Research Article

“Bandung Rocks, Cibinong Shakes: Economics and Applied Ethics within the Indonesian Death-Metal Community” by Kieran James and Rex Walsh (2015), Musicology Australia journal, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 27-46
While much of the western world views current-day Indonesia as a confusing admixture of economic growth and ongoing poverty, democratization, and Islamic fundamentalism, very few outside academic and artistic circles have given much recognition to its rich and diverse musical life. Despite this, the Indonesian provincial city of Bandung in West Java is home to the largest death-metal scene in Asia with an estimated 128 active bands and the Central Javanese city of Yogyakarta has a smaller but diverse scene. This paper explores issues of values, ethics, and sub-cultural capital within the death-metal scenes of Bandung and Yogyakarta. We use the concepts of transgressive and mundane sub-cultural capital to frame our analysis. Our research data suggests that the Bandung and Yogyakarta scenes are in an interesting position where their seemingly mundane acts of congregating in public places en masse wearing black gore-metal tee-shirts are interesting, transgressive, and even slightly threatening within the context of a socially conservative Islamic society. Furthermore, we argue that death-metal is hegemonic in the Bandung underground ahead of black-metal, hardcore, and punk. Therefore, to use the Japanese-language terms used in an important scholarly book on Japanese hip-hop, we see aspects of both shinjinrui and otaku operating in Bandung.
Keywords: Bandung music; cultural studies; death-metal music; ethics; extreme-metal music; Indonesian music; popular music; Yogyakarta music.

While much of the western world views current-day Indonesia as a confusing admixture of economic growth and ongoing poverty, democratization and Islamic fundamentalism, very few outside academic and artistic circles have given much recognition to its rich and diverse musical life. Despite this, Indonesia and Bandung in particular, an elevated provincial city of two million people south-east of Jakarta, is home to the largest death-metal scene[1] in Asia with an estimated 128 active bands (according to Man, vocalist of Jasad, personal conversation, Bandung, 24 February 2011). Baulch (2007, pp. 115, 156) has referred to Bandung as ‘the heart’ of the Indonesian ‘underground scene’ where underground includes the inter-connected scenes of black-metal, death-metal, grindcore, hardcore, power-metal, thrash-metal, and punk. As Wallach (2008, p. 7) writes, Bandung is ‘home [to] a remarkably disproportionate number of ... musicians’. Following an anonymous referee’s comment, the first-mentioned author attempted to triangulate this 128 active bands number but achieved only partial success. On the Indonesia page at there were 61 bands in the death-metal genre (excluding melodic death-metal) as at 17 December 2014 which were based in Bandung and listed as ‘active’.[2] To put your band’s listing on the site and to update it regularly requires free time and a marketing-oriented worldview. We believe that Man’s number of 128 remains within the bounds of possibility. The Bandung death-metal community has released a double CD compilation entitled Padiga: Panceg Dina Galur (Pieces Records) which features one song each from 32 local death-metal bands.[3]
The death-metal scene in the Central Javanese university-city of Yogyakarta (hereafter ‘Yogya’), while smaller than the Bandung scene, is a source of great pride for its members due to the its musical diversity and tolerance (personal interview with Rizky of Venomed, Yogyakarta, 12 October 2011; interviews with Halim of Cranial Incisored and Adin of Warhammer, Yogyakarta, 13 October 2011).
This paper explores issues of values, ethics, and sub-cultural capital within the death-metal scenes of Bandung and Yogya. Findings are compared with Baulch’s (2003, 2007) work on the Balinese death-metal scene originally titled ‘Gesturing elsewhere’. We note that a key difference between Bandung and Yogya is the Sundanese-majority in the former and the Javanese-majority in the latter. Sundanese history, culture, and language have been powerful background forces which have amplified the Bandung scene’s self-confidence and oppositional radicalism.[4] The love-hate relationship between Bandung and non-Sundanese Jakarta can only be addressed at the level of popular culture (and football hooliganism) since there exists no serious identifiable political movement for Sundanese independence. However, despite this important element of difference, Bandung and Yogya have in common their university-city status (Wallach, 2008, Appendix C, pp. 275, 276).
The paper is based on formal interviews and informal conversations with sixteen Bandung bands (Auticed, Bleeding Corpse, Bloodgush, Cannabies, Dajjal, Death Womb Existence, Demons Damn, Dismemberment Torture, Forgotten, Girlzeroth, Hellbeyond, Jasad, Jihad, Saffar, Turbidity, and Undergod); five Yogya bands (Deadly Weapon, Death Vomit, Detritivor, Venomed, and Warhammer[5]); and one Bandung death-metal scene identity (Dada, former vocalist of Turbidity and owner of Deathstar Tattoo). Legendary Yogya band Death Vomit (hereafter ‘Devo’, the band’s nickname in Indonesia) played shows in all major Australian cities in September 2010 in a tour organized by Jason Hutagalung Hutagalungand his Melbourne-based company Xenophobic Records. Demons Damn (Bandung) is somewhat special because of its female vocalist Popo (real name Puji Apriantikasari) who interpreted for the first-mentioned author during the Bandung interviews.
The present article also relies upon the first-mentioned author’s experience joining Bleeding Corpse for its overnight tour of the neighbouring West Javanese city of Cibinong on 8-9 October 2011. Bleeding Corpse headlined this show in front of a crowd of around 1,000 death-metal fans and it was the only band from outside Cibinong to feature on the bill. This author also attended a countryside show in Cililin (three hours out from Bandung) headlined by Bloodgush on 27 February 2011; a local show headlined by Turbidity in East Bandung on 9 October 2011; a mixed-genres festival cancelled at the midway point by police in Soreang, South Bandung on 1 April 2012; and Hellsound Festival held in the Bandung sister-city to the west Cimahi on 13 December 2014. This paper describes the authors’ perceptions of how the scenes operate, sociologically and economically.
Outwardly, at least, the sub-genre norms and boundaries in Indonesia closely mirror the original norms and boundaries used overseas. For example, at the risk of over-simplification, death-metal has lyrics of gore and anti-religion and growled vocals and blast-beats. Black-metal usually has corpse-paint and sings about satanic or pagan mythological themes (and uses screamed vocals but not a metalcore or hardcore scream). There are some differences in Indonesia in that lyrics against organized religion are much less direct and confrontational on average (especially in death-metal as opposed to black-metal) and death-metal has more hardcore-genre type lyrics which encourage standing strong in the face of corruption and oppression. The differences are referred to here and there in the paper. However, the present study focuses on the scene-as-community, rather than the music per se, and, although these are obviously intertwined, the distinction is still important. The black-metal scene and the Islamic metal scene (roughly the Islamic equivalent of Christian-metal and represented by bands such as Purgatory and Tengkorak) may be the subject areas of future papers.
Death-metal’s relationship with mainstream music is explored here and there but we think that more detailed discussion would be outside the scope of the paper because we study death-metal as a scene or community which has definite boundaries and a definite history. The near-mythical locality of Ujung Berung in East Bandung means little to the mainstream but everything to death-metal people. We refer to Burgerkill as having achieved mainstream success but as having roots in the Ujung Berung death-metal underground. It is this combination of underground roots and mainstream popularity which allowed Burgerkill to headline Bandung Biersik 2014 and Hellsound 2014. Where ‘underground’ ends and ‘mainstream’ begins (or whether they overlap) is very messy and subjective and for the most part we choose not to directly investigate these questions.
This paper is divided into the following sections: Section 2 discuses the application of concepts used in Japanese hip-hop research by Ian Condry (2006) and its application to the Bandung and Yogya underground music scenes; Section 3 analyses the death-metal scenes of both Bandung and Yogya in terms of Keith Kahn-Harris’ (2007) concepts of transgressive and mundane sub-cultural capital; while Section 4 explores issues of ethics and values within the two selected Indonesian scenes. Section 5 concludes.

Shinjinrui versus otaku
In his work on Japanese hip-hop scenes, Condry (2006, pp. 124-33) has distinguished between two concepts both delineated by a Japanese-language word: shinjinrui (new breed) and otaku. He argues that the Japanese music scenes in the early years were characterized by shinjinrui. According to this concept, the scenes, such as late-1970s disco, were a fashion to be followed and emulated by young people in and at the fringes of the scenes. This stage is characterized by a generally accepted hierarchical ordering of scenes based on trendiness. By the 1990s the scenes and Japanese popular culture in general had largely transformed themselves into otaku where each scene inhabits tiny spaces (or tiny worlds (sekai)) of its own and its members obtain detailed practical knowledge of their own scene and are largely ignorant of other scenes. Condry (2006) writes that ‘[t]his idea of mutually exclusive islands in space is one way of understanding how consumer culture has changed in Japan’. Under the otaku scenario, the otaku being the ‘opposites’ (Condry, 2006, p. 124) of the shinjinrui, there is no hierarchy of scenes or genres (Condry, 2006, p. 126) with each being inhabited by its own isolated set of devotees. Condry (2006, p. 126) explains the reasons for the changes as follows:

With expanding media networks, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of the wide-ranging possibilities for consumption, and hence more difficult to assess the social significance of different practices.

The otaku mentality can be best summarized by the following quote from Condry (2006, p. 133): ‘One cannot say “rap music” and stop with Run-DMC; rather, one needs to choose one thing and go deeply into it’. To transfer this statement to death-metal we might replace the Run-DMC reference with reference to Cannibal Corpse or, in the Indonesian context, to Jasad.
The Bandung death-metal scene is a combination of both these aspects. Firstly, it exists side by side the largely separate black-metal, punk, and hardcore scenes in Bandung, each of which has its own specific discourses, dress, leaders, heroes, culture, and boundaries. Most people identify primarily with only one of these scenes. None of these scenes is placed above any of the others at least in theory. However, in practice, we also see shinjinrui operating because death-metal is the largest underground scene and is the hegemonic scene within the Bandung underground. Ujung Berung aka Ujungbronx in East Bandung, is the mythical origin of the Bandung underground (albeit a real place), and it still has a somewhat closed underground community, where the older people for the most part know or know of each other. The first-generation Ujung Berung bands all play in the sub-genre style known as ‘brutal death-metal’ (BDM). These bands include Bleeding Corpse, Disinfected, Forgotten, Jasad, Jihad, and Undergod (and also Burgerkill which has Ujung Berung roots). The record label Extreme Souls Production (ESP), run by Man Jasad’s brother, Iwan D., is also hugely influential and contributes to the hegemony of Ujung Berung death-metal over the Bandung underground. West Bandung (Lembang) and South Bandung (Soreang) have their own smaller scenes but ambitious and talented bands tend to gravitate towards the Ujung Berung umbrella once signed to ESP (for example, Humiliation from Soreang).
The black-metal guitarist, Abah ‘Desecrator’ or ‘Supri’ Supriyanto of Warkvlt, claims it is hard for black-metal bands to get gigs and publicity in Bandung vis-a-vis death-metal acts (personal interview, 4 April 2012). However, this is denied by death-metal scene identities (such as Ferly of Jasad and the four members of Jihad). Bandung Death Fest is one of the most important annual underground music festivals although its crowds are lower than mixed-genres festivals Hellprint (30,000 crowds) and Bandung Berisik (20,000 crowds). The 2012 Bandung Death Fest was held in one of central Bandung’s iconic streets (Jln. Braga Panjang) in front of a crowd of around 5,000 people. [6] (This festival was last held in 2012.) The name of Bandung Death Fest points to the hegemony of death-metal in the city’s underground while the location and crowds suggest that death-metal is beginning to ‘poke its head out’ above-the-ground too. It is the Ujung Berung faction which controls the access of bands to Bandung Berisik, Bandung Death Fests, and now also Hellsound. Burgerkill and Jasad were the two headlining bands at Bandung Berisik 2014 (29 November 2014)[7] whilst Burgerkill and Kaluman headlined at Hellsound (13 December 2014). Kaluman is an Ujung Berung death-metal supergroup (formed 2012), featuring members of Bleeding Corpse, Devormity, Dismemberment Torture, Digging Up, and Jasad. The authors did a content analysis of the gig flyers for Bandung Berisik 2013, Bandung Berisik 2014, and Hellsound (2014). For the 50 bands listed on the flyers (some bands appear more than once) there were zero black-metal bands although Melody Maker (Jakarta) started out as a black-metal band before switching to symphonic deathcore.[8] These results offer strong support for Abah Supri’s hypothesis that it is hard for black-metal bands to play at gigs organized by the Ujung Berung faction.
Ujung Berung death-metal remains a relatively closed underground community, where at least the older people know or know of each other. Because of this it has been able to partly preserve itself from the post-modern global trend towards the dominance of otaku over shinjinrui. The power-metal genre, which has most adherents in Surabaya, has virtually zero presence in Bandung with three near-unknown Bandung bands appearing on the Indonesian Power Metal Compilation CD released in August 2014.[9] We argue that death-metal is hegemonic in the Bandung underground largely because promising bands get sucked up into the Ujung Berung-ESP faction and the senior Ujung Berung bands inspire and serve as role models for younger bands and local teenagers. The weakness of power-metal in Bandung (compared to Surabaya) shows how successful the Ujung Berung faction has been in maintaining death-metal’s pre-eminence and securing its hegemony. Therefore, we see aspects of both shinjinrui and otaku operating in Bandung.

Transgressive and mundane sub-cultural capital
The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1979, 1993) developed the concept of ‘cultural capital’. This was later extended and adapted by Sarah Thornton (1995, pp. 11-14, 98-105) who coined the term ‘sub-cultural capital’ for the capital which is accrued and invested within a sub-cultural scene but which has little or no value outside of that scene. Keith Kahn-Harris (2007) has critically dissected the concept of ‘sub-culture’ when referring to extreme-metal. However, he much prefers the more malleable idea of ‘scene’ where a metalhead spends part of her/his life operating within the scene and the rest of her/his life operating outside the scene. For example, when Mr Corna Irawan, the former band manager of Devo, works in his day-job at the bank he is operating outside the scene but when he is involved in metal-related activities he is operating within the scene. This dividing line used to be simply during-versus-outside standard business hours but now many Indonesian band members, such as Abah Supri (who works as an IT consultant), promote their bands on Facebook during working hours via office, shop or factory computer or via mobile phone. Therefore, and this is symptomatic of broader societal trends, the dividing line between work-time and leisure-time has become blurred as Indonesia is a country with a very high number of Facebook users. Where do a scene’s physical boundaries begin and end? When Devo bassist Oki works at his Yogya sandwich shop with his girlfriend we could argue that this shop exists within the scene if metalheads are encouraged to congregate there and if metal band and gig posters are displayed on the walls. Kahn-Harris (2007, pp. 7, 121, 122-7, 128-31, 132-3, 136-7, 138-9) also uses the idea of ‘sub-cultural capital’ but he further divides this capital in what could be termed ‘two accounts’ for two types of capital: the ‘transgressive’ and the ‘mundane’. He argues that extreme-metal bands and individuals need sufficient capital of both types and that one cannot be ‘converted’ into or ‘exchanged’ for the other.
Regarding criticism of sub-cultural capital the term is extremely subjective and it is very difficult to rank groups or people according to sub-cultural capital. Another criticism is that it s so sufficiently different from financial capital that the word ‘capital’ may not be suitable to use in relation to the concept at all.
If we consider the history of heavy-metal, and its various sub-genres, the bands that have achieved long-term success have had substantial amounts of both transgressive and mundane sub-cultural capital. If we consider death-metal, scene pioneers Cannibal Corpse (USA) shocked the metal community by taking the levels of mutilation and perversion in the lyrics to more extreme levels than earlier bands Carcass (UK), Death (USA), Kreator (West Germany), and Slayer (USA). Cannibal Corpse’s original vocalist Chris Barnes shocked many, on the Butchered at Birth (1991), Tomb of the Mutilated (1992), and The Bleeding (1994) albums, with his transgressive song lyrics covering rape, torture, and necrophilia and directed usually at an unnamed female. The first-person narration and the absence of the verse-chorus-verse structure were seen by some as being particularly unsettling (Kahn-Harris, 2007; Phillipov, 2006, 2014, pp. 123, 125, 134-5).
Cannibal Corpse members’ calm, polite, analytical, and professional public images and discourses, under the strategic direction of bassist and founding member Alex Webster and new vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher, have allowed the band, in the past nineteen years, to build up its mundane sub-cultural capital. The band’s relentless touring schedule and consistently ‘good attitude’ has seen it accrue mundane sub-cultural capital at a rapid rate in the years since 1994 when Fisher first joined the band. Garry Sharpe-Young (2001, p. 65) comments that ‘[t]he band’s album artwork has remained deliberately provocative’ but he goes on to add that ‘many releases [are] being issued in tamer variants of the original shockers’, suggesting that the band sees no need to expand its transgressive sub-cultural capital further still.
The members of the death-metal scenes of Bandung and Yogya, based on the authors’ personal interviews and fieldwork, are only marginally less socially conservative than Indonesian society as a whole. We can see Jasad vocalist Man’s social conservatism (he affirms the positive role of a loving nuclear and extended family) in the following quote when he talks about Agung, the former vocalist of Devo, who followed the lead of Sid Vicious to die of drugs at age 22:
Many of my friends in Yogyakarta passed away from drugs, heroin. When I see Death Vomit perform [today] I see the former singer Agung. I’m luckier than him because I still survive now. I lived in a normal family with mother and father, not like Agung. Agung, from when he was born until he passed away, he never met his parents. I told him not to use drugs but he used more and more, he died very young, aged 22. ... A lot of good friends of mine in the past were victims of heroin and drugs so I dedicate part of my life to helping drug users and people with AIDS. If I meet the baby with HIV they are unlucky, born to a mother with HIV [personal conversation with first-mentioned author, Bandung, 11 October 2011].
In the Bandung death-metal scene mundane sub-cultural capital is arguably more important and transgressive sub-cultural capital is arguably less important than in the west. However, it is not quite as simple as this. Behaviours which are now mundane, uneventful, and unthreatening in the west, such as wearing black gore-metal T-shirts, writing gore-metal lyrics, mosh-pitting, and crowd-surfing are still new and somewhat threatening in the Indonesian context. When Aries (the 185cm, 110kg Kaluman vocalist), crowd-surfed at Hellsound Festival the local police were observed taking special interest. The authors have only ever observed Indonesian metalheads behave in socially responsible and respectful manners in non-metal and public spaces in Indonesia. It was this author, and not a member of the 15-person Indonesian death-metal contingent, who undertook the transgressive act of sticking a Bleeding Corpse sticker on to a balcony railing at a KFC outlet located between Cibinong and Bandung at 3am one Sunday morning. Despite this, the Indonesian death-metallers’ self-confident, assertive, and even western-style body language (with large ‘personal spaces’), large numbers, black tee-shirt “uniforms” (Baulch, 2007, pp. 54, 60, 62), and occasionally frightening tee-shirt designs mean that they certainly stand out in a crowd and can be unsettling for some and worthy of curiosity and respect for others.[10] The somewhat westernized and assertive body language (especially of band members as compared to fans) attests to the metalheads’ ‘difference’.[11] The authors do not observe non-metal Indonesians being genuinely hostile towards or frightened by the metalheads; the most common attitudes are of curiosity and tolerance. However, some interviewed metalheads suggest that this is because the secular and religious communities in Indonesia are largely ignorant of death-metal and its somewhat shocking lyrical content. Phillipov (2014, pp. xviii-xix, 83, 89-90, 95, 96) makes this general point about the lyrics of the leading western bands. The Detritivor guitarist Dimex says that FPI (Front Pembela Islam or Islamic Defender Front) is beginning to create some problems for the death-metal community but he did not elaborate (group interview, Yogya, 13 October 2011) whilst the Jakarta-based guitarist of a well-known power-metal band has also repeatedly expressed concerns to the author about FPI. Others suggest that confrontation with religious groups has not yet happened simply because the religious groups are blissfully unaware of death-metal lyrics. This could be because lyrics only circulate through the underground, are largely indecipherable on CD and at concerts, and western bands’ lyrics available on the internet are in English only (see also Phillipov, 2014). Spiky and indecipherable band logos on band tee-shirts help the metalheads to ‘veil themselves in mystery’ (Baulch, 2007, p. 54) whilst ‘gesturing elsewhere’ (pp 60-2) to the west.
Indonesian metalheads state that the gore-metal tee-shirt ‘uniform’ will not be worn to places where the atmosphere or ethos would find them inappropriate, indicating that even teenaged metalheads are adept at self-policing. Popo, vocalist of Demons Damn, also states (personal conversation with first-mentioned author, Cibinong, 8 October 2011) that, if confronted by a member of the public about gruesome artwork on a T-shirt, the metalhead would suggest it points to the talent of the artist and does not reflect the ethical values of either the artist or the tee-shirt wearer. Such arguments are consistent with the approach adopted by Cannibal Corpse band members in the Fisher era that the gruesome lyrics are simply ‘fiction’ or ‘entertainment’ and are no different to a B-grade horror movie (James, 2009; Phillipov, 2014, p. 97). However, Popo indicates that such confrontations in Bandung society over T-shirt designs are rare. To comment negatively upon another person’s clothing would appear rude to most Indonesians because it is an obvious intrusion upon personal space. The death-metal community also benefits from the public’s general ignorance of heavy-metal and, more especially, of death-metal music. Although Yuli, the bassist of Jasad, claims that the first metalheads existed in Bandung as long ago as 1975 (Jasad group interview, Bandung, 10 October 2011), the year of Deep Purple Mark IV’s ill-fated concerts in Jakarta, the death-metal sub-genre, even in the west, has only a 25-year history (although the boundary between later thrash-metal and pioneering death-metal is blurred as it was really a transitional process which took place over the years 1985 to 1991). The first full-length death-metal studio album could be held to be Possessed’s Seven Churches (1985), Death’s Scream Bloody Gore (1987) or even a late entry such as Morbid Angel’s Altars of Madness (1989).[12] Furthermore, death-metal has never entered the mainstream in the west or in Indonesia in the way that hard-rock, grunge, hair-metal or metalcore have at various times in the past. Therefore, few people in Indonesia society know what death-metal is. If non-metal people see death-metal musicians or fans in a public space they will just think that they are ‘guys in a rock band’ (Popo, personal conversation with James, Bandung, 9 October 2011). At Man Jasad’s local Indonesian food cafe, 50 metres from his home in Cicaheum, East Bandung, the shop proprietors do not know his identity as the vocalist of Jasad (as Man told James on 12 December 2014).[13]
Band members told the author that their parents generally support their being in death-metal bands as do the wives and partners of older band members such as those in Bleeding Corpse and Jasad in Bandung and Devo in Yogya. For example, the then 20-year-old art student and vocalist of Yogya band Warhammer, Adin, states as follows in personal interview:

Interviewer: Adin, what does your family think about you playing in a death-metal band?
Adin: For my family it’s OK. I want to prove to my parents I can be something with death-metal music [personal interview, Yogya, 13 October 2011].
The following quote from the then 25-year-old Glenn, vocalist of Bloodgush (Bandung), affirms that the parents of death-metal musicians are often supportive of the bands in which their children play and sometimes even attend the shows:
Interviewer: What do your parents think about you playing death-metal?
Glenn: My parents support me; my father sometimes listens to my songs and wants to see me when I play.

Popo of Demons Damn: Many parents here want to see their children play in a show.

Glenn: And they want to try to head-bang [laughs] [Bloodgush group interview with James, Bandung, 10 October 2011]. 
At the grassroots level then death-metal is something that does yield significant mundane sub-cultural capital which is even acknowledged by parents of the musicians. These parents are probably ‘ordinary’ working-class or middle-class Indonesians who do not belong to any form of societal, political or religious elite. They have no specific reasons to hold strong opinions either way about death-metal beyond simple parental pride in their children’s achievements. Similarly, Baulch (2007, p. 172) mentions that Balinese villagers seemed to be less offended than professional concert organisers by black-metal bands’ ritual onstage sacrifices.
One key recent event in Indonesian popular culture was the court case involving the Indonesian pop singer ‘Ariel’ (Nazril Irham, the vocalist for Peterpan) regarding an internet sex tape. Ariel was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in January 2011 (Brenhouse, 2011) and his band’s name has since been changed to Noah. There were two opposing protest camps at the Jakarta court case:  the liberal-democratic protest camp which was for Ariel and the hardline Islamist protest camp which was against Ariel. Then there was a third protest group which was made up of one person only. That person was Man, the vocalist for Jasad. Man carried a placard which read in its entirety: ‘Peace. Do not fight each other, motherf***er’ (written in Sundanese, the market-place language of Bandung) (Jasad group interview, Bandung, 24 February 2011). The present authors argue that Man’s protest was essentially ‘mundane’ rather than ‘transgressive’ because he was simply calling the warring factions to tolerance and peace. The transgressive aspects of his protest, in addition to the fact that he was there, were his long hair, his black death-metal clothing, his use of Bahasa Sundanese rather than Bahasa Indonesian, and the word ‘mother***er’ on his placard. Man was clearly trying to forge a ‘third-way’ because he was part of neither the liberal-democratic protest camp nor the Islamist protest camp. We might then suggest that the ‘Bandung spirit’ of the non-aligned nations lives on through Man.[14] Man’s wearing of a black leather jacket in the Jakarta heat can certainly be viewed as a case of ‘suffering for metal’. Man’s protest is consistent with Baulch’s (2007, pp. 60, 180, 181) assertion that Balinese death-metal scene members do not directly oppose the government but, because their political positions are ambiguous and hard to read, are much more resistant to suppression. However, we also see Man, as scene representative, using his sub-cultural capital accrued over many years in Bandung to protest in Jakarta in a much more direct (albeit humorous and tongue-in-cheek) way than younger anonymous scene members might be expected to attempt.[15] We should also note here that some younger Bandung death-metal musicians have joked about Jasad being part of a rock-hierarchy in Bandung (more on this later).
JASAD band (February 2011)
One reason why metalheads are polite and respectful in public places is simple pragmatism. The police were in 2011 alerted to the presence of the extreme-metal community in Bandung after eleven attendees were crushed to death at an album launch involving the metalcore band Beside. Because of this event the police now charge high fees to grant permission for shows to be held and there are often negotiations which require last-minute changes of venues and dates. This occurs in Yogya as well where the Hellnation Festival was pushed back, at the last minute, from 9 October to 16 October 2011.[16] However, it appears that Bandung police are now among the more difficult to deal with and they demand higher fees from promoters. The Bandung scene has found imaginative ways around this situation. For example, a show was held on a Sunday afternoon, 27 February 2011, in a garage on the grounds of a private home in the idyllic countryside of Cililin, around three hours out of Bandung. The bill that day had around 30 bands with the young Bandung death-metal band Bloodgush headlining. The show was attended by around 100 or 200 teenagers, of whom around 10% to 15% were females. Motorcycles were used to arrive at the show. Only the band members of Bloodgush were permitted to use the living room of the private home as a ‘dressing room’ prior to and after their band’s headlining set. The owners of the Cililin house quietly supervised young metalheads and took them through, one by one, to the internal toilet located in the back section of the house as required. However, people who were neither special guest nor well known to the host family were not permitted to congregate inside the house although they could congregate in the front garden. (The garage was well positioned close to the street and it could be accessed directly from the front garden.)
JIHAD band (2012)
Bandung metalheads do not want to upset the police or other authorities because they want to be able to hold shows at preferred venues and on preferred dates without having to pay exorbitant fees to the police. In 2014 Bandung Biersik and Hellsound were both held in Cimahi rather than Bandung because a large venue was obtainable at reasonable cost and the local police were relatively accommodating. The scene members police themselves and others within the scene so that the scene does not get a bad image especially as far as the police are concerned. What in the post-Enlightenment west would be labelled as ‘shocking police corruption’ appears to work fairly well in the Indonesian cultural context and it leaves the death-metal community, more or less happily, policing itself and its wilder members. The first-mentioned author has witnessed metalheads quietly and calmly leaving a metal show after it was shut down at the mid-way point by police in the Soreang countryside. This was a 1 April 2012 festival headlined by Disinfected and Jasad and featuring Outright (Bandung hardcore) and Tcukimay (Bandung punk). After delivering the message that the festival must end to the event organisers the 20 or 30 police stood watching at a distance of 15-metres from the building at one rear corner of the building compound. Very charitably, they allowed the metalheads to retain their ‘face’ and self-respect by allowing them to pack up and leave at an unhurried pace (whilst not invading personal spaces). Even the punk-rockers present (around 20% of the crowd) departed quietly as it is always better to live on to fight another day. We do not expect a repeat of the church-burnings, murders, and arson attacks associated with the early Norwegian black-metal scene any time soon. As Wallach (2008, p. 249) concludes, the Indonesian underground has ‘had little impact on either family relationships or religious belief or practice’ at least not in any outward, obvious or immediate sense (as Wallach later goes on to qualify his own statement). The band members of both Saffar and Jihad, for example, thank ‘Allah SWT’ and ‘Muhammad SWA’ inside their album booklets (Mandatory El Arshy and Origin of the Rebels Angels respectively). [17] The number of musicians who have renounced Islam in their personal lives is extremely tiny. In fact, death-metal in Indonesia, and heavy-metal more generally, brings together people from diverse religions. For example, in Devo, Roy and Sofyan are Muslims whereas Oki is a Catholic (and is conversant with the main bands and albums of the Christian metal scene in the west).

Ethics, values, and the self-policing of the scene
Sub-section introduction
Oki of Devo says about his band’s deceased vocalist Agung (1977-2000) that he was a ‘death-metal guy who lived the death-metal life’ (personal interview, Yogya, 13 October 2011). Interview quotes from death-metal musicians in James (2009), and especially the quotes from the former Suffocation drummer Mike Smith, give us some insights into the applied and evolving ethics and values of death-metal. We explore this topic in relation to the Indonesian scenes in this fourth section.

The self-policing of the scene as a death-metal value
In terms of the self-policing of the scene, Oki of Devo says that, in the early years of the ‘Jogjakarta Corpse Grinder’ death-metal community people would identify other members of the community by the community T-shirt.[18] The scene strongly policed itself in the early years (late-1990s) by senior people telling other people wearing, for example, Suffocation T-shirts that they should not wear the band’s shirt until they had heard the band’s music. This self-policing of the scene was to protect the scene from ‘posers’ or what are termed in Yogya, according to Oki, abal-abal. Baulch (2007, pp. 55-6, 61-2 and see also the Agus Yanky quote on p. 56) reports Balinese metalheads policing their own scene in a similar way noting the chronological point, after the 1993 riot at the Metallica concert in Jakarta, when Megadeth and Metallica began to be rejected by the scene ‘police’ as being too mainstream. They were then replaced by Bolt Thrower, Cannibal Corpse, and Obituary in the canon (Baulch, 2007, pp. 61, 62). Furthermore, after 1993, Guns’n’Roses tee-shirts could no longer be ‘tolerated’ (Baulch, 2007, p. 62). As Phillipov (2014, pp. 83, 103) points out, following Baulch (2007, pp. 52, 61-2) and Kahn-Harris (2007, p. 122-3), fans display mundane sub-cultural capital by demonstrating their possession of extensive knowledge about scene history, band names, and album names. Mundane sub-cultural capital invested in knowledge of Megadeth and Metallica was then devalued in the Balinese metal scene overnight at that precise historical juncture after the Metallica riot mentioned above. As Baulch (2007, p. 55) writes, the Balinese scene ‘constantly shed commercialized forms’. Oki states that the Yogya scene does not police itself as strictly as it once did because death-metal has rapidly increased in popularity among young people who enjoy wearing metal T-shirts as fashion items. Old-school informal scene policing may not be considered feasible or desirable any longer.
Female musicians, female fans, and the scene
Although Wallach (2008, p. 17) correctly points out that Indonesian popular music scenes are ‘dominated by men’, women are not absent from death-metal. There are female death-metal musicians in Bandung and elsewhere. The most well-known of these is 25-year-old Popo, the vocalist of Demons Damn (Bandung).[19] In interviews and conversations with James, Popo carefully distinguishes herself from female ‘groupies’ who are attracted to band members but have no genuine interest in the music or knowledge of the scene. It appears that Popo feels a need, if only at the subconscious level, to demonstrate her authentic death-metal lifestyle and history to the author and others. Popo does not want to be mistaken for a groupie. In fact her presence produces an interesting subtle shift in dynamics among the male metalheads. Both Popo and the author were on the Bleeding Corpse tour bus for the Bleeding Corpse headlining show in Cibinong on 8-9 October 2011 (departing from Bandung). Popo was the only female among the fifteen or so present for the entire trip. The author believes that her presence slightly and subtly altered the dynamics of interaction. At one level the metalheads respected Popo as one of them and treated her basically as they would a male metalhead (including affectionate touching of arms and slapping of shoulders). However, they were obviously aware, at times only subconsciously, of her feminine power and sensuality, and this made them probably slightly self-conscious and more polite than they might otherwise have been. The light touching of arms to make a point or to attract someone’s attention had a vague sexual aspect when Popo was involved (although studied nonchalance was the only attitude of the male recipients visible to the author). We see here what Wallach (2008, p. 196) refers to as the ‘respecting’ (menghormati) of female power in the traditional Indonesian patriarchal code which is exemplified at dangdut clubs when male audience members give cash gifts to female dancers whilst adhering to the ‘no-touching’ rule. No-one on the tour-bus appeared to resent Popo’s presence and she definitely has strong personal relationships with everyone in the group including now the author. Her relationship, and now marriage (from 12 November 2011), to then Bleeding Corpse and now Hydro vocalist Bobby Rock clearly gives her some sub-cultural capital she may not otherwise have had.
However, much of Popo’s sub-cultural capital is her own as she has known leading scene members in Ujung Berung for a decade and her present band Demons Damn is generally known and respected. The band released its debut album Retaliation through ESP in 2013. Popo is certainly no Yoko Ono figure. She speaks as follows about her early years as a metalhead:
When I was in junior high school I went to some gigs, concerts. Someone took me to some gigs, I just wanted to know [more]; I went by myself. I saw those [bands] on the stage, I didn’t know who is he or which band but I just saw and knew people in the same school; they introduced me, I hung out in the music shop. I asked them about the scene, I was fourteen-years-old [Demons Damn group interview, Bandung, 10 October 2011].
Popo speaks about her personal goals as far as death-metal music is concerned as follows (and here also we can see her need to demonstrate her death-metal authenticity):
For myself and Demons Damn we have different goals. For me I want people to know death-metal is not only for the boy or man; it can be played with the women inside. I learnt much about the metal, I’m not a follower. I have stayed in Ujung Berung for a long time. I [have] played death-metal [since] 2008 [Demons Damn group interview, Bandung, 10 October 2011].
Popo’s next interview response is also important as she is quick to acknowledge the help offered to her early on by Man and Ferly of Jasad:[20]
Interviewer: What is the response of the fans to a female vocalist in death-metal?
Popo: The first time they are shocked that a girl plays in a death-metal band. People don’t know about some bands with women because they can’t promote their bands. I’m very lucky because my friends from Ujung Berung helped me very much to promote my band. Ferly [guitarist for Jasad] asked me to feature in one Jasad show. I had two performances, in Bandung and Malang, just me and Jasad. Man introduced me on stage. After I give the best performance what [else] can I do for death-metal? I showed them I don’t just follow the death-metal [Demons Damn group interview, Bandung, 10 October 2011].
Bobby and Popo explain to the interviewer their mutual attraction and both are quick to point out that neither one was influenced by whether their prospective romantic partner played in a band:
Interviewer: Bobby, how do you feel having death-metal vocalist as girlfriend?
Bobby: It is something like ... whether a singer or not it is the same thing. I don’t like her [because] she is onstage as a vocalist. I like her because of her attitude.
Popo: I knew Bobby before. [The relationship was two years old as at October 2011.] I don’t care that he is the vocalist for Bleeding Corpse. I just know he’s kind, he doesn’t like to play with a girl, he can take care of me, it’s very important [Demons Damn group interview, Bandung, 10 October 2011].
In the author’s interview with Glenn, the vocalist of Bloodgush, the following interesting conversation with Popo shows clearly her attitude towards female groupies and suggests that she does some policing of the scene in order to minimize the disruption which groupies might cause. Male band members are less willing to talk about the topic of groupies, perhaps preferring to keep their options open:
Glenn: Many, many chickees, many young girls here are more and more interested to become the girlfriend of a vocalist.

Popo: But they are afraid to get near Bobby because they are afraid of me [laughs]. In the underground in Indonesia the hot chicks just want to be a girlfriend of a member of the band, they are just groupies. It looks like they understand the music but if I ask them about the music or the members of the band they don’t understand about it.

Glenn: They are listeners...

Popo: The boys feel happy if there are many hot chicks in there but some think they also disturb too much’ [personal interview with Glenn of Bloodgush, Bandung, 10 October 2011].
Weinstein (2000, p. 221) commented that female metalheads are ether ‘sex objects to be used or abused’ or they ‘must renounce their gender and pretend to be one of the boys’. The first quote does not apply as the author only observed Popo being treated with respect. Male metalheads might share porn and sexualize women online or outside of the metal scene but at metal gatherings such behaviour has no room to operate and mutual respect prevails. Popo’s marriage to Bobby and her reputation as Demons Damn vocalist have raised her sub-cultural capital to unassailable levels where unambiguous disrespect would rarely occur.
The second quote from Weinstein (they ‘must renounce their gender and pretend to be one of the boys’) minimizes female metalheads’ ability to existentially create their own workable syntheses of death-metal culture and femininity (more on this later). To be involved deeply in the scene is for Popo and others freely chosen and so the cultural and dress norms of the scene are not in any way repulsive to them. When asked by the author, Popo sidestepped the issue of the standard lyrical theme of violence against women but her face briefly registered disappointment and sadness as the topic was mentioned. She knows she is powerless to change that aspect of death-metal culture in the same way that a Christian metalhead might feel powerless in the face of black-metal’s ideology and lyrics.
Baulch (2007, pp. 16, 26) mentions how in Bali by 1996 the male, working-class image of the rock-concert attendee, still in place at the time of the Metallica riot three years earlier, had given way to the new image of rock concert attendee as middle-class consumer. At this time the concert fan became feminized. In Bandung, several female musicians adhere to a standard underground death-metal identity in terms of dress and outlook such as Maya (Mortality guitarist); Nenx (Girlzeroth guitarist); and Wong Die (Ascention Beauty/ ex-Girlzeroth vocalist). Maya wears a hijab in conjunction with black death-metal T-shirts and hoodies. These women refuse to accommodate, even to a small extent, the look or lifestyle of the fashion-conscious Indonesian woman. Consistent with dress, Popo’s vocals are harsh, deep, and masculine, which is a ‘less sexualized’ (Wallach, 2008, p. 290, n. 7) vocal presence except to those people who find aggressive and deep female vocals sexually interesting. In contrast to Popo, Deana of Youthfull Aggression (who worked as a sales assistant at the former Rockstar shop in Bandung which sold only licensed merchandise) and the female members of Malang band Sister Murder attempt to marry the death-metal look with a more fashion-conscious attitude and appearance.[21]
These women became metalheads via the influence of brothers, fathers, and friends and are as committed to the music and to the lifestyle as male scene members typically are. They did not simply and stereotypically ‘follow a boyfriend’ into the scene. By contrast, Mini (name changed), one-time girlfriend of the Dajjal guitarist Zulf, was once accused of becoming interested in metal ‘only because of Zulf’ (Mini’s online conversation with James, 27 June 2014). Where tension may lie in future is whether female musicians should be given more camera and online media attention than male musicians. Presently this does not seem to be happening overly much. In global metal we have seen this issue arise with the widespread attention given to Arch Enemy due to its female vocalist and to Babymetal (Japan).
Popo speaks also about the members of Bleeding Corpse and how they support their families through death-metal activities and a variety of other jobs, businesses, and projects. It is not possible to survive playing death-metal only (Bleeding Corpse group interview, Cibinong, 8 October 2011). However, Inna, the Bulgarian wife of Addy Gembel (Forgotten vocalist), has put the Bandung scene members’ behaviour in a less flattering light in a personal online communication to the author. She argues that Bandung musicians frequently take advantage of and exploit their wives by using the wives’ jobs to support their musicianly activities. She also claims that when her husband wanted to spend evenings with his young family and not drinking with scene members he was ridiculed. This second incident references the ‘ethic of sociality’ stated by Wallach (2008, pp. 20, 106, 138) to characterize Indonesian music scenes more generally. Inna’s first point is disputed by Popo and it is difficult to get conclusive evidence (beyond anecdotes) on the points she raises.
The collegiality of the scene as a death-metal value
Wallach (2008, pp. 135-6) writes that: ‘paying attention to basic habits of sociality and to fundamental orientations toward physical space, the presence of others, and the burden of responsibility [are] part of an ethnographic perspective that is frequently missing from [popular music] studies’. In Bandung, Dada and Daniel of Turbidity acknowledge the mentoring and encouragement provided to them by the more senior metalheads from the pioneering, first-generation Ujung Berung bands Bleeding Corpse, Burgerkill, Disinfected, Forgotten, Jasad, and Undergod:
Interviewer: What do you think of the Bandung death-metal scene?
Dada: Solid...

Daniel: Huge community, we support each other; all of the genres in Bandung support each other. There are good relationships between the genres.

Interviewer: Who helped you the most when you were a young band?

Daniel: All of the friends in the community who hang out together. We help each other because we have the same vision [Turbidity group interview, Bandung, 10 October 2011].

The vision extends to the metal community which includes not only one band but all bands and hence the ethical obligation extends beyond one’s own band to the community. Similarly, LaVey Pewthers (guitarist) of Bandung death-metal band Devormity states as follows:
LaVey Pewthers (Devormity): Yes, we really enjoy playing music Death Metal in Bandung. Because the band members of ... Jasad, Bleeding Corpse, Turbidity, and Jihad are very friendly, they were never ashamed to mingle with [smaller] Death Metal bands like us. Sometimes they also provide inputs for the advancement of Death Metal bands in Bandung [online personal interview with first-mentioned author, 28 November 2011].
Apart from Inna’s comments, other negative suggestions the author received pertaining to the Bandung metal scene were from Lucky Luke, guitarist for death-metal band Hellbeyond, who claims that it is hard for his band to get gigs in Bandung compared to elsewhere in Java. He ponders aloud whether he has offended anyone in the Bandung scene. Abah Supri also points out that it is relatively difficult for black-metal bands in Bandung to get gigs, relative to death-metal bands, because there is a slogan in Bandung: ‘Black-metal has no crowd’. This perceived outsider status, coming from members of two relatively senior bands in Bandung, resides in the black-versus-death divide in Warkvlt’s case but may be a result of issues of personality or behaviour in the case of Hellbeyond. Lucky Luke suggests that the reason for marginalization may be the fact that Hellbeyond’s members ‘rarely hang out and mingle [nongkrong] with the others’, suggesting again the vital importance of maintaining and being seen to maintain Wallach’s (2008, pp. 20, 106, 138) ‘ethic of sociality’.[22] Wallach (2008, p. 20) explains his concept of ‘ethic of sociality’ with reference to the ‘largely masculine culture of “hanging-out” (nongkrong)’ which he claims ‘cuts across class lines’. He (p. 106) defines the ‘ethic of sociality’ as the situation where ‘the noisy presence of others is not only tolerated but valued’. He (p. 92) gives the example of when ‘hanging out’ (nongkrong) at the recording studio is perceived as equally important as the functional task of recording songs and he notes that nongkrong is still valued at times when there is no recording to be done. For its part, the Bandung black-metal scene arranged its own black-metal festival called Rise of Darkness on 24 August 2014 (featuring 28 bands) as a part of its goal to come out of the shadow cast by death-metal. It should be noted that Edo aka Edz, Hellbeyond guitarist, stated to the author that the lack of gigs being due to absence of nongkrong was ‘Luke’s perception only’. He went on to add that “‘introvert” is a more fitting word for us’ (rather than ‘people unwilling to nongkrong’). Edo suggests (personal interview, 11 December 2014, Bandung) that the lack of Bandung gigs for Hellbeyond may be more due to the facts that Luke lives 130 kilometres away in Jakarta and that he has three other bands including the popular Godless Symptoms (Cimahi).
There is definitely a rock-hierarchy of bands in Bandung and bill line-ups reflect rigid social stratification so that young and talented bands without connections (sub-cultural capital) often find it difficult to progress up bills or become headliners. This seems to be truer in Bandung than in provincial cities such as Cibinong or Depok. By contrast, bands with legendary band members (such as the supergroup Kaluman) are parachuted into prominence and do not need to ‘pay their dues’ in ways that younger unconnected bands have to.[23] Demi Rialdi from Sukabumi, the founder of Grim Death Reviews, complained via Facebook about Burgerkill headlining Bandung Biersik 2014 for the millionth time: ‘They already became the headliner so many times! They don’t give small band a chance at all to grow!’ Bands from outside Bandung are often placed very low down the bills at Bandung festivals. For example, progressive death-metal band Cranial Incisored (Yogya) was 17th on the bill at Bandung Biersik 2011 and this band is perhaps second only in significance to Devo in its home-city. Above it on the bill that day were Bandung bands Burgerkill (first), Jasad (second), Forgotten (fourth), Disinfected (eighth), Bleeding Corpse (10th), and Turbidity (14th).[24]
The following humorous exchange during the Dajjal band interview shows that Popo is keenly aware of the Bandung rock-hierarchy. Despite or perhaps because of the fact that she has personally benefited from its existence and activities, she does not feel a need to repress discussion of the topic:
Interviewer: Why didn’t you tell me about Dajjal ha? [smiling]

Popo: I always tell you that Bandung has many good bands but why you always ask me about Bleeding Corpse and Jasad? [all laughing]

Popo: Don’t write about the bands Jasad and Bleeding Corpse! [smiling] [Dajjal group interview, Bandung, 22 January 2014].

As occurs very often in Indonesia, humour is used to cover feelings of embarrassment when discussing sensitive topics.
The young college student Sendy, of melodic death-metal band Nemesis, replies in very humble and characteristically Indonesian fashion to Popo’s question in the Nemesis interview (below), and both question and response attest powerfully to the presence of a rock-hierarchy in Bandung death-metal:

Popo: Now the metal scene in Bandung always plays the same bands. Even Event Organisers and people making gigs always play the same bands. Do you think there is regeneration?

Sendy: I don’t know about that. For me I just always say to myself: ‘Our turn is not now’ [Nemesis group interview, Bandung, 22 January 2014].

Some Bandung musicians, such as Sendy of Nemesis, Karkash of Amora Savage (thrash-metal) and Dajjal (death-metal), and Edo of Hellbeyond (death-metal), have made a decision to maintain separateness from the scene and just to pursue their own creative and artistic efforts not in opposition to the scene but with a less dependent attitude. These musicians respect the pioneering bands but they want to keep an element of separateness. They also increasingly look to outside the country for promotion and recording opportunities and for validation and they are closer to the tormented-artist cliché inhabited in the past by people such as Richie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen (an idol for Karkash). As Wallach (2008, p. 137) states ‘[s]olitary creation is not highly valued [in Indonesia], though it is admitted as a possibility’.
Some Bandung musicians (and not necessarily the three people named above) have even been known to joke about the hierarchical nature of the Bandung death-metal scene as well as the rock-star image of some of its senior individuals. These musicians imply that the leading bands have reached the point of reification (the concept is present but not the word), and they appear freer to make such jokes in public outside of Bandung (for example in Jakarta). In the capital city there is no longer the feeling of someone looking over your shoulder or listening in on conversations as can be the impression in Bandung. In Jakarta the hierarchy and reputations of the Bandung scene do not seem to be and cannot be fully operational. In Foucauldian terns the Ujung Berung faction’s “secret-police” are now present in people’s consciousness when not physically present in reality (for example in a deserted suburban nasi-goreng stall in the early morning hours).   

TURBIDITY band (2011)
This paper has explored issues of values, ethics, and sub-cultural capital within the death-metal scenes of Bandung and Yogyakarta. Using Kahn-Harris’ (2007) concepts of transgressive and mundane sub-cultural capital, the Bandung and Yogyakarta scenes are in an interesting position where their seemingly mundane acts of congregating in public places en masse wearing the black gore-metal tee-shirt ‘uniform’ (Baulch, 2007, pp. 54, 60, 62) are interesting, transgressive, and even slightly threatening within the context of a socially conservative Islamic society. Furthermore, because of the importance of the Ujung Berung-ESP death-metal faction, we have argued that death-metal is hegemonic in the Bandung underground ahead of black-metal, hardcore, punk, and power-metal (which has a negligible presence in the city). Therefore, to use the Japanese-language terms used in Condry (2006), we see aspects of both shinjinrui and otaku operating in Bandung.

We would like to thank the two anonymous referees and all of our interviewees and language interpreters. Special thanks are due to Popo (Demons Damn), Bobby Rock (Hydro), Butche (The Cruel), Man and Ferly (Jasad), and Zemo Cabalero (Homeless Dawg Merch) in Bandung; Oki and Sofyan (Death Vomit), Corna Irawan (former Death Vomit manager), and Nilu ( in Yogyakarta; Dimas Bramantyo (Valerian), Samier (Tengkorak), and COLOR 87.8FM in Surabaya; Willy Damien (Umbra Mortis) in Jakarta; DHOHO TV in Kediri; and Jason Hutagalung of Xenophobic Worldwide (Melbourne).

Baulch, E. (2003), “Gesturing elsewhere? The identity politics of the Balinese death/thrash metal scene”, Popular Music, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 195-215.
Baulch, E. (2007), Making Scenes: Reggae, Punk, and Death Metal in 1990s Bali (Durham, NC: Duke University Press).
Bourdieu, P. (1979), Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (London: Routledge).
Bourdieu, P. (1993), The Field of Cultural Production (Oxford: Polity Press).  
Brenhouse, H. (2011), “This ain’t America: Indonesian pop star gets jail time for sex tape”, 1 February,, accessed online: [accessed 13 December 2011].
Clack, R. and P. Hutchinson (2009), The London of Jack the Ripper: Then and Now, Revised and updated edition (Derby: Breedon Books).
Condry, I. (2006), Hip-hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization (Durham, NC: Duke University Press).
James, K. (2009), “From ‘the undead will feast’ to ‘the time to kill is now’: Frankfurt School and Freudian perspectives on death-metal”, Musicology Australia, Vol. 31, pp. 17-39.
Kahn-Harris, K. (2007), Extreme Metal – Music and Culture on the Edge (London and New York, NY: Berg).
Lamb, K. (2011), “Sharia police arrest ‘punks’ in Indonesia’s Aceh”, Voice of America, 14 December, available online: [accessed 15 December 2011].
Lydon, John, Zimmerman, K. and K. Zimmerman (1994), Rotten: No Irish, no Blacks, no Dogs (London: Plexus Publishing).
Phillipov, M. (2006), “‘None so vile?” Towards an ethics of death metal”, Southern Review, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 74-85.
Phillipov, M. (2014), Death Metal and Music Criticism: Analysis at the Limits, Paperback edition (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books).
Rondonuwu, O. (2011), “Indonesia jails pop star over internet sex tape”,, 31 January, available online: [accessed 13 December 2011].
Sharpe-Young, G. (2001), Rock Detector A-Z of Death Metal (London: Cherry Red Books).
Thompson, E.C. (2002), “Rocking east and west: the USA in Malaysian music”, in: Global goes Local: Popular Culture in Asia”, T.J. Craig and R. King (Eds.), Global goes Local: Popular Culture in Asia (Honololu, HW: University of Hawai’i Press), pp. 58-79.
Thornton, S. (1995), Club Cultures: Music, Media and Sub-cultural Capital (Cambridge: Polity Press).
Wallach, J. (2008), Modern Noise, Fluid Genres: Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997-2001 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press).
Weinstein, D. (2000), Heavy Metal: the Music and its Culture (Boulder, CO: Da Capo).
Weinstein, D. (2011), in: Metal Rules the Globe: Heavy Metal Music around the World, J. Wallach, H. M. Berger and P. D. Greene (Eds.) (Durham, NC: Duke University Press). 
Whittington-Egan, R. (1985), Tales of Liverpool: Murder, Mayhem & Mystery (Liverpool: The Gallery Press).

[1] According to Kahn-Harris (2007) the extreme-metal ‘scene’ is such that an individual metalhead spends part of her/his life operating within the scene and the rest of her/his life operating outside the scene. For example, when Mr Corna Irawan, the former band manager of Death Vomit, works in his day-job at the bank he is operating outside the scene but when he is involved in metal-related activities he is operating within the scene.
[2] In our count of 61 we included bands based in the satellite-cities of Soreang and Cimahi. Smaller Bandung bands not listed on the site include Ascention Beauty, Bloodgush, Girlzeroth, and Pandemonium. Hellbeyond is listed as ‘status unknown’ whereas the author confirmed with Hellbeyond guitarist Edo that the band is presently active (personal interview, 11 December 2014, Bandung).
[3] Another Bandung death-metal compilation Brutally Sickness Orgasm Mutilation (Extreme Souls Production) features tracks from each of 26 death-metal bands. However, this CD is different in that it includes previously released tracks and some non-Bandung bands.
[4] Jasad and Undergod specifically incorporate Sundanese cultural themes into their lyrics (see Jasad’s Rebirth of Jatisunda album from 2013) while Man Jasad’s other band Karinding Attack combines death-metal vocals with traditional Sundanese instrumentation.
[5] Warhammer was called Genital Cavity at the date of the interview (13 October 2011).
[6] Pictures from Bandung Death Fest #6 held on 29 September 2012 can be viewed at the following link: [accessed 15 July 2014].This #6 Fest was notable for the appearance of new band Dismemberment Torture featuring the ex-Jasad drummer Dani aka ‘Papap’ and the Bloodgush vocalist Glenn. Papap had just recovered from injuries sustained in a 2011 motorcycle accident. His hospital costs were paid for in part by a metal community-administered fund which the first-mentioned author contributed to.
[7] See [accessed 19 November 2014].
[8] Band genres were cheeked via and the bands’ Facebook pages. The results were then cross-checked against the results of an ‘advanced search’ on for ‘Indonesia [country]’ and ‘black-metal’.
[9] See: [accessed 8 June 2014].  
[10] Death-metal musicians in Indonesia often pose for band pictures western style with excessively large empty spaces between the personnel. Examples would be the Jasad band picture at (as at 16 December 2011) and Disinfected’s band picture inside its Aku Akan Bunuh Kami CD (Rottrevore Records). If Indonesians really walked down city streets in the manner of Disinfected’s picture many pedestrians and motorcycles would literally travel in the gaps between the band members. Western death-metal bands have for a long time used excessive empty gaps between band members to communicate the alienation, aggression, and defensiveness usually associated with people with abnormally large ‘personal spaces’. Interestingly, one other situation where large personal spaces exist is in late nineteenth century pictures of slum areas in England where residents in street-scene pictures stand defensively just inside their respective front doors thus simultaneously guarding those entrances from intruders and providing themselves with quick means of escape should developments on the street turn nasty (see, for example, the cover picture of Tales of Liverpool by Whittington-Egan (1985) and the classic 1901 Living London picture of street women and children in Flower and Dean Street, Whitechapel, East London, reproduced on p. 40 of Clack and Hutchinson (2009)).
[11] See previous footnote.
[12] Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse states as follows (interview dated 15 May 2006): ‘The thing is that death metal as a genre is only about twenty two or twenty three years old. It was started by young people and there's never been a tradition of guys in their thirties or forties playing death metal -- that tradition is being written as we speak’ [, accessed 9 November 2011]. Our comment is that the May 2006 interview date means that Webster puts the beginning of death-metal as in 1983 or 1984 which is extremely early.
[13] Man Jasad and Popo of Demons Damn’s parents presently (as at 12 December 2014) live within a kilometre of each other in the inner-eastern suburb of Cicaheum, rather than in Ujung Berung itself. The major arterial road connecting central Bandung with Ujung Berung in the outer eastern suburbs is Jalan Jendral A. H. Nasution (which changes its name from Jl. Jendral Ahmad Yani around Cicaheum) (Source: Popo / Google Maps).
[14] The Afro-Asian Conference of Non-Aligned Nations was held in Bandung from 18-24 April 1955. It included those nations aligned with neither the United States nor the Soviet Union and hence it represented a third-way.
[15] A main reason for Jasad’s high sub-cultural capital is that it is signed to Sevared Records (Rochester, NY, USA) (Zulf, Dajjal Guitarist, Dajjal group interview, Bandung, 22 January 2014).
[16] The first-mentioned author owns one of the original posters advertising the 9 October date.
[17] Both Saffar and Jihad are part of the secular Bandung scene rather than the Islamist metal scene (centred in Jakarta) which is non-existent in Bandung. The important topic of the relationship between Islam and heavy-metal in Indonesia may be pursued further in a follow-up paper by the authors.
[18] This is the organization for the death-metal community of Yogyakarta.
[19] Popo’s age is at the date of first interview 8 October 2011. Two younger female death-metal vocalists in Bandung are Widdy (Girlzeroth) and Wong Die (Ascention Beauty/ ex-Girlzeroth) and in Surabaya (East Java) there was until recently Niza of Climaxeth and Osiris. In the first half of 2014 Niza quit both her bands and pulled down her Facebook profile so that she could devote herself more fully to her university life and Islamic self-development. For a book-chapter on the female Malaysian heavy-rock vocalist Ella, see Thompson (2002).
[20] We include this quotation not to demonstrate that ‘women need men’ but to show how the senior bands in Ujung Berung take proactive steps to mentor and support the junior bands.
[21] See Youthfull Aggression interview and band picture at the following link: [accessed 9 June 2014].
[22] Similarly, Baulch (2007, p. 149) notes that the death-metal band Phobia refused to join the then Balinese death-metal community organization called 1921.
[23] It is very common for Bandung scene identities to play in two, three or even four bands.
[24] Source: Original festival flyer sent to the first-mentioned author by Abah of Warkvlt on 13 November 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment

CONCERT REVIEW: SAXON, live @ Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Scotland, 21 November 2022, by KIeran James.

SAXON concert review – Glasgow, Scotland, 21 November 2022, by Kieran James “We stood in the dark and the band played on” It wasn’t a no...