, he provided ample evidence to Metal Injection that put no doubt in our minds that Nikan and his bandmate were absolutely arrested. This was no lie, it was a nightmare. The duo are currently laying low, awaiting the appeals process to finalize, so they could hopefully clear their names. It should be noted that while originally we reported there were three members of the band, but Nikan noted that the third member was not permanent and was no longer in the band at the time of their arrest.”

Subsequently, Metal Injection conducted an e-mail interview with Nikan in which he offered plenty of information regarding and details about the band’s arrest. You should really read the whole thing — it’s horrifying and fascinating in almost equal measures — but here’s a quote to whet your appetite:

“We went to the district court in September and December of 2016 in two separate sessions. Our sentences were announced in March of 2017, but we are just going public with it now. The sentence is not good at all. We objected and are waiting for an appeals court date. We still have hope that everything will be resolved with our new lawyers.”

Everyone in metal is obviously rooting for these dudes; in fact, Nikan says a wide variety of metal luminaries, including members of Slipknot, Lamb of God, and Gojira, have reached out to him to show their support.

Like I said, you should really just sit down and read the whole thing. You can do so here.

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