Rock music in Iran

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Iranian rock, also called Persian Rock, is a form of rock music that is largely produced in Europe and Tehran.

Iranian rock is almost entirely in Persian language. There are, however, musicians of Iranian descent both inside and outside Iran that produce their rock music in languages such as English or German. Iranian rock has its roots in American rock, British rock and German rock, but has its own distinctive elements mixed in to create a homegrown class of sounds and melodies, whether progressive, hard, or heavy metal. There have been many movements since the 1970s.


Rock music in Iran has been influenced by many traditional forms of Iranian music and popular rock bands such as Pink Floyd, The Doors and Deep Purple also inspired by remarkable events like Shiraz Arts Festival, has its beginnings in the 1970s with rock bands like Scorpio that played the songs of famous rock bands of their era. Soon it became popular among the young generation specially in night clubs and dance clubs in Tehran.[1] The 1979 Islamic revolution did not allow this musical genre to survive long. Ayatollah Khomeini banned[when?] rock music, inspiring The Clash to write Rock the Casbah.[citation needed]

During the late 1990s president Mohammad Khatami advocated a more open cultural atmosphere in his domestic policies, Iran came to witness a unique blossoming of an indigenous breed of Rock and Heavy metal musicians.[citation needed] What separates this movement from its Tehrangeles pop counterpart is the young age group and the fact that it is almost entirely homegrown, and mostly underground.[2]

The contemporary scene

Within a few years after the launch of Tehran's underground scene in the late nineties, some bands started using the poetry of Persian literature such as Hafez in their lyrics on top of classical western rock tunes and melodies, and peppered with sounds of traditional Persian music.[3]

Public open live concerts are heavily restricted by the government. Rock bands might obtain permission to perform on stage live, provided their music is purely instrumental or with Persian lyrics approved by Ministry of Culture. Rarely music with English lyrics has been performed by bands such as Barad. Most of the Rock Bands who cannot obtain permission rely on internet and social networks[citation needed]. There has been underground competitions with music press coverage. Occasionally the government allows rock concerts to take place under strict conditions.[4] 127 were the first Iranian underground band to tour the United States and played at South By Southwest festival.[5]

In 2008, power metal band Angband, signed with German label Pure Steel Records[6] as the first Iranian metal band to release internationally through a European label.[7] They released their debut album Rising from Apadana in 2008 and they collaborate with the well-known producer/ sound engineer Achim Kohler (Primal Fear, Amon Amarth) for the production of their second album Visions of the Seeker that came to life in October 2010.[8] the collaboration continues for the 2012 release Saved from the Truth.[9]

Awarded an Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize Ex-aequo by Cannes Festival in 2009 No One Knows About Persian Cats[10] a film by Bahman Ghobadi revealed the legal challenges and obstacles young musicians in Iran have to face where government is severely confined.

Rising faces in Iranian rock/ metal music

The following samples a list of homegrown Iranian rock bands, mostly active in Iran. Some are approved by the government, other continue to operate underground because of the restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

See also


  1. "'اسکورپیو' در آپارات". BBC Persian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Asharq Al-Awsat: "Iran's Underground Music Revolution". Accessed May 27, 2007. Link: [1]
  3. Tehran Avenue: Link
  4. The Iranian. Link: [2]
  5. Rodrigo Davies, BBC News, Iran's underground rock scene thrives despite censors, retrieved 10/2/2012
  6. Blabbermouth. "Iranian Metal Band ANGBAND Signs With Germany's PURE STEEL RECORDS". Archived from the original on 12 June 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Blabbermouth link August 2010
  8. Blabbermouth. "ANGBAND: New Album Release Date, Track Listing Revealed". Retrieved Sep 16, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "ANGBAND - Three New Songs Streaming". BW&BK. Retrieved September 10, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Martin Hodgson, The Guardian (Apr 22, 2007)
  12. Review by New York Post, July 2004.
  13. Review by Washington Post, July 2004.

External links