Resistance in Exile
Building up to their upcoming album, Iranian metal band Confess releases “Ransom Note”. With the sound of strength in the face of oppression, the track transports us to frontman Nikan Khosravi’s distressful exile days in Turkey. It features some of the most prominent death metal sounds of the album, mastered by Grammy-nominated producer Machine (Lamb of God, Suicide Silence, Miss May I, and many others).
“I wrote the lyrics of this song (like most of the lyrics in this album) while I was in Turkey seeking asylum.”, Khosravi explains. “Those days were the darkest period of my life. But as you can hear in the song, I was super determined about what I’m going to do in my future.”
The sound of Confess in this single further develops the style of their second album “In Pursuit of Dreams” (2015). Soon after releasing it, Khosravi and fellow band member Arash Ilkhani were arrested by the Iranian government on blasphemy charges.
Khosravi’s beliefs remained firm after spending over a year in one of Tehran’s harshest prisons and risking execution. “There are not enough forces in this world to oppress a man forever”, he tells us. “Ransom Note” is the voice of those who refuse to stay submissive: “If people in a society seek unity and want to change their future, nothing can stop them!”
The dominance of melody in “Ransom Note” is a clear sign of death metal tendencies. The intro and main riff came from a live improvisation recorded in 2014. Khosravi liked the way it sounded at a fast tempo and used it as the base material for the single.
Nikan Khosravi and Arash Ilkhani obtained refugee status in Norway in 2018 and have been playing across the country with a new line-up. Confess recently opened for Mayhem at Festspillene i Nord.
“Ransom Note” will be released in November. The single is part of the band’s upcoming album “Revenge at All Costs”.
Cover art by Paul Setti
Press photos by Camilla Norvoll
Iranian groove metal/hardcore band Confess describe themselves as a “five-piece street protest”. It’s not a figure of speech: Nikan Khosravi (vocals/guitar) and Arash Ilkhani (DJ / Sampler) have experienced political persecution first-hand. The band’s upcoming album “Revenge at All Costs” is a cry of outrage in the form of chunky down-tuned riffs marinated in the Norwegian winter.
The journey started in junior high school in Tehran when Nikan got a CD from a classmate. It contained music videos by metal bands from the 90s and 2000s. “I was fascinated by the sound of the genre.”, he tells us. “Ever since this music has been the center of my life.”
Nikan and Arash started the band as teenagers in 2010, releasing their first album “Beginning of Dominion” in 2012. Their early sound gravitated towards old-school death metal and 90s hardcore, always with some grooviness to it.
Nikan started his own label “Opposite Records” in 2014. Up until here, this could sound like the story of any European band. But change the context, and being a metal musician could mean anything from government surveillance to execution.
Arrest and prison followed the release of the band’s second album “In Pursuit of Dreams” in 2015. The experience of confinement in one of Iran’s harshest prisons inspired songs like “Evin” (2019).
Fast forward to 2018, when both Nikan and Arash obtained refugee status in Norway. Confess started experimenting with seven strings and adding modern death metal sounds. But the groovy headbanging spirit of their musical DNA is very much alive.
Confess has played in public without fear of repercussions ever since. After several concerts in Norway, their latest milestone has been opening for Mayhem at Festspillene i Nord.
Confess got signed to Rexius Records in 2021 and is currently preparing for the release of “Megalodon” (single) in September, followed by another single in November and an album in January.
Press photos by Camilla Norvoll.