Iranian prog-metallers Hyper Planet have released a video for their latest single, Beyond the Laniakea – the first from their forthcoming debut album.
It’s a stunning slice of instrumental prog-metal that incorporates traditional Iranian influences alongside some incredible playing from brothers Amin and Armin Saffar (on guitar and bass, respectively).
There’s even a guest spot from their Dad, Ali, who plays the Santur (and rocks a bow tie, frankly).
The Laniakea, in case you’re wondering, is a galaxy superclusters which includes our own Mily Way, plus 100,000 or so other galaxies. Thinking in these terms makes the distance between the US and Iran seem pretty small in some ways.
Metal music is not an easy pursuit in Iran, however. The Islamic fundamentalist government reportedly places heavy restrictions on aggressive music, particularly if it questions the religious or authoritarian elements in charge.
Kerrang! recently highlighted the example of extreme metal band Confess. The group allege they were subjected to interrogation and solitary confinement for writing and performing their music and, eventually, forced to flee to Norway after being sentenced to 14 years in prison and 74 lashes.
It's an extreme example, but the result is that many bands feel afraid to express themselves fully in their lyrics. Their ability to perform live is also entirely subject to licensing by the country’s Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance.
Another significant challenge, as Hyper Planet explain above, is that bands cannot place their music on streaming platforms due to Iran’s exclusion from the world banking system, so sharing and publicising their work via social media is one of the only avenues for wider recognition.
“In this abnormal and deplorable situation in Iran, we’ve always had this great passion for music and continue to have it,” said Amin. “And in spite of having a lot of obstacles and hardships on the road, we’ve continued our musical journey.”
For Hyper Planet, it seems their new single is steadily helping them to win attention around the world, placing in the semi-finals in two international competitions and bringing them to the attention of Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal in the process.