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Gesturing Elsewhere: The Identity Politics of the Balinese Death/Thrash Metal Scene

Author(s): Emma Baulch
Source: Popular Music, Vol. 22, No. 2 (May, 2003), pp. 195-215
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3877610
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Popular Music (2003) Volume 22/2 Copyright ? 2003 Cambridge University Press, pp 195-215
DOI 10 1017/S026114300300312X Printed in the United Kingdom

Gesturing
of
politics
thrash

metal

elsewhere:
the
Balinese

the

identity
death/

scene

EMMA BAULCH
Abstract
Thisessayexploresthepoliticalsignificanceof Balinesedeath/thrash
fandom.In theearly1990s, the
tourismdevelopscenein Baliparalleled
of a death/thrash
growingcriticismof accelerated
emergence
menton the island.Specifically,
localsprotestedthe increasingubiquityof Jakarta,'thecentre',cast
Balineseculture.Similarly,death/thrash
enthusias threateningto an authentically'low',peripheral
asts alsogravitatedtowardcertainfringes,althoughtheyrejecteddominantnotionsof Balinese-ness
by gesturingelsewhere,towarda globalscene.Theessay exploresthe ways in whichdeath/thrash
enthusiastsengagedwith localdiscoursesbycovetingtheirmarginality,
andaimsto demonstrate
how
in importantways to a broaderregionalism.
theirarticulationsof 'alien-ness'contributed

Introduction
Throughout the 1990s, death metal bands formed an important part of the Balinese
band scene, as became publicly evident in the mid-1990s when the island's first
regular, pan-genre gig, Sunday Hot Music (SHM), was established. In 1994 and
1995, SHM ran over four consecutive Sundays in the month of May. By 1996, owing
to increasing numbers of bands applying to perform at the event, SHM went
biweekly, and every second Sunday it showcased a varied line-up that included
reggae, death metal, punk, alternative, and Top 40 covers bands.
In 1996, death metal performances at SHM were notable for the pro-active
audience responses they inspired. Unlike the dumbstruck motionlessness that
greeted Balinese punk bands, death metal performances were celebrated by scores
of headbangers who, bent over like a rugby scrum, surged and receded, whirling
their black manes. Certainly, the two genres had roots in distinct places. Balinese
punk was spawned by the opening of the Indonesian recording industry to investment by multinational recording labels in 1994,1 and the subsequent popularisation
of the US-based alternative scene. This was considerably aided by MTV's extended
global reach and the inclusion, in the mid-1990s, of MTV Asia in commercial station
ANTeve's daily programming.2
The Balinese death metal scene, meanwhile, predated the advent of MTV Asia
on the island. Fed by a global extreme metal underground, notable for its absence
on MTV, a death metal fandom emerged in Bali as early as 1990. Over the course
of the 1990s, the scene was characterised by a series of discursive shifts, but it also
contained elements of consistency. For example, there was an enduring stress on
archival knowledge, which enthusiasts fetishised, thus revealing their desire to hold
195

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local texts also served as important indigenising addenda. and steered well away from the binary positioning Warren describes. 1921 gradually became dedicated to thrash metal. they conflated established dichotomies such as masquerade/essence. as if into a mirror. Warren also notes (1998.89. 11). by orienting themselves towards a global elsewhere. before it was wound up in 1994. The period covered by this essay. For this. called 1921 in reference to its twice-weekly slot (19 hrs-21 hrs. 5. eager to get a fix on their true (onstage) selves. In this way. By alluding to local narratives concerning an illicit underworld. They preferred ambiguous. Kreator. at community-based gigs. but operated as This content downloaded from 200. it was outwards to the global scene that they looked. 6 February 1998) recalled. and following that death metal. 261). Commonly. parallels the emergence of a regionalist discourse in Bali which contested accelerated tourism development on the island (Warren 1994. Although death metal musicians privileged an 'unseen' global underground over present. For example. however. p. Begun in the late 1980s as a heavy metal show. Slayer and Metallica. As I demonstrate below. and retained carnivalesque modes of resistance. a disparate. p. dress and dance styles strikingly contrasted those of the reggae enthusiasts. it became rooted to the locale by way of 'strategic anti-essentialism' (Lipsitz 1994).' In this regard. often by melding 'traditional' sounds with foreign musical codes (Lent 1995. locals lay claim to dominant cultural forms by hybridising them. Appadurai 1996. they also averted the essentialising tendencies of the tourism industry's ideology of market 'logic'. by which the death/thrashers' gestures elsewhere served to accentuate the conditions of their oppression in the locale. 94) the essentialising tendencies of a broader regionalist discourse. death metal enthusiasts refrained from articulations of identity which were clearly at odds with the official youth ideal. local repertoires. p. the death thrashers contested tourism in a stylised and performative fashion. e-mail discussion list or subscriber-based community radio. 1921 did not merely link otherwise disparate listeners in the manner of a cyber chat room. Lakha 1999. when 1921 broadcast songs by thrash metal bands such as Megadeth. Denpasar-based thrash fandom was unearthed. Radio Yudha.196 Emma Baulch to certainty and known truth. As Agus Yanky (interview. commonly identified with the tourism industry. Balinese death thrashers echoed a broader regionalist discourse by fetishising their marginality in opposition to reggae's overwhelming popularity. Balinese death metal musicians did not indigenise the genre in this fashion. and broadcast on a local community radio station. However. affective modes of resistance. and many of its listeners. 1998).3 It also parallels the popularisation of reggae. Territorialising the global scene Denpasar's death metal scene had its roots in a radio programme. p. p. This unearthing took place as increasing numbers of enthusiasts responded to the new show by visiting the studio at the time of the broadcasts. whilst they contested tourism in this stylised fashion. every Saturday and Sunday). the death thrashers effected a form of dread (Hebdige 1973.16. which 'tends toward a binary positioning antitethic to the carnival-subversive attitude of popular taste. In this way. 7. the politics of death/thrash fandom differed from the broader regionalist discourse. Rather. 1990-4. Significantly. East/West. for their postures. following the developing tastes of its announcer Agus Yanky. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .152 on Mon.

in the way in which products of a global scene were consumed and reproduced in Bali .89. (Dek Ben) The importance of territory was affirmed by the way in which death metal enthusiasts began to stake out public and bodily spaces for the display of symbols of death/thrash fandom once they had established the Yudha studio as a home territory. often on the marginsof society . Talk about music.. 'others would be in their trendy get-ups. exchange tapes. We'd wear all black with holes in our clothes . p. the production of self-designed black tee shirts and the kind of uniquely Balinese drinking rituals that serve to knit male solidarity.. ride around in convoys. This attests to the importance of face to face interaction. such as the Kumbasari market and the cassette store. for they were worn as the death thrashers began to extend out from their 'home territory' (Lyman and Scott 1989) at Radio Yudha to stage exhibitions in more public arenas. (Moel [EternalMadness] and Hendra [Epilepsy]) We got to know each other at 1921. after hearing the show. Pretty soon. At Radio Yudha. thus drawing attention to the practice's desire to veil literal meaning in mystery. It just matteredthat you liked the music.has always had an element of making space for oneself. information exchange.Gesturing elsewhere 197 a call to prayer. and after a while all of us had formed into bands. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .16. and to perform this aesthetic in a public arena. Categories of belonging and group identification were established at Radio Yudha when the people who gathered there began to adopt the universal death metal aesthetic. The role of the Radio Yudha hangout in the embodiment of death/thrash fandom echoes Hetherington's (1998B. in the years between 1990 and 1994. we'd come together en masse. There would be peanut shells strewn around everywhere. p. That'swhat united us. sucking disparate enthusiasts from family compounds scattered all over Denpasar. The embodiment of death metal began at the Radio Yudha studios with the making of tee shirts which eventually covered the death/thrash mob in a uniform blackness. en masse. (Behead) We all met at Yudha. Maybe it was a kind of exhibition. that enthusiasts primarily saw Radio Yudha as a territory rather than a form of media is evident from these comments: There was a radio programthat played thrash metal. 329) observations concerning the relationship between space and youth identities: The history of youth culture. We didn't care.. Enthusiasts' recollections are particularly revealing of the significance of this performative vocabulary.4 It was thus that a death/thrash fandom became territorialised. It was by way of this uniform that the genre exhibited itself in local spaces..152 on Mon. We used to hang out there. we would gather there. of creating a turf and finding one's place. These tee shirts were emblazoned with the names of death metal and thrash bands. The tee shirts served as 'performative vocabulary' (Bell and Valentine 1995. It didn't matterwhere you came from. where issues of inclusion and exclusion can be determinedby establishingcategoriesof belonging and group identification. and bringing them together in a space in which fixity was achieved through tape swapping.a theme which later emerged among Balinese punks (Baulch 2002B). we'd be different. 1921. Istana Musik. For example.whether that be spectacularsubculturesor more ordinaryand conformistpractices. we had formed our own band. That black tee shirts were meant to demonstrate pride in a marginal status is evident in Age's recollection of how. People came there one by one. By the time we left the place would be a mess because we would drink there. unmistakeable for their illegibility. both located in central Denpasar. and particularly of drinking sessions. 143). to show that This content downloaded from 200.

and the two dozen-odd drummers who played in death metal bands in the early.to mid-1990s shared a single double pedal. death/thrash marginality was increasingly fetishised as the Balinese scene's access to a global. Separatis. and were expressly excluded from tourism venues. however. and made the need for interaction and exchange among them ever more acute. A further sense of marginality was imposed as a result of death/thrash bands' reliance on the double pedal which beats the bass drum in quick succession. 117) assertion that 'the metal subculture follows black and Chicano movements in making a strong sense of negative marginality a badge of honour'. According to Ari. That often makes it difficult for us. Epilepsy. Similarly. both were barred from future events. the organisers said'. and then when a lot of people began to copy the style and play Sepulturait became kind of trendy and we started playing grindcore. Two bands from the local thrash metal scene. As Agus Yanky (6 February 1998) recalled. This marginality was at once imposed and orchestrated. p.we wanted to do something different. Slayer cover band. supporting Weinstein's (1991. 1921's Pied Piper-like capacity to pull disparate listeners from their respective solaces to a snug.152 on Mon.5 Because none of the practice studios on the island were equipped with double pedals. and Sacred Reich cover band. thrash and death metal bands had no such career prospects. Indeed it was we who popularisedthe likes of Anthraxand SacredReich.89. many of which had contracts with hotels or tourist bars. 'they didn't get hired again because their music was too hard. Indeed. really hard'. Agus Yanky (6 February 1998) remembered how When thrashwas all the rage. but it's difficult. like Metallica. communal home territory suggests a common sense of isolation. The scarcity of this necessary piece of equipment enhanced the death metal musicians' sense of marginality. (Arwah) For their part. did the organisers become aware that they were thrash metal cover bands and. But more than simply a badge of pride.before that Halloween and Iron Maiden had been big. 'when Phobia was formed in 1993 there were many death and thrash metal bands. You can learn it. and it may not be surprising that death/thrash dress style was primarily a validation of difference and marginality. the death metal musicians had to supply their own. For example.Anthrax. something really. To practicewe need a double pedal. Top 40 and classic hits cover bands. a regular weekly gig was established for local bands at a newly-built amphitheatre in the Nusa Dua hotel complex on the island's southern peninsula. All of us. Not until after their performances. including death metal enthusiastsfrom This content downloaded from 200. in 1992. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .16. extreme metal underground broadened. After their Indonesian concerts and the mass enthusiasm they generated. Unlike the reggae. consequently. Dek Ben claimed the genre's absence on television as a source of pride: Death metal has a very specialised appeal. People were bored with heavy metal . We wanted something more climactic. (Behead) Of course the difficult thing about playing death metal is the double pedal. This became evident as the scene constantly shed commercialised forms as a way of averting recuperation. Balinese enthusiasts also came to see Sepultura and Metallica fandom as instances of inauthenticity. bassist for death metal band Phobia. There aren'tenough facilities here. were invited to play at the inaugural gig. death metal enthusiasts offered the defence of priding themselves on their marginal status.198 Emma Baulch we were a community'.

Roccor 2000). Harrell 1994. Community.but with a unique twist . That'swhy it's part of the underground. I offer a brief review of the existing literature on various forms of metal. But neither was metal exclusively the property of a bourgeois or 'new rich' class in Indonesia. 110) heavy metal fans. it is primarily concerned with demonstrating that metal.a 'performative vocabulary' which served as both 'a marking of difference (from heterosexual hegemonies) and as the marking of sameness (creating a cohesive group identity essential for the formation of recognisable "communities" and so on)' (Bell and Valentine 1995. Arnett 1995. Ratherthan naively calling for utopian peace. There may be two reasons for this.Gesturing elsewhere 199 the West. Firstly.you can't see it but it has a vast network.16. p.. 97) asserts that: Clearly. Following Weinstein's (1991.152 on Mon. as became evident in its hierarchies of authenticity which gestured towards a global scene. Blue collar backlash? For the most part. Most of them were university students whose parents had helped them to buy guitars and approved of their music-related 'hobby'. 13. But death metal's performative vocabulary does not automatically qualify it as an instance of the genre's indigenisation. for Balinese death thrashers were most optimistic about the prospects of their participation in global capitalism. then. It frequently served as a site of class struggle. Whilst death metal enthusiasts were eager to identify the genre as oppositional and marginal. has its own codes of morality or. Weinstein 1991. Before expanding on this point.highly managed societies. When I met Dede in 1996. p. The enthusiasts cited here were distinctly bourgeois. p. 115) heavy metal. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .. alternatively. too.. and establish some aspects of the Balinese scene's uniqueness. he was living in a luxury housing estate in Yogyakarta. feel that only a certainkind of person can enjoy this music. 143).. you can't see it on TV. and death and thrash metal enjoyed popularity among workers and bourgeoisie alike. the Balinese scene seemed preoccupied with an elsewhere. was performed by means of a uniform aesthetic .death metal presents a consistent moral standardto its audience. the future seemed relatively bright. due to its specific historical context. Walser 1993. p. 107) argument that 'heavy metal was born amidst the ashes of a failed revolution' and that 'the . pp. it speaks to the frustrationsfelt by young people as they struggle against the inherent weaknesses of institutional. Indeed. and for the majority of them. this literature is located in the context of metal's demonisation in the US. and in spite of its territorial bent. Nor were the death thrashers people who found 'an ideological home in nostalgic utopia as a response to declining economic opportunities' as were Weinstein's (1991. fragmentations (of the 1960s counterculture in 1968) was the environment in which the metal subculture surfaced'. use of terms such as 'underground' and 'anti-trendy' did not differentiate the Balinese version from the global extreme metal scene.89. But Harrell's characterisation of American death metal as the 'unofficial expression of industrialism's emotional isolation and violence' does not ring true for the Balinese scene. He purchased This content downloaded from 200. Harrell (1994. it receives a lot of information from outside but it's invisible. which did not pose a pessimistic and slurring addendum to a hopeful 1960s counterculture. a standardlargely inherited from the sixties' counterculture. As a result. the Balinese death/thrash scene was not 'steeped in blue collar ethos'. Death metal rockers say the appeal of their music is its anger. unlike Weinstein's (1991. attributing its emergence to societal failures (Epstein and Pratto 1990.

Moreover. Unlike Balinese punk.recordingson small labels and fanzines. However. loose kind of space'. they tended self-consciously to obscure any aspect of the practice which may have been construed as 'oppositional'. In the few accounts of the emergence of alternative and underground music scenes in the final years of Indonesia's New Order regime. For example. Domestically. and especially in the early 1990s. is more aptly applied to the current study than any of the above-cited studies of heavy metal.152 on Mon. order-obsessed regime had been in power for twenty-five years. and attest to the decentralised nature of the global extreme metal scene Harris describes. suggesting that workers may have also played a significant role in the transmission of death metal to Bali.a fact which rendered them almost irrepressible. Such ambiguity becomes evident in the death-thrashers' hierarchies of authenticity. As I shall argue below. for example. By the time American youth were flowing into HaightAshbury to celebrate the Summer of Love. respectively. tape trading. p. and characterises the global extreme metal scene as a 'flexible. in the late 1980s. He explores the implications of Brazilian death metal band Sepultura's career for the way in which the local is maintained within global scenes. centralised. recopied and circulated in the Balinese scene.200 Emma Baulch via mail order many of the cassettes which were subsequently copied. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . began to be circulatedthroughletterwriting. When a death metal scene emerged in Bali in the early 1990s. This content downloaded from 200. where esoteric death and thrash metal titles were more easily accessible. Bali was embroiled in a violent counter-revolution. was always highly decentralised. the emergence of a death/thrash fandom was therefore neither totally reliant on government policy nor on the growth of a metropolitan bourgeoisie. one of the few scholarly writings on death metal. including places as diverse as Chile. or antithetical to official discourses of identity. Many of its recipientsnever met anybodyfrom it face to face and it was never relianton local scenes. Their modes of resistance were much more ambiguous . the Balinese death/thrash scene's links to a global underground were via Indonesian commercial distributors such as Indosemar Sakti and Suara Sentral Sejati which distributed albums on underground labels Nuclear Blast and Earache. Harris' (2000) essay. the sources supplying the Balinese death/ thrash scene with albums were many and varied. which gestured elsewhere.. this authoritarian.89. 14) There are some aspects of the Balinese scene which accord with Harris' characterisation. many of the death metal albums that could be bought from ad hoc roadside stalls in Surabaya had been brought into the country by Javanese migrant workers returning home from Malaysia. In Bali. Initially. p. the Balinese death thrashers did not resist in this 'mirror image' fashion. these practices have been described as oppositional and resistant. which . Pickles (2001. bureaucratic Indonesian state'.(Harris2000.. Sepultura fandom was rife among Javanese construction workers on the island. which was sparked by the concomitant state deregulatory policies and rising cosmopolitanism among 'new rich' Indonesian youth. this music also fed a working class fandom. In the first half of the 1990s. rather than hopefully anticipating progressive change. an estimated tens of thousands of people had been killed on the island during the 1966-8 holocaust which marked the transition from the regime of Sukarno to Suharto's 'New Order' (Cribb 1990). In fact. In 1968.. Malaysiaand Israel.. 62) describes Indonesian punk collectives as 'a mirror opposition to the hierarchical. From a very early stage 'The Underground' .bands from countriesoutside of the traditionalAnglo-American'core'of the recording industry were influential in its development. Nor was the Balinese scene born from the failure of a 1960s counterculture.16.

In that year. The diffuse nature of the global extreme metal scene which fed Balinese youths' enthusiasm for death metal supports Harris' suggestion that it was not reliant on an Anglo-American core. as Sepultura increasingly attended to Brazilian issues. 6 February 1998).152 on Mon. in the early 1990s.6 Challenging Harris' contention that scene members across the globe interacted on an equal basis. which linked disparate scenes all over the world to a global underground. but they also highlight the importance of punning and word play in strategies of resistance and critique during the New Order period. for national fandoms engage with discursive contexts that are unique to each locale. p. Nia began regularly supplying Agus Yanky with pirated albums 'from Nuclear Assault and other labels you couldn't get in Bali' (Agus Yanky. the political implications of metal fans' demonic status within the official Indonesian discourse also suggest that international equality is a myth.89. Nia visited the studio. Firstly. within which location was musically and institutionally unimportant'. and the Balinese death metal bands did not follow Sepultura as the band increasingly attended to 'locality'. Eventually. obtained via mail order from a Malaysiabased distributor. too. is testimony to Harris' (2000. VSP. If it had not been for widespread pirating. seemingly via regional and national underground cores in Malaysia and Surabaya. the flow of death and thrash metal cultural products to Bali was decidedly one-way. forefinger and pinkie extended. The way in which Indonesian people incorporated universal metal symbologies into local discourses became evident in the election campaign of 1992. All three sources obtained their cassettes from the mail order catalogues. Istana Musik. other fingers clenched in an approximation of devil horns) as a show of support for the party. Subsequently. the Balinese fans solicited the help of a well-financed fellow enthusiast. who heard it while holidaying on the island. But Harris describes how this situation gradually changed over the course of the early 1990s. Balinese death metal musicians started their careers as cover bands and always sang in English. The associations between metal symbology and the PDI were to some degree coincidental. and Agus Yanky. and making them available for local enthusiasts to copy. The Balinese enthusiasts' relative inequality was accentuated by a poorly valued rupiah. Moreover. On her return to Surabaya. Unlike Sepultura's ChaosAD (1993) and Roots (1996) albums which contain a number of tracks in Portuguese. supporters of the PDI (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia: Indonesian Democracy Party) claimed the universal metal symbol (fist raised. Dede. In the early 1990s the Denpasar scene became more directly linked to the global extreme metal underground when the show attracted the attention of a Surabaya-based death metal merchandiser Nia. as a symbol of support for the PDI. met Agus Yanky and offered to share a range of her own material. who had a contract with Indosemar Sakti to promote their new releases on his show. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . location did seem to be musically unimportant. the vast majority of fans would never have been able to afford any of the albums that were circulating the scene in the early 1990s.16. in purchasing albums direct from VSP's catalogue. Specifically. that the global extreme metal underground reached Bali.Gesturing elsewhere 201 It was via these distributors that much of the thrash music that supplied the Balinese scene reached Denpasar-based cassette store. 20) thesis that the global extreme metal scene was a 'truly global space. To the Balinese enthusiasts. thumb. metal's devil horns were transformed This content downloaded from 200.

. in the official response. for it was adopted by one of the political parties as a symbol of their campaign (in the last election)'. Notably. the three raised fingers signaled the PDI's order on the ballot. noted the local connotations of Metallica's popularity among Jakartan youth: 'Many of those attending the concert were well familiar with the metal symbol Metallica displayed as a way of communicating with their fans. In this.89. Blaming them on 'irresponsible gangsters'. performed in Jakarta. The dominant analysis reported in the Indonesian media was that the riots. The link between tattoos and criminality re-emerged in the official interpretation of riots which occurred at the Metallica concert in Jakarta. thus cementing the official link between the preman and thrash metal fandom. they moulded this global repertoire into a form of 'localness' by using it to illuminate and accentuate the ways in which they were marginalised from tourism. in which fans who could not afford tickets to the concerts destroyed luxury items and property in an elite quarter of the capital."1 The political implications of metal fandom in Indonesia therefore demonstrate the institutional. demonic metal fans were aligned to unlawful. resulted from a growing rich-poor gap. riots took place when US thrash band. and suggest that the Balinese scene may offer a different spin on the way in which locality is maintained within global and diffuse scenes to the example Sepultura provides. "people whose bodies are covered with tattoos and who do not own identity cards"'.red being the colour that distinguished the PDI from the yellow of ruling party GOLKAR and the green of Muslim-aligned PPP (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan: United Development Party). As the military initially concealed its role in the killings. 1998). well-organised preman (gangsters).152 on Mon. therefore. 22). Secondly.. the Balinese enthusiasts remained on the island where knowledge of a global scene.the party's symbol.7 In 1993. the metal salute thus evoked the red buffalo. This content downloaded from 200. importance of location. Tempo (1993. seeking a scapegoat for increasing rates of crime in the early 1980s. The official response. was a primary source of authenticity. and it resulted in the execution of between five and ten thousand people (Bourchier 1990.9 In the official discourse. 6) observes. viewed the riots in law and order terms (Thompson 1993). contesting accelerated tourism development on the island (Warren 1994. p. p. Rather than following Sepultura's example of lyrical and linguistic indigenisation. who provided an antithesis to the officially idealised patriotic. unlike the media reports in which the riots were cast as a consequence of a growing rich-poor gap. the government refused to issue permits for rock performances for over a year. well-educated youth. the operation was popularly dubbed Petrus (penembakanmisterius: mysterious killings). the death/thrash fandom resounded with a broader regionalist discourse which began to emerge in the early 1990s. supposedly identifiable by their tattooed bodies. p. however. and not Satanism . 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . If Sepultura's repertoire became increasingly 'Brazilian' as the band moved away from that country. 193).a transformation generated by supporters of the PDI who embraced the party's defiant populism.8 In the truly oblique style demanded of the press in the New Order period. if not musical. As Thompson (1993. Metallica. the military conducted an operation aimed at the elimination of alleged gangsters. 'the causes of the disturbance were put down to the criminality of .16. In 1992. the associated battle cry 'metal' was meant as an acronym for merah total (totally red) . and not the creation of an original repertoire. Thirdly.202 Emma Baulch into those of the buffalo .

21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . They want to look tough. similarly anti-imperialist sentiments can be found in the Balinese reggae musicians' Othering of death metal. But maintaining a coherent deviance requires at once exclusion and unity.and mid-1990s was due to their role as a realm for necessary skill enhancement and a rite of passage. after the scene extended its links to Malaysia. the predominance of cover bands in the early. I hate to see people startingnew bands just because they want to show off. sartorial aspects masked politically significant modes of distinction within the scene. as the authentic self was determined by an absent truth. Thus. .. and discouraging individuals from amassing personal collections. a friend from Malaysiacame to visit. cool. expressed by Indonesia's first President among others.album fetishisation was scorned. p. as was that of guitars.. In Malaysia. In spite of vastly changed conditions.Gesturing elsewhere 203 Gesturing elsewhere In line with the equality conveyed by the death/thrashers' uniform aesthetic.. Thrash This content downloaded from 200. As cited in Sen and Hill (2000. not because they are particularlyinterested in music. for newly formed bands who attempted originals were scorned as upstarts. rather than being revealing of meaning. tangible resources were relatively equally distributed . and whilst tangible resources appear to have been shared. and only play death metal because they think it's trendy. If they just write their own songs straight off the bat without going through the initial steps. local self. the present and the locale became secondary concerns. As Moel recalled. (Cak) This quest for authenticity in an elsewhere is different to fetishisation of the Other. For example.152 on Mon. Sukarno referred to rock and roll as a form of cultural imperialism. power and seniority within the Balinese scene were based on virtuosity and archival knowledge. p. in an Independence Day speech in 1959. In this way. for example: I don't think it's really appropriate for Balinese people to be thrash musicians. They'rejust playing so that it sounds 'brutal'.89. they have no concept. and does not conform to the idea. intangible ones became the basis for exclusion and hierarchy.we also formed a death metal organisation.. This hierarchy of archival knowledge and virtuosity among Balinese death thrashers was bolstered by the increasing volume of material to enter the scene as its access to the global extreme metal underground broadened.they had a [death metal] organisationto maximise access to the information they received. In this way. To prevent individual people from amassing personal collections.. dissociates masculinity from being good at archival learning' (1997. that performance of foreign repertoires was a form of masquerade which obscured an authentic. enthusiasts formed a death metal organisation to help formalise distribution channels: We used to gather at the studio and make tee shirts .. was indeed one of the functions of the gatherings at Radio Yudha. In this quest. 368). It's not as easy as people think. authenticity appeared to lay in an absent elsewhere which could only be reached by diligently rehearsing foreign repertoires. contrary to Straw's assertion that 'to be a metal fan .16. Then. therefore. According to Gus They. It takes a long time to write a song. For death/thrash enthusiasts. Ensuring equal distribution of cassettes. 166). they have no hold on an overridingconcept for their music. the scene actively sought to maintain a marginal status by employing exclusionary tactics. vocalist for the reggae band Fatamorgana.

You can see that when Sepulturaperformedin Surabaya.It's the right kind of music for us. folk culture'. and demonstrates how in fact popular culture contains its own subcultural capital. Because it is the right fit for our soul. that's what leads them to headbang . By contrast. jump around. When I started getting into death metal I had been looking for something that connected with my desire for freedom.(Age) Thus. Balinese enthusiasts' death metal repertoire also linked them to a perceived 'essence'. hierarchies and canons while popular culture is conceived of as a curiously flat. Then we want to express whatever it is that's in our soul.there was a riot. for seniority was not symbolised by a particular 'look'.29 March1996) I like death metal because it's very energetic. you can sing about feeling hopeless. Most people like slow music. Thrashmusic is not appropriate for our culturebecause it is. That'swhy I want to keep playing death metal until the end. After hearing death metal. I got bored quickly. shake our heads).11 Unlike famed Indonesian folk singer Iwan Fals' lyrical celebration of local underclass identities.. (Ari Phobia) This is the era of death metal. death metal appealed to their true selves. (Gus They) But enthusiasts did not agree that death/thrash fandom was a form of masquerade. the crossroads' newspaper seller and the evicted slum dweller. After the Metallicariot. Becausethrash music is big on whipping up peoples' emotions. They are just blindly following.. she critiques (1995. as portrayed in Indonesian teen media in the mid-1990s. but without lyrically evoking a nostalgia for place. something energetic. Guns N' Roses tee shirts played This content downloaded from 200. Arwah). 10) studies of popular culture in which '[h]igh culture is generally conceived of in terms of aesthetic values. none of them seemed right. indeed.lit. they might be free but they are too free. We are different. Apart from not being appropriatefor young Balinese.. heavy and hard. at odds with their true Balinese selves. (Agus Yanky. crash into our friends. You can sing about feeling mad and angry. heavy music was banned . (Behead) When we hear the guitar and the drum we want to headbang (goyangkepala.152 on Mon.. What'smore.16. only then did I feel that I had found the right kind of music. to their souls (mewakilijiwanya).We've been into death metal since we were teenagers. all of them have long hair. As a point of departure. I have discussed how the death/thrash uniformity that came to be performed in public spaces such as Kumbasari market and the local cassette store veiled an existing hierarchy. reasoning that 'it would seem funny to use Indonesian lyrics' (Dek Ben. p. such as the gangster of the bus terminal.Many people now look for the kinds of music that is in accordancewith their reality. because life is getting harder. The idea that death metal referred primarily to an elsewhere is supported by the musicians' hesitance to pen lyrics in Indonesian or Balinese. and cars were burned . Their own views on the genre's appeal distinguishes death/thrash from alternative music.204 Emma Baulch enthusiastsare hard people. not right for my ear. Such media depicted alternative fans as people who described their dress styles as nyentrik (weird) and expressive of a desire to tampil beda (appear different). Above. This was also true of the Balinese death/thrash scene. Balinese death/thrash musicians did not write lyrics that referred to the locale. Thornton's (1995) study of English club culture examines distinction and hierarchy within 'low' culture. our desire for freedom. This is not to suggest that tee shirts did not play a role in determining who was 'in' and who was 'out' of the death/thrash scene. so that people see that and they get scaredthat therewill be a riot.. I heard this and that kind of music. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .that kind of heavy music has been banned in Bali. in the view of the Balinese death' thrashers. (Dek Ben) The music gives us spirit.89.I had been looking for a long time..

progressively attain authenticity by playing in cover bands.Gesturing elsewhere 205 a role not unlike Thornton's handbags . It was the means with which to menace. p.the preman and devil worshipping cults (aliran sesat) .. and any explicit association with an illicit underworld was quickly denied. as Gus They's above-cited comment shows. One can find this argument in his examinations of the link between deep-rooted social anxieties and the politics of marginal groups' spectacularity in successive writings on Rastafarian styles in Jamaica (1973) and subcultural styles in England (1973. It is a hiding in the light. always ambiguous .152 on Mon. Following Hebdige.it translatesthe fact of being under scrutinyinto the pleasure of being watched. Not only were they English words. incomprehensible to most locals. p. Whilst Guns N' Roses tee shirts could not be tolerated . but they were also concealed beneath webs of stylisation.. for the conflation of masquerade/essence and West/East dichotomies is evident in the death thrashers' gestures towards an elsewhere which they understood to be expressive of their true selves.89. In spite of their bourgeois status. tensions emerge between his much-critiqued denotative and demystifying urges. This suggested to me that masquerading as preman and alluding to aliran sesat was meant. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In Hebdige's work on subcultural style. it would be possible to argue that the Balinese death thrashers evoked ambiguity and effected 'dread' by blurring distinctions between assumed opposites. and his assertions that subversive spectacularity is based on the deferment of meaning. defined (Hebdige 1973. as important to the death/thrash uniform as black tee shirts. he reiterates the view that The politics of youth culture is a politics of the metaphor:it deals in the currencyof signs and is. p. recalling Hebdige's (1979. p. like Hebdige's dread. as the scene operated as a training ground in which ingenues could. 11) as 'capable of inspiring fear and awe' the Rastafarian form of metaphoric currency so coveted. In addition to the above-cited quotation. 120) characterisation of English punk's signifying practices which 'gestured towards a nowhere and actively sought to remain silent. 1979.. and in Hiding in the Light (1988. looked alright but there was something in the way they moved that the adults couldn't quite make out'. 64) view.. thus. This content downloaded from 200.was an enviable commodity..clear sartorial signs of both the absence of authenticity and the spectre of its popularisation. 35). in Hebdige's (1979. by the English punks: Dread. was awesome and forbidding. both these references were stylised and obscured. as a powerful tool of communication. in particular. 5) he cites Laing's description of how 'the mods .16. the death thrashers seemed intent on invoking the spectre of the preman by way of long locks. and stereotypically associated with the preman. then. supervised by their elders.also served as important tools to state their presence. in The Style of the Mods (1973. illegible'.lack of virtuosity and archival knowledge was forgiven. p. and to provide the practice with a form of dread.suggesting as it did an impregnablesolidarity. 1988). Subcultureforms up in the space between surveillance and the evasion of surveillance. the elaboratefree-masonrythrough which it was sustained and communicatedon the street ..12 However.thus revealing the importance of aesthetic uniformity . By gesturing elsewhere. But the death-thrashers' ambivalent allusions to identities officially cast as morally demonic . the death thrashers refrained from associating core values with specific geographies. as if to state 'herein lies a mystery'. One example of hiding in the light can be seen in the texts (band names) that adorned the Balinese death thrashers' tee shirts.

152 on Mon. (Dek Ben) All death metal enthusiastsare good/well-behaved boys..Gig organisersdon't accept us as easily as other kinds of music.We don't need alcohol. the death thrashers evinced the preman aesthetic. simulated and affective modes of resistance attached to rock music' (Mitchell 1996. and leave the negative behind. Being in a band provides us with a release for our anger . But we are different in Indonesia. We only adopt what's positive from the music. Our music may be heavy.. Only our music is a little heavy. Plastic People of the Universe."13(Agus Yanky. That'salways the reason used to marginaliseus from gigs.We have to behave in accordancewith the system we live under.206 Emma Baulch Many people were intrigued by us because we would headbang and we had long hair. he draws attention to the important political role of the a-political band.6 February1998) How did you cometo adoptthe namefor yourband. Similarly. 98). Our lyrics may be heavy. also in the 1990s and in spite of the state's attempts to silence him by banning him. and the way in which Italian posses re-ignited a dormant tradition of oppositional Italian youth movements (Mitchell 1996. in spite of the New Order depoliticisation policies and military repression. Once the music was over. we would just disperse . (Dek Ben) Whilst Dek Ben's band Triple Sick makes use of demonic symbology.. does not explain the absence of overt resistance among the death metal enthusiasts in Bali. p. 22) whilst averting repression.. But we altered it after people told us that it was to do with the devil. We have to stick togetherto prove that we can guaranteethat our kind of music will not prompt a riot. p. Instead.. however. The police would get us. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . p. we just picked a name that was easy to remember. an underground movement of opposition to the Suharto regime flourished (see Aspinall 1996). people have to drink alcohol in order to appreciatedeath metal. The way we dress may be heavy. subtlety may be especially important in authoritarian contexts where the violent repression of overt resistance is a constant threat. In this way. he disavows their Satanist associations.89. in contrast to French hip hop's overt denunciations of Le Pen (Cannon 1997.we don't want to make any trouble. he rejects caricatures of the electric guitar as one of the major threats to communist regimes. but we would never brawl. that our music is so heavy that surely it will incite a riot. 151). Whilst acknowledging rock as a 'surrogate medium of political resistance'.. thus challenging the official idealisation of youth as patriotic. p. In the realm of popular music. We were afraid that people would say we were .. 163). The way in which the Balinese death-thrashers at once alluded to and disavowed the preman indeed attests to the affective and simulated nature of rock's resistance. But we are still a part of our environment.. but we are not devil worshippers.16. This form of 'resistance' can be said to be highly stylised and heavily obscured. But we are always good. But thesymbolof yourbandis still 666. Authoritarianism itself. yet denied any links with the preman. 'vanguards of development' (Pickles 2001. Moreover. the extremely popular Indonesian folk singer Iwan Fals' lyrics were replete with denunciations of the regime's developmentalist policies and This content downloaded from 200. because we were scared of the [political]implications.TripleSix? That is from a song.In the West. six six six. we have never made any trouble. and we would be put in jail! (Behead) We feel that our music is subjectto repression. Perhaps more akin to the Balinese death/thrash scene is Mitchell's account of Czech rock groups prior to the 1989 Velvet Revolution.we altered it to TripleSick. we don't want to be violent on the street . the death thrashers made good use of illicit symbols. We never forget to pray. In Indonesia in the 1990s. which 'trivialise and crassly misinterprets the often subtle.

and the island was attracting an increasing number of Jakartanese 'domestic' tourists. In this way. organised under the auspices This content downloaded from 200. and ushered in a very much deregulated model. to issues of local urgency. the death metal enthusiasts' characteristic obscurity can be seen as a conscious turning away from more overt articulations of anti-New Order sentiment. illustrates the very real possibility of violent repression with which the enthusiasts chose to flirt. the gigs served as symbol-rich realms for stylised forms of discursive engagement.89. The nature of this echoing both linked and distinguished death/thrash from a broader regionalist discourse. a 'regionalist discourse' began to emerge. By the early 1990s. Furthermore. 1998). and the above-mentioned fate of the preman. Governor Ida Bagus Oka issued a decree which departed from the original highly regulated 'cultural tourism' model. centre and periphery.Gesturing elsewhere 207 widespread corruption. local community anniversary celebrations known as bazaarbanjar(village bazaars). death metal bands were unwanted in tourist bars and hotels. evident in the above-mentioned regionalist discourse. In enthusiasts' recollections of the gigs at which death/thrash bands performed in the early 1990s. the genre's local salience becomes clearer. But from what. rather than a result of repression. which endeavoured to protect Balinese culture from tourism's potentially negative impacts. which attended. it begged to differ remained indeterminate. labels which derived from the global extreme metal scene. As a result of these changes. for when asked. popularly known as 'mass tourism'. which provided them with an Other against which the death/thrash self was defined. Thus. enthusiasts only identified themselves as 'anti-trendy' or 'underground'. In 1988. Some of Fals' songs served as anthems. setting off a trend of land speculations and resort development. and the way in which it was performed in the public arena served as statements and validations of the genre's 'difference'. As described above. death/thrash bands were forced to share a stage with reggae bands. it was infrequent campus gigs and. more frequently. precisely. and allows us to discount Gus They's charges of cultural imperialism.16. which were reserved for reggae and Top 40 bands. cited above. Furthermore. which polarised notions of 'Bali' and 'Jakarta' (Warren 1994. Death metal as 'regionalist discourse' Above. in the early 1990s. to whom the death metal aesthetic alluded. and resulting in massive increases in land values. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . tourist areas in Bali had become havens of malls and designer labels associated with a metropolitan superculture. overwhelmingly. rather than local contexts. their allusions to illicit symbols did challenge the official narrative. in spite of their obscurity. however. I have argued that the death thrash dress style. At the same time. Bali spawned its own opposition movement. the increasing land values saw the passage of Balinese-owned agricultural land into the hands of Jakartanese investors and developers. Such turning away is evident in the way in which they fetishised their marginality. at the same time. through which a more sharply focused death/ thrash marginality came into view. At these early gigs. Moreover. death/thrash enthusiasts nonetheless echoed broader concerns about the locals' marginalisation from the development process due to the tourism boom. Deregulation attracted a barrage of Jakarta-based entrepreneurs to invest in Bali. In this context.152 on Mon. sung at rallies organised by the growing underground campus-based opposition movement.

even then. because of tourism in Bali. so that much of the audience had vacated the hall before the death/thrash bands began their sets. This content downloaded from 200. Reggae was the trend.16. for the banjargigs accommodated a performative dialogue between the two genres. (Behead) Death metal doesn't get played in hotels. Only unlike the reggae bands. to the death/thrash fans.. because we would always be listed last. Why? Because tourists prefer reggae. That'sthe main problem. we were thought of as a kind of litter. If a hundred people went to see a banjargig. as evident in Gus They's above cited comment. in the view of death metal musicians. In this way. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .6 February1998) At this time. where there are more facilities for death and thrash metal bands and fans. Mostly. there would be two death or thrashbands performing. and we would have to beg the organisersto get a chance to perform. We would be presented as some kind of weird attraction. and they have better instrumentsthere too. was reluctantly accorded. and a local reggae scene centred on the Bruna bar at Kuta beach.We asked them for some time on the stage. intensely clustered headbanging audiences that performed at these banjargigs filled the empty spaces left when reggae's slow. It's laid back and relaxed. for the black. the genre's bright prospects on the tourist bar circuit. They were all mixed gigs. Rarely did we head the bill .there's no facilitiesfor death metal in Bali.152 on Mon. Therewere a lot of these events at which we performed. Our network extends to cities in Java.208 Emma Baulch of community youth groups known as sekehe teruna teruni (STT). laid-back jig and multi-coloured aesthetic receded.It seemed like every month there would be a gig. Death metal is not appropriate there. music like reggae has an easier passage to Bali [than death metal]. reggae musicians responded to the death/thrash phenomenon by casting it. (but) most of the audience would leave before we came on. (Age) We used to get a spot at banjargigs because it was thought that we could add variety. We were thought of as those who made trouble for reggae. and the abundance of reggae cover bands playing at banjargigs signaled.. At most. But you got a lot of peoplego to see deathmetaland thrashbandsperformat thesebanjargigs? A few..we have to provideit ourselves. Whydo you thinkthatis? Perhapsbecause in Bali.. the kind of music that gets popularised here are happy kinds of music. garbage. (Priorto 1994) death metal and thrashbands would play in the banjars. We would share the stage with reggae.. which provided space for the earliest death and thrash metal performances. Usually. reggae served as the Other which affirmed and shaped the death metal self. Reggae was a highly sexualised realm which serenaded and celebrated the lifestyles of Balinese 'beach boys'.89. we weren't invited to perform. the dominance of reggae and its sexualised dandyism provided a backdrop for the death thrashers' stripped-back state of dishevelment and a-sexuality. and musicians recalled how they often had to 'go begging' for opportunities to perform and how.usually Debtor or Separatis. where local youth mixed freely with domestic and foreign tourists alike. There are many facilities for reggae bands in Kuta. surely one of them was a fan . as dangerously inauthentic. it would just be a whole lot of reggae bands playing. reggae's Otherness lay in its palatability to tourists. reggae was at the height of its popularity. There are more magazines. whereas death metal bands are relianton practicestudios to provide a double pedal. they were frequently listed last. in keeping with the official view of metal. however. On the other hand. In the context of these banjar-level performances..(Agus Yanky. This too. For example.

and its acceptance in the tourism industry. People play reggae songs in hotels. The former refers to the emergence of elite discourses of Balinese identity in the 1970s in tandem with the development of tourism.you mean? No! Tourists come here to relax .'a Balinese vision of themselves generated by their dealings with powerful and significant Others'. in spite of their hesitance to speak directly and openly about political issues. which provides a centre against which Balinese began to define their peripheral. Warren demonstrates how local debates concerning tourism development projects and mediated by the local press reveal an emerging regionalist discourse which dichotomised notions of 'centre' (the Other) and 'periphery' (the We). Such antithetical identities emerged. and which Bali allegedly resembled (Geertz 1980). regional nature in the early 1990s. death/thrash bands' exclusion from tourism stages was seen as a factor which served to enhance genuine and authentic self-expression. 1999) and Warren (1994.. which depicted Balinese-ness as refined.89. postured. There are significant differences between the reflexive essentialisation Picard mentions and the peripheral 'We' discussed by Warren. different historical aspects of which have been documented by Picard (1990. provides an instance of 'reflexive essentialisation' . 16-17) concern is with how the 'the Balinese.Gesturing elsewhere 209 Deathmetalis not relaxed. Therefore. In this way.. but an encroaching metropolis. a spirited expression of the soul which. Picard's (1999. said to underpin the modern Indonesian polity. he argues. the Balinese 'We' of the 1990s was replete with subversive irony and humour. pp. but its antithesis. But the people in the bar said that tourists in Kuta don't like thrash metal because they come for a holiday. in caricatures of Balinese identities regularly published in the local daily Bali Post. in their view. which they saw as a form of pretence and opportunism. 1998). (Angel Head) Has yourbandplayedin a bar? We tried to get a gig in a bar. danced and dressed in opposition to reggae. have come to search for confirmation of their kebalian(Balinese-ness) in the mirror held up to them by tourists'. enjoined to exhibit their identity in reference to the outside world's view of them. 1996. the dialogue that took place between reggae and death metal at these banjargigs contributes to analyses of the relationship between the tourism industry and Balinese identity politics. they don't like hard music. its threatening ubiquity.16. and no longer depicted Balinese-ness as a remnant of a Java-based centre of power. To make sure the atmospherethere is relaxed. This.152 on Mon. according to Warren. By contrast. Similar associations may be accorded to the way in which the death metal enthusiasts of the early 1990s. death/thrash musicians viewed their own genre of choice as a channelling of a life force. they were rejected by the tourism industry and coveted their low and marginal status. (Ari Phobia) In contrast to reggae. private against communal interests and cultural pollution against cultural authenticity. orderly and hierarchical. which set big capital against the little person. The emergence of a regionalist discourse thus challenged preceding elite discourses. Warren is similarly concerned with the role of 'powerful Others' in the generation of Balinese self-perceptions. but the Other of her work is not tourists and tourism per se. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Both Picard (1990) and Vickers (1989) agree that this 'touristic image' was created by foreign anthropologists and perpetuated in state nostalgia for the glories of former Hindu Javanese kingdoms. conflicted with tourism's demands. and celebrated the low and the grotesque (Warren 1998). as evident in cartoons in the local press. This content downloaded from 200. By contrast.

and have argued that the nature of these hierarchies highlight the importance of looking beyond dress style to examine currencies of authenticity in any attempt to grasp subcultural meaning. (Ari Phobia) I began this essay by describing how enthusiasm for death and thrash metal became territorialised as enthusiasts began to gather in a hangout where they participated in communal drinking sessions and began to organise themselves into cover bands. Such essentialising attempts proceeded in spite of the death thrashers' anti-essentialist gestures elsewhere. These recollections resound with a broader regionalist discourse which had begun to contest the island's development direction in the early 1990s in which Balinese cast themselves as authentically 'low' in opposition to a Jakartan superculture of greed and kitsch. The alliance of death/thrash with an emerging regionalist discourse is further suggested by the media attention the practice later received. It is important to establish that approving reports of death metal in the Bali Post in late 1995 and early 1996 did not spell the 'subcultural kiss of death' (Thornton 1995. 'troublemakers for reggae'. 329) in the way in which youth scenes make their presence felt. enthusiasts did take exception to the above-mentioned This content downloaded from 200.16. Maybe they want to preservethe traditionalcultureand protect it from Westerninfluence. so constricted reggae bands. temporary control over this territory prompted them to adopt a universal death metal aesthetic which came to be performed en masse in public arena. such reports appear to have had the reverse effect.89. p. to a global scene.210 Emma Baulch Conclusion There'sa lot of money for traditionalBalinese culture. nor did media attention end 'with the simultaneous diffusion and defusion of the subcultural style' (Hebdige 1979. This.14 Nevertheless. I argued. In mid-February 1996. beginning around 1995. which epitomised the official version of Indonesian high culture. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . This suggests an attempt to essentialise death metal in line with the view that the Bali's cultural essence was the antithesis of Javanese refinement. Although the death/thrashers' dress style suggested unity and consensus. in their view. All of these reports (Bali Post 1995A. affirms the importance of territory or 'turf' (Hetherington 1998B. C. I have demonstrated how these hierarchies gestured elsewhere. defining their own authenticities in opposition to the market logic of the tourism industry which. p. the Bali Post ran a feature on death/thrash which validated its appeal by attempting to establish parallels between thrash music and the Balinese gamelan. and between headbanging and Balinese trance dance (kesurupan) (14 February 1996). But nobody is willing to put money into what Balinese youth are interested in. 92). p. People here think that local traditionis what is lucrative. for example.152 on Mon. Further. Similarly. These gestures elsewhere become meaningful when we view them in the context of enthusiasts' recollections of banjar gigs where they shared stages with overwhelmingly popular reggae cover bands. 1996) sympathised with the death-thrashers' plight to distance themselves from the riotous Metallica troublemakers. B. the death/thrash scene actually contained important hierarchies of authenticity. In fact. 6).They would ratherbuild a museum than spend money on developing music that is popular among local youth. death metal enthusiasts identified themselves as 'rubbish'. as interviewees prided their connections with local journalists and reports about their bands that appeared in the local daily.

152 on Mon. which came to covet the grotesque and the 'low' as symbols of Balinese authenticity. defined in opposition to 'Jakarta'.Gesturing elsewhere 211 reports' attempts to re-essentialise death metal. modes of resistance among the Balinese death thrashers did retain carnival-subversive aesthetics. 62-3). and powerfully underscored by Ari's above-cited comment. where 'punk music projected a disdain for mainstream society that young Chicanos found useful as a vehicle for airing their own grievances' (Lipsitz 1994. in spectacular fashion.. the urgent question whether tourism was any longer of benefit to the local society. important binaries of masquerade/essence and East/West broke down. in contexts where acts of protest are tolerated. resistance tends toward a binary positioning antithetic to the carnival-subversive attitude of popular taste'. This raises a central point of difference between the broader regionalist discourses and the identity politics of Balinese death/thrash. do echo broader discourses of Balinese-ness. alienation and political protest inherent in [punk's] dole queue rock context in London in 1977 . p. and their evocation of youth identities that were demonised in the official discourse on rock. anti-essentialism can serve as a strategy to illuminate the conditions of oppression experienced by the (essential) self. 85). and in response to my question of whether headbanging could indeed be considered similar to the Balinese trance dance. Mitchell (1996. the ideology of market logic and tourism's essentialising tendencies were intertwined. 107) similarly describes a 'direct link between the anger.89. as Ari's above-cited comment makes clear.as mentioned. pp. But as evident in the way in which they spoke of reggae. it was such essentialist assumptions which relegated their 'hard' and 'heavy' sounds to the scrap-heap of a tourism-oriented society. Unlike the cartoonists Warren describes. But their fetishisation of marginality. 94) contends that '[I]nsofar as globalisation is experienced as appropriating all forms of culture to a universalising market structure and rationalising discourse. Moreover. Lipsitz offers numerous examples. p. in the view of Balinese death-thrashers. merely dancing'. Nor were they necessarily compelled to express their grievances in an obscure and foreign language for fear of reprisal . including the popularisation of punk rock among Chicanos from East LA. p. which rejected the essentialisation of the Balinese 'we' in opposition to Jakarta.. Dek Ben unequivocally replied: 'That is wrong. This content downloaded from 200. and its relocation and appropriation in Eastern Europe'. and notes how 'the sense of "no future" which prevailed in the initial manifestations of punk rock in the UK and the USA certainly had little difficulty in finding co-relations among Eastern European youth'. Furthermore. candid challenges to official and elite discourses were being articulated elsewhere. We are not entranced when we headbang. There was no such inherent co-relation between death metal's 'message' and the nature of Balinese enthusiasts' alienation. thus posing. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the death thrashers' gestures elsewhere illuminated the tourism industry's very limited capacity to accommodate the needs and aspirations of local youth. for in their gestures elsewhere. Alternatively. which describes how acts of protest can be disguised as frivolous fetishisation of the Other in order to avert repression. Warren (1998.16. The convergence of these gestures elsewhere with traces of a regionalist discourse in death/thrash fandom epitomises 'strategic anti-essentialism' (Lipsitz 1994.

. p. This article is part of a broader study. upon its establishment. Where space allowed. BMG Indonesia. Details of these interviews are hsted in the Appendix. and official alarm over the spectre of a repeat 'thrash riot' in Ball caused the provincial police headquarters to revoke the permit they had issued for the event Subsequently. where death and thrash bands frequently performed in the early 1990s. p.16. many local enthusiasts lamented its eclecticism as evidence that Sepultura had sold out to a mainstream ethnic fetish. and the period following the Metallica riots up until mid-1995 provided them with few performance opportunities. 3. the double bass drums create a 'machine gun' rhythm that corresponds to the overall tone of the music' 6. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and things are starting to get going again'. by Warner Music International in 1996. 7) reports on the popular appeal of the PDI's campaign in the 1992 elections which. Sepultura's Xavanta-inspired Roots (1996) album sold 1. not first hand experience. since 1995. 7. because after the Metallica riots no rock gigs were allowed for some years.a label they shed when thrash bands vacated the scene around 1995-6. He argues that the resulting victory of the ruling party Golkar in no way reflected the will of the people. recalled how 'there was a vacuum in the scene for a long time. in spite of Metallica's popularity among poor urban youth. when Roots became available mnBahl in late 1996. (but) . 93) describes the double pedal thus. when it included both death and thrash metal bands. This knitting was strongly symbolised by the manner in which such drinking sessions proceeded.which sold 600. the Metalhca riots occurred. and accounts of the early years of the death metal scene are based on interviewees' recollections. however. the regime was eager to distinguish itself from the preceding Sukarno regime. suddenly ceased. whilst the aftermath of Sepultura's concerts in Surabaya and Jakarta may have increased their overall popularity in Indonesia.000 worldwide . which compares the Balinese punk. Beneath the Remains. drinkers would sit cross-legged. Harrell (1994.. for example.152 on Mon. Operated by pedals played with both feet in rapid succession. This essay focuses on the early development of Bali's death metal scene in the period between 1990 and 1994. bazaarbanjar.a two-fold increase in record sales compared with their third (1989) album. 10. p. 8) points out. 8. 4. on the floor. ANTeve was one of three commercial stations to be established after the state surrendered its monopoly over television in 1988. Rather than Sepultura. Subsequently. This content downloaded from 200. Reports over the phone to InsideIndonesia on that day all reported a huge PDI turn out with some sources saying it was impossible to get their car out of the driveway onto the streets. high ticket prices had prohibited them from attending the performance. This allowed for the purchase of local commercial label. Dek Ben. which planned to stage the island's first gig reserved exclusively for thrash and death metal bands. far from being demonlsed. the regime initially celebrated Indonesian rock fandom. As Sopiann (2001. 'Speed is typical of many Anthrax. 23) 'achieved success at the time Sepultura did . Polygram Indonesia and EMI Indonesia were established. bands such as Obituary and Cannibal Corpse. Further. Speed is often emphasised by the drummers' use of double bass drums which supply the 'backbone' to the beat. p.200. death metal and reggae scenes of the 1990s I did not go to live in Bali until 1996. thus limiting it to wealthy metal fans It is important to note that the state did not always demonlse rock music. it decreased the degree of their authenticity within the Balinese death/thrash. The concert became symbolic of increasing socio-economic injustices because. which.. Napalm Death and early Metallica and Megadeth songs as well. p. observes Harris (2000. Hemagita.. which had identified rock as 'neo-colonial' and 'imperialist'. provided evidence of mass contempt for New Order rule: 'According to Kompasnewspaper there were two million PDI supporters on the streets [of Jakarta]on the last day of the campaign. The riots impacted on the Balinese scene. Notably. See Stanley (1992) on the orchestrated nature of the 1992 elections. 113). It started broadcasting in 1993 (Sen and Hill 2000. under the banner of 1921 Only days before the gig was due to take place. did not experiment with place' remained extremely influential of the Balinese scene into the late 1990s. and when enthusiasts referred to themselves as death thrashers . Max Lane (1992. the oncemonthly community-based gigs. Under Suharto. 2. Sony Indonesia. 9. in his view. The young PDI supporters were reportedly shouting "GOLKAR is corrupt!" over and over again'. according to interviewees' recollections.000 (Harris 2000. p 23). Now we have Sunday Hot Music. and form a circle to ease the passage of a single shot glass which continued from mouth to mouth until the bottle was empty 5.89.212 Emma Baulch Endnotes 1.

was also always in English. R. 18/1. striking poses: youth surveillance and display'. Moel and Dek Ben. 1990. D.]). G. 144-215 Cannon. 3/2. pp. chpped newspaper write-ups on death/ thrash and kept them in photo albums along with photographs of their respective bands' performances. C. 1990. 150-66 Cooper.16. 91-103 Harris. A. for his 'help in getting death metal bands a spot on SHM's 1995 line-up. That this was feigned conformity is suggested 213 by the importance of drinking sessions to gatherings of death metal enthusiasts. D. Essays on Society. F. pp. this association was already inherent in the term ]eger/]ager/]agger. 'Paname city rapping: B-boys in the banlleues and beyond'.ed. Expressionsof Identity: Space. 13-30 Hebdige.89. composed when they were lihvmngin Brazil. S. A. S. 328-42 Lakha. 1999. 1998A. 1990. Valentine (London). 1995. J. E. Thrift (London). B. globalisation and Indian middle-class identity'. 14/4. 10 December 1995c. 1994. K. Tradition and Craft (Singapore) Epstein. 1993. in InternationalJournal of Cultural Studies. 12 February Baulch. Sub and Popular Culture Series. Rodan (London).. 67-76 Freisen. sites of resistance'. pp. E. but uniformly the case all over Indonesia. pp. Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (Birmingham) 1988. Pinches (London).. 'The broadening base of pohtical opposition in Indonesia'. Agus Yanky.. Skelton and G. On the Value of Popular Music (Massachusetts) Geertz. S. PopularMusic and Society. 31 December 1996. Unud's Student's Arts Unit stands accused).152 on Mon. ed. and Pratto. K. 1980. 'Law. as mentioned. ed. 'Thrash Dipinggirkan.by which Mick Jagger's name was appropriated as a synonym for preman 13. Hargreaves and M. Lee. pp. Harris (2000) also notes how Sepultura's early work. 'Awarding an "A" grade to heavy metal: a review essay'. 'Vanloads of uproarious humanity: new age travellers and the utopics of the countryside'. 14. PopularMusic and Society. Reggae Rastas and Rudies: Style and the Subversionof Form. pp. Performance. Budiman (Clayton). Modernity at Large:the Cultural Dimensions of Globalzsation(Minneapolis) Arnett. 18/3. That's what brought our scene from obscurity into prominence' Other interviewees. crime and state authority in Indonesia'. Popular Music and Society. 3 December 1995B. UKM Unud Digugat' (Thrash marginalised. Pile and N. 1994. The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966. pp. 2000. pp. praised the Bali Post's music reporter. 'Eternal Madness Hadapi Keterbatasan' (Eternal Madness face limitations). Metalheads-Heavy Metal Music and Adolescent Alienation (Boulder) Aspinall. M. and Valentine. K. 1-17 Frith. 219-34 2002B. 'Gianyar Pun 'Digempur' Trash' (Glanyar. pp. p. D. 393-405 Hetherington. 1996. for example. in Post-ColonialCultures in France. Thornton (London). B. 1996.ed. ed. A. McKinney (London). including Ari Phobia. pp. 1973. Stencilled Occasional Paper. in Mapping the Subject:Geographiesof Cultural Transformations. 2002A. As Sen and Hill (2000. 167) note. 1990. juvenile dehnquency and satanic identification'. too assaulted by Trash [sic. 'The state. 'Alternative music and mediation in Late New Order Indonesia'. J. 153-77 Bell. S. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Negara (Princeton University Press) Harrell. References Appadurai. pp. Popular Music. in State and Czvil Society in Indonesia. 5/2. 143-57 Bourchier. Studies from Java and Bali (Clayton) Eiseman. pp. 215-40 Ball Post. 1996. 'The sexed self: strategies of performance. 1997. 12. in The SubculturesReader.Politics (London) 1998B. 'The poetics of destruction: death metal rock'. 251-74 This content downloaded from 200. pp. 'Heavy metal rock music. D. Popular Music and Society. ed. ' "Roots"?: the relationship between the global and the local within the Extreme Metal scene'. and Epstein. This was not particular to Bali. 19/1. in Cool Places: Geographiesof Youth Cultures. J.Gesturing elsewhere 11. 'Creating a scene: Balinese punk's beginnings'. ed. 99-102 Cribb. 1995A. Hiding in the Light (London) 1997. Bali: Sekalaand Niskala Volume II. J. in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. G. 1995. in Political Opposztionsin Industrialising Asia. in Culture and Privilege in CapitalistAsia. T. The lihnkbetween premanand rock fandom predated the Metallica riots. Gelder and S. 'Musisi Bali Memang Suka yang Keras Keras' (Balinese musicians have a penchant for hard sounds). 'Posing threats. Gus Martin. 'Rock 'n' roll ain't noise pollution: artistic conventions and tensions in the major subgenres of heavy metal music'. pp. 17/3.

No. pp. ed. Honours Thesis. D. M. Connor (Honolulu). 4 February 1998 This content downloaded from 200. 17 April. Arise Roadrunner Records. Chaos AD. 1983. Pop and Rap In Europeand Oceania (London and New York) Olson. pp. pp. RR-9000-5. E. InternationalJournal of Cultural Studzes. 1989. 1990. 1995. 46-7 Thornton. Asia Research Centre. Rubinstein and L. 'Amuk Kaum Metal di Lebak Bulus' (The metalheads run amuck at Lebak Bulus). 83-94 Sen. logics of change. T. 'Systems of articulation. CD RR 8766 2. spatiahty. Dangerous Crossroads:Popular Music. During (London). 22 Thompson. M. 1999. R. and Connor. 1989 Sepultura. 'On the verge of a return to mass politics'. Inside Indonesia. Interview with the author. 1992. and Hill. Medraand Subcultural Capital (Cambridge) Vickers. pp. Of Purple Hair and Protest: Beyond SpectacularStyle. Rubinstem and L. 42. pp. 1991. M. 6-8 Lent.ed.. 2001.1993. Club Cultures:Music. Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology (California) Discography Sepultura. T. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 2000. 1998. 368-81 Suasta. S. and Scott. 'Everybody loves our town: scenes. 'Rock and riots'. p. Cultural Studies. RO 9328-1. 'Cosmos and chaos: celebration in the modern world'. 1991. Culture and Politzcs in Indonesia (Melbourne) Shields. Inside Indonesia. 1996. 1/1. 1991 Sepultura. pp.ed. Herman (Malden). June. G. 269-89 Picard. M. RIMA (Review of Indonesian and Malayan Affairs). Faculty of Asian Studies. 1994. 1-38 1996. K.ed. Bandung Punks take CollectiveAction. R. S. Interview with the author. A. Ball: A Paradise Created(Ringwood) Walser. 'An excuse for a party'. in Mapping the Beat: Popular Music and ContemporaryTheory. 1994. pp. S. 1993 Sepultura. 1993. 91-122 Tempo. 368-88 1993. M. F. Roadrunner Records.214 Emma Baulch Lane. 2-5 Straw.89. Bali: Cultural Tourism and Touristic Culture (Singapore) 1999 'The discourse of Kebalian'. Postmodernismand the Poetics of Place (London) Lyman.communities and scenes m popular music'. 10 June 1996 Age. 1992. 1996. Swiss. in The Celebratzonof Society: Perspectzveson ContemporaryCultural Performance. W. F. Roots. 15-50 Pickles. 'Kebalian orang Bali: tourism and the uses of "Balinese culture" in New Order Indonesia'. Centre and Perzpheryin Indonesia:Environment. 'Mediating modernity in Bali'.) Appendix Interviews cited in this article Gus They. Places on the Margin: Alternative Geographiesof Modernzty(London) Stanley. 1991. ed. pp.. RR-8900-5. J. C. 'Heavy metal: forces of unification and fragmentation within a musical subculture'.16. 1995. 'Characterising rock music culture: the case of heavy metal'. Murdoch University 1998. 1993. Roadrunner Records. J. R. Asian Popular Culture (Colorado) Lipsitz. pp. Connor (Honolulu). 1996 (None of the Balinese bands recorded during the period in question.152 on Mon. R. pp 83-108 Weinstein. A Sociology of the Absurd (New York) Maffesoh. No. in The Cultural Studies Reader. June. 2000. No. pp. 31. migrancy'. Media. 35. 3-30 Mitchell. 'Democratic mobilization and political authoritarianism: tourism developments in Bali'. Sloop and A. in Staying Local in the Global Vzllage. Manning (Bowling Green). 24/2. L. 5/3. vocalist for (reggae band) Fatamorgana. 42/1. The Time of the Tribes (London) Manning. The Australian National University Roccor. pp. D. Popular Music and LocalIdentity: Rock. P. Working Paper No. J. Roadrunner Records. death metal merchandiser. Inside Indonesia. 31.. Beneath the Remains. Running with the Devil Power Genderand Madness in Heavy Metal Music (Hanover) Warren.Politics and Human Rights in the Regional Press (Ball). The Worldof Music. in Staying Local in the Global Vzllage. 1989. B.

Interview with the author. bassist for death metal band Phobia. 6 June 1997 This content downloaded from 200. 29 March 1996 and 6 February 1998 Members of death metal bands Arwah and Ritual Crypt. Epilepsy. 13 June 1996 Cak. Interview with the author. 2 February 1998 Agus Yanky. 1 March 1996 Members of death metal band Behead. Joint interview with the author. Interview with the author.Gesturing elsewhere 215 Sabdo Moelyo (Moel). 20 March 1998 Jerink. 11 June 1998 Members of death metal band Angel Head. 21 April 1996 Sabdo Moelyo.16. Joint interview with the author. Interview with the author. Interview with the author. 30 July 1996 Arn. broadcaster and head of death metal organisation.89. 1921. Interviews with the author. guitarist with Eternal Madness. Interview with the author. 26 April 1996 Members of death metal band Triple Sick. Interview with the author. and Hendra. drummer for Balinese punk band Superman is Dead. vocalist and bassist for death metal band Eternal Madness. death metal band. vocalist for former thrash cover band. 21 Dec 2015 14:51:11 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .152 on Mon.