When Hypernova first started playing shows in Iran's secretive rock scene, lead singer/guitarist Raam would always keep one eye on the door. In a country where playing rock music is forbidden, he and his band would need to sprint away from the authorities if they raided the gig.

"It was scary," Raam says. "We had to sound-proof everything we did when practicing and basically live in an underground room," he recalls. "But art strives off of fear and struggle. We were lifting spirits in an environment where people couldn't express themselves."

Once Hypernova's brand of dark dance-rock quietly exploded in Iran, the foursome dashed to New York in March 2007, then to Los Angeles soon after. Careful not to be pigeonholed as "some exotic band from the Middle East," the band spent last year honing its sound in the studio with producer Hedwig Maurer and mixer Sean Beaven (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson).

"Through the Chaos," Hypernova's debut album set for self-release this spring, features sharp guitar licks and apocalyptic, yet catchy lyrics that have garnered comparisons to Joy Division. The buzz around the disc also helped land the band a slot opening for goth legends Sisters of Mercy this month on their current U.S. trek. A tour supporting "Through the Chaos" is shaping up for next year, but Raam—who grew up listening to Sisters of Mercy—says, "This tour has been so much fun, we don't want it to end."

Far removed from the dangerous shows of the group's past, Raam says that he and his bandmates feel blessed to be in this position. "To go through all of the struggles," he says, "we never take anything for granted."