Bandung Rocks, Cibinong Shakes: economics and applied ethics within the Indonesian Death-Metal Community

Kieran James, Rex Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


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 suggest 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 goremetal T-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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-46
Number of pages19
JournalMusicology Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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