Interview: One Missing Link [Iran] Elaborates on the Anti-Musician Laws in Their Country and Upcoming Jekyll & Hyde Themed EP

One Missing Link proudly represents the burgeoning metal scene in Iran, pushing a more modern metalcore sound akin to Spiritbox or Wage War. Based out of Mashad in Iran, vocalist Nikan Nasim, guitarist Mahan Abdollahi, bassist Nima Mohammadi, and drummer Kiumars Saffari have been working on a fantastic upcoming concept EP, The Other Side, which includes the recent single “Shadows Inside,” mixed / mastered by Joonas Vuojolahti and released via Tough Sounds (the first Iranian metal label).

Check out our interview below discussing how they illegally filmed their recent music video, an upcoming concept EP, and other Iranian metal bands worth checking out.

I’ve heard a rumor that your recent music video for “Shadows Inside” was filmed in a city where metal is deemed “extremely illegal.” Can you share what could potentially be the punishment if authorities discovered what you were recording in this unnamed city?

Yes, recording this type of music in a theocratic country like Iran could be followed by unfair penalties no matter the city; however, playing metal is more dangerous in religious cities like Mashhad. The penalty could vary from monetary to even jail sentences and sometimes instrument confiscation.

Additionally, would you be comfortable hinting at roughly the location of where this unnamed city is?

The music video was filmed in a regular black box theatre in Mashhad. Even the manager wasn’t quite aware of what we were exactly doing.

To go against the law in pursuit of metal music is quite evidential of your passion for the art. What is one of the goals on your bucket list that you’re dreaming of achieving with One Missing Link?

Performing live shows in our country one day, and also in neighboring countries like UAE, Armenia, or Turkey.

Let’s talk more about this new single, “Shadows Inside.” Along with the intensity of the music, the vocals are so aggressively and emotionally impactful. What does the song mean to you personally?

The whole song and upcoming EP are actually about a conversation between the human and a dark specter inside him who willingly pushes the human to be the exact opposite of all the good he was trying to achieve. Maybe the dark side of Dr. Jekyll, which we know as Mr. Hyde, is the best way to represent this concept.

You previously spoke about how the authorities in Iran can potentially negatively treat the metal community. Have you faced any oppression or unfair treatment in your country because of your music tastes?

Not directly, but that’s because we are working underground; if you’re going to release music in an official capacity in Iran, you need to have a certificate from the Ministry of Guidance and Culture. They never give these kinds of permissions to metal subgenres or even rock music. That’s the most specific anti-musician law.

What do you believe is the source of this oppression the metal communities face in some Middle East countries? Religion? Out-of-touch politicians? A cultural lack of understanding from others?

I don’t believe religion is the primary source of these rules, but overreacting religious governments with suppressive intentions are the reason. We respect every religious or cultural belief in every country. 

We recently spoke to the thrash metal band Padra, who immigrated to Turkey after being frustrated with the restraints of being a metal band in Iran. The groove / thrash group Confess share a similar story, moving to Norway after being arrested in Iran. Do you ever feel driven to leave your country because of the difficulties of being a metal artist in a country that doesn’t find your art to be legal?

Yes, we also have these thoughts about moving the project and the band to Dubai or Oman.

While there are difficulties for One Missing Link in Iran, I can assume the solidarity of the metal community in your country is reassuring. We’ve posted previously about Heterochrome, Padra, Confess, Out of Nowhere, and Pointed Mutation. Have you had any interactions with these bands in the Iranian metal scenes?

Yes, of course, these bands and members are all our friends throughout Iran, and in this scene, we are so close to each other because we are the only ones who can support ourselves.

What other bands from Iran should the metal community around the globe keep their eyes and ears out for?

I believe the death / groove metal project called Sargas could be another option on the list.

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