Iranian prog-metallers Hyper Planet released a video for their latest single, Beyond the Laniakea – the first of their upcoming debut album.
It’s an amazing slice of instrumental prog-metal that incorporates traditional Iranian influences alongside incredible playing by brothers Amin and Armin Saffar (on guitar and bass respectively).
There’s even a guest of their father, Ali, who plays Santur (and wears a bow tie, frankly).
The Laniakea, in case you were wondering, is a supercluster of galaxies that includes our own Mily Way, plus 100,000 or more other galaxies. Thinking in these terms makes the distance between the United States and Iran seem quite small in some ways.
However, metal music is not an easy quest in Iran. The Islamic fundamentalist government would place heavy restrictions on aggressive music, especially if it challenges the religious or authoritarian elements in charge.
Kerrang! recently highlighted the example of the extreme metal band Confess. The group allege that they were subjected to interrogation and solitary confinement for writing and performing their music and ultimately forced to flee to Norway after being sentenced to 14 years in prison and 74 lashes.
This is an extreme example, but the result is that many bands are afraid to express themselves fully in their lyrics. Their ability to perform live is also fully subject to a license issued by the country’s Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance.
Another big challenge, as Hyper Planet explained above, is that bands cannot place their music on streaming platforms due to Iran’s exclusion from the global banking system, so share and publicize their work via social networks is one of the only avenues for wider recognition.
“In this abnormal and deplorable situation in Iran, we have always had this great passion for music and continue to have it,” said Amin. “And despite many obstacles and difficulties on the road, we continued our musical journey.”
For Hyper Planet, it seems their new single regularly helps them grab the attention of the world, making it to the semi-finals in two international competitions and bringing them to the attention of Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal in the process.