Religion and heavy metal music in Indonesia

Kieran James, Rex Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
223 Downloads (Pure)


We trace the history of Indonesian Islamic metal bands, including Purgatory, Tengkorak and Kodusa, and the One Finger Movement that revolved around these bands (centred mainly on Jakarta). We look at the differences in symbols, heroes, rituals and values between One Finger Movement bands and the Bandung (Indonesia) secular Death Metal scene. We also study Bandung Death Metal band Saffar, which was known for its Islamic lyrics on its debut album but which has been for a few years in something of a limbo owing to the departure of vocalist and lyricist Parjo. We also look at Saffar's positioning of itself as a 'secular' band with Islamic and Anti-Zionist lyrical themes rather than as an Islamic band per se. This dichotomy can be best explained by the phrase 'a band of Muslims rather than a Muslim band'. The secular Bandung scene context is a significant explanatory factor here.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-297
Number of pages22
JournalPopular Music
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Bandung
  • Death Metal music
  • Heavy Metal music
  • Indonesia
  • Indonesian Islam
  • Indonesian popular music
  • One Finger Movement
  • Jakarta


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