Following the path of the Prophet from Makka to Medina: hijra and the Indonesian Death Metal musicians

Kieran Edmond James*, Khrisnamurti Khrisnamurti

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article uses Horkheimer and Adorno’s dialectic of enlightenment and Adorno’s negative dialectics to situate Indonesian Death Metal musicians’ abandonment of the scene (subculture) so as to explore religion. The research method used is literature search, participant-observation, and semi-structured interviews with Indonesian Death Metal musicians conducted over the period 2018-2019 for this subproject. Adorno might have seen it as using religious faith to critique Western liberal-democracy and rationality but, if that is the case, it requires us to view Western decadence and rationality as opposite sides of the same coin, with both being integrated, not separate, aspects of the Western culture infusing the global metal scene. This is what the Islamic resistance project is all about for those who leave the scene and for the religious ones who remain. The latter seek meaning beyond or outside of conventional understandings of metal lyrics and discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-549
Number of pages19
JournalAdvances in Applied Sociology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2023


  • Adorno
  • death metal music
  • dialectic of enlightenment
  • Frankfurt School
  • hijra
  • Indonesian Islam
  • Islam and popular music
  • negative dialectics
  • religious turn


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