Nation of Dogs is the title of the new album released by Dark Phantom, the multi-ethnic heavy metal band in Iraq.
Based in the heavily contested, oil-rich city of Kirkuk, Dark Phantom emerged in a hazardous climate; amid the reign of extremism and among the destruction of war, the heavy metal band rose in 2007.
Nation of Dogs includes 10 songs and is an album of protest to instability, war, destruction, and corruption in Iraq.
The album falls under the Thrash Death Metal genre, which employs techniques such as faster tempos, heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, and features aggressive and powerful drumming.
The multi-ethnic band, consisting of two Turkmens, two Kurds, and one Arab, has survived not only lack of support and appreciation from some in their communities but has also braved various death threats from Islamists who equate ‘metal’ with Satan worship.
“They call us Satanists but music is life itself. And when you hear the sound of explosions and gunshots and the constant news of killings, heavy metal is the kind of music that comes to [our] minds, not hip-hop or love songs,” Murad Jaymz, the founder and guitarist, told Kurdistan24 in a phone interview.
“We are like brothers, and we speak to each other in all three languages all the time, Kurdish, Arabic and Turkmen,” Jaymz said.
“We like to show the realities of life in Iraq. We suffer, and war has destroyed our lives, but we rise above the war with our music,” he added.
Only two years after the most credible and serious death threats, the band held three successful concerts in the liberal Kurdistan Region city of Sulaimani “which was a great recovery,” the Dark Phantom founder wrote.