Arsames flee Iran after being sentenced to 15 years in jail for playing heavy metal

Arsames (Image credit: Arsames/YouTube)

Arsames have escaped from their homeland of Iran after they were sentenced to 15 years in prison for playing in a heavy metal band.

They were arrested in 2017 and eventually freed on bail and sentenced in late July, with Arsames now taking the decision to flee the country.

Arsames have issued a statement to Loudwire, saying: “Our music is about our past culture and history. 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.”

They add: “We were arrested in 2017 when we were in our studio during rehearsal. They moved us to jail that day and didn’t tell our families about where we were for a week. 

“Finally, nearly a month later, we paid bail to come out of prison and they told us we should not work, release or sell merch until the final court appearance… and not to talk with the media.

“Our Instagram page and official website were banned and shut down for a year, but we built a new Instagram and started to be active until few weeks ago when the court called us again and gave us 15 years in prison. So we had to escape from Iran.”

Earlier this week, Arsames released a short video, saying: “Is it a crime that we are playing metal music? 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’ plight comes after Confess duo Nikan Khosravi and Arash Ilkhani were sentenced to a combined 14 and a half years in prison last summer, with Khosravi also sentenced to 74 lashes.

They were arrested in Iran in November 2015 and hit with a variety of charges, including blasphemy, writing anti-religious lyrics and promoting music that the state considered to be Satanic in nature. 

The pair managed to avoid the death penalty, but were put in solitary confinement. They were then bailed, with Khosravi and Ilkhani managing to flee to Turkey and were subsequently granted asylum in Norway.

In 2016, Classic Rock published an in-depth feature exploring the reasons why Iran and Afghanistan were imprisoning metal artists, with the article also highlighting other parts of the world where musicians were in danger.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.