Metal From the Dirt: Inside the Navajo Reservation's DIY Heavy-Metal Scene

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"There's a lot of bands, heavy-metal bands, on the Navajo reservation. And for some reason this music, this subculture, seems to permeate with the youth," says Jerold Cecil, manager of Arizona act I Dont Konform. "What Rez Metal is — 'rez' is sort of an inside word for 'reservation.' Our brand of metal is different than anybody else … it's blowing up." For one week this summer the Everything Is Stories creative team traveled to the Southwest United States, and Navajo Nation territory, to document the originators of the DIY Rez Metal scene, and the bands that are now carrying the torch, including I Dont Konform, Mutilated Tyrant and Born of Winter. From a generator-powered show in the Arizona desert to a band practicing in a traditional Navajo dwelling called a Hogan, this story — told by Navajo ("Diné") bands and individuals involved in the scene — explores the creation of Rez Metal in the Eighties, the juxtaposition of old and new Navajo traditions and the link between heavy metal and native pride. Directed by Clarke Tolton Produced by Everything Is Stories for Revolver Everything Is Stories is Mike Martinez, Tyler Wray Director of Photography Tyler Haft Edited by Vincent Staropoli Sound Mixer George Drake, Jr. Executive Producers Enrique Abeyta, Brandon Geist, Jimmy Hubbard, Skip Williamson, Brad Angle, Mike Martinez, Tyler Wray, Clarke Tolton Production Coordinator Sammi Chichester Music: I Dont Konform, Mutilated Tyrant, Domenic Palermo, J.S. Aurelius, Destruction Unit

Steve Martino
There was surprisingly little Res-Metal in this video about Res-Metal
We need a MASSIVE METAL FEST For THE NAVAJO!! Many of us would travel to HONOR our METAL BROTHERS.
Garrett Galindo
Not trying to "Flex" but i've shared stages with massive acts like DevilDriver and Dying Fetus on arguably the largest stages you can here in AZ, but nothing will ever beat playing to a crowd of 15 Rez kids on our regular stops in Farmington NM, Those kids Love metal more than anything and throw down for any band willing to show up.
7 Realms Productions
It would be nice if you’d link some of the featured artists’ works.
Justin Kantner
Metal is a universal culture that transcends boundaries and limitations.
Brandon Wilson
Hey y’all, let’s remember why we are commenting and why we are here... We should feel proud of these guys for making a video of the kind of music that’s supposed to brings us together. We have gone through so much as Native Americans and these guys are showing that we are here, we exist, and we will rise up! They give hope and we should all remember where we come from and start standing together, and not against each other.
Laryssa AM
Did anyone hear that, he's grateful for his struggles. Words to live by. Love it
Tenzin 68
You ever notice that Black Metal is popular where "christians" have destroyed people's culture. Like the "pagans" culture that my Norwegian ancestors had? Good job guys.
The Matt
I would’ve liked to hear some of the bands.
I hope their mosh pits don't have skinwalkers in them.
The Last Word
I love it! This is a perfect example of why METAL WILL NEVER DIE!!
Jeremy Crow
I clicked this video because I wanted to hear a bunch of rez metal and a bit of story. I got the reverse. It's ok and I want to hear the voices of my Native brothers and sisters. I was just hoping to hear more of this art they are creating with their own brand of metal.
Arizonan here, and I can attest to the Navajos love for metal. It's awesome, it helps me connect with navajos my age because we have in common that love of metal that nearly no one else has. Arizona metal shows are majority us caucasians, and navajos. Metal welcomes all and shuns hate, but that's the demographics I've noticed haha EDIT: autocorrect always fucking me up
Tony Walters
I was up there a few years back for a metal festival featuring all local native american bands with mushroomhead as the headliner. It was awesome the native bands were original and heavy as hell! These guys need to get signed.🤘🤘🤘
Keith Hatlak
Better than the shitty trap music the natives play on the rez where I live.
Rollin Heavy Ats
Badass video wish these guys nothing but the absolute best !
Charley Gnarly
Navajo country has always captivated me and mystified me since I was a child. I live near Taos, and every time I head west past the Jemez and Tusas into Navajo country I still get this haunting feeling. Something draws me to it. The history and spirit you can feel just walking through some of the canyons, I can't explain it but it's alive. The mobility and fighting prowess of these people was unparalleled. If you see the rugged canyon country they not only survived, but thrived in.. And just how fucking vast their territory was, you'll appreciate just how resourceful and free they were. They were truly living in their own realm and were untouchable for centuries. Truly saddens me how things went down between us whites and their ancestors I've read a lot about the Navajo Wars and.. Yeah, nothing to get into here its just so fucked and wish there was a way to make reconciliation. I wish I had some Navajo homies to talk to about this. Yall cool as fuck to me. Much love from the Sangre De Cristos of Taos and thanks for the video
Jesse Hawkes
Metal really reached out to many different cultures and people. It’s amazing, you don’t see that with anything else
Drew Lytle
One of the reasons I love Metal so much is that it's a actually in a constant liquid state, it's constantly formless and changing. Not only is this why we have so many metal genres but it's why so many cultures have integrated into it. It's produced bands from the middle east like Melechesh, Asia with Chthonic, South America with Imperium and Inquisition, a growing scene in Africa like Overthrust fro Botswana and now these bands part from this culture. I hope the word spreads and they become known, the diversity is what makes it so amazing, as well as enjoyable since it also offers variety.
Mike van buren
She won tickets to the "Master of Puppets/Ultimate Sin tour" . Very nice hit right there !
Daniel Iván
Fantastic portrait of these guys and their struggle. Just awesome. First time youtube recommends me something truly interesting.
These Navajos sure looked like they adopted/embraced the whole 90s Norwegian black metal cult bands with the corpse paint ala Mayhem, Darkthrone, Emperor, Gorgoroth, Dimmu etc. \m/
Adam Turner
I resonate so much with this! My village is a suicide capital, RESPECT and LOVE from wales uk! .. ❌👊!! ...
Jose Gonzalez
Can’t wait for a Native American prog metal band. Fuse some Gojira was natives instruments. Drooling already
Government didn’t create reservations to preserve native culture, it was to starve out a culture and remove them from society. Amish co-exist within modern society, but there is a bitterness within and around reservations that keep them from making that step. Reservations was probably one of the worst ideas Natives could have went along with. Keep the land, but leave it. No one can operate on the land, so no jobs and industry make it in.
I’ve played a number of shows in my life time...but by far I was gifted the opportunity to play a Navajo res in the fall of 2013. It was the gnarliest show I have ever played and hadn’t seen that much energy in a crowd that truly enjoyed a live touring band in some time. My love will forever be with the random dudes I met that night & the insane amount of 40oz that were shared... Hand hugs for all 🤚
Student of Rhythm
Makes perfect sense. Over in Europe they have the pagan folk metal, why not this, where the link to the past traditions is stronger?
Craig Riverman
Still rocking cassette tapes lol
Holy shit this makes sense to me... in the same way [traditionally] black metal spots like northern Europe have a historical reason for anti Christian ideals, so too for native Americans... I'm only like a 1/4 or so native; but been into counterculture my whole life... I can't believe this never dawned on me before...
In Canada u got these wannabe gangsta rappers from rez and they suck. They need to learn and instrument and understand hard work at it
Awesome. Fucking awesome.
CeeJay Ayyeee
The struggles are real. Keep strong.
norlens noel
When I lived near the Navajo Rez in New Mexico there were lots of hard rock fans. The Rez folks like to rock out more than any other group I’ve seen!
[HUSS]Bruizer Brody
Cherokee!!!!!!!!!! Love to the Navajo bros
Yaya Hatch-Joe
Being native I grew up with metal music my aunt's and uncle's played there casste tapes endlessly. My mom and dad even listened to metal music and still do. Metal music is our way of dealing with so much negative aspects of our everyday lives for me metal will always be in my blood
i was really hoping this was a trailer for a full documentary.
Stuff like this is why I am subbed to this channel.
Hugh Jass
Inspiring. Cheers from the Canadian north First Nations! :)
Metal is universal. You can incorparate any and every culture and it will be absolute best. European Metal, Asian Metal, Middle Eastern Metal, and Pre American/Native American Metal (which there needs to be more off). The Mexican underground scene is fantastic, because they incorparate Aztec culture which is also native American but we need to hear Native North American metal a lot more. A whole lot more. Especially with the spiritual and pagan aspects, I can imagine it'd be on par with the European pagan metal. Metal is the most amazing genre ever. Truly universal.
Ava Van Elis
It's sad really. This is a demonstration of how western culture of music is ultimately a negative influence (similar to street gangs)
I need me some Navajo metalhead friends!!!! Not kidding.
myname is love
Sweet a Metal Hogan! I'm going to be on the look out for you eyy! I'm outside of Gallup close to coyote canyon. METAL FOR LIFE! \,,,/😎\,,,/
Showing some music would have been nice.
Black metal is a tool to use to spark your heritage back from the abyss, Respect from Sweden
Eric Mort
You look like warriors with your makeup on going to war Indians are strong people I respect them and don't like to see them down when they have such a awesome heritage rise up warriors
I’m proud of my North American Indian heritage as well but I’d be lying if I said there was not not a phase in my teens where I felt so ashamed of my culture and angry because I’m half Plains Cree I never look like my cousins and even my own sister, I guess my twin brother and I split pigment But Kokum Are used to really have to protect me and she always did because all my cousins and aunties and uncles call me & my brother white eyes. But then I also got to see racism from white people towards my own family and I’ll tell you even though I grew up in a big city it was hard to fit in even though I’ve always identified as a First Nation Aboriginal Cree Indian.
Eugene Nicolaas
I got one suggestion for these metal dudes. Make videos of your performances and put them on YouTube and Patreon. People will like and send you money for your music as support. You can actually earn a lot by doing what you love to do. Keep on rocking forever! Music has no barriers.
Mike K
For me Metal has always represented struggle and rising against the established status quo which totally fits with what native people have endured since 1492. Rez metal reflects those struggles and the fact that indigenous people are still here and surviving not just some story in a history book full of lies! I was blessed to be at a pow wow in southern cali and was introduced to a navajo band called Dying Tribe (based out of Flagstaff AZ) got ahold of one of their cd's and was hooked, this was back in the mid 90's so its awesome to see that native metal is alive and well!
I saw suicidal tendencies in the 90's on a rez in New Mexico and it was the best show ever!
Harold Culhane
I'm 50 years old now and lived the 70s and 80s metal world and it does my heart good to see you keeping it going loud and proud.
Eli Montoya
These guys exemplify the original spirit of early metal scenes. Everything was DIY when I started playing metal shows. I'm 50 now and I love seeing that spirit alive in these beautiful young people. They need support! This outlet may very well save some of their lives. Native Americans have been systematically suppressed for way too long in this country. It's inexcusable and time to stop. These amazing people need to be revered and celebrated.
My Rez isn’t much better. Gordon’s First Nation, The last rez to close its doors in Canada back in 1996. This is our land, all of this is our land from the north east coast to the south west to the Arctic to South Florida to North Vancouver Island, this is our land and this is how we live, how did this ever happen how did the government Ever get away with this colonization. Fuck! As an Indigenous First Nation Indian I get so frustrated, I’m so angry.
To them it's natural to wear paint, that's what their warrior ancestors did
Bodhohaile of Dragon Ball
& @Laurence Tsosie Respect!...These guys should conquer the western world of metal, like mongols and turkic folk also do nowadays with folkrock, folkmetal and metal!watching this made me think of the band Corubro whom also sings in own language, also NoKTuRnL from Australia would be a bit more interesting of used own language, I promote nations using their mother tongue in their music!And never forget your culture, if you love your culture learn your tribe language and use it, be like mongols who almost lost their language but preserved it eventually, be proud of who you are guys, plus i'm glad i came across this video, thank you, and spread this video amongst all metal fans...P.S. an interesting band from New Zealand you guys might like, the guys are not Maori but certainly used the language in their music, check out Alien Weaponry!
I grew up in Lake Havasu City and went to Mohave Community College & Arizona State University and have lots of respect for Native American culture and Heavy Metal music. Many concerts there including Scorpions World Wide Live, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Motley Crew... Rock on Brothers
Good luck and keep doing your thing. \m/ (>.<) \m/
would be awesome to have at least a taste of this music... good job bringing awareness to the scene, but maybe play some little bites!
Snaps Provolone
Extremely well done but whomever purposely omitted music from the video should rethink this in the next vid. Was dying to hear some snippets but got nothing. Frustrating
remo what
A third of these comments are just angry white dudes complaining about Navajos like we're in the 1800s or something. I don't even think they like metal, they just want a reason to complain.
Go to Albuquerque nm to a metal concert. Metal is alive with in the native people 💯🔥🔥🔥
Chris Maher
Played with a band named Rez-of-War, Heavy bunch. They played the voodoo lounge with us in like 2004 I want to say. Awesome and heavy.
lvg rx8
Native musicians are just very humble people in general. I know this video is based around metal but the Navajo reservation is full of talented musicians. Many res fests are full of Metal, Punk, Psychobilly/Rockabilly bands. My gosh do they all come together and play their asses off. It's beautiful!! Its sad that suicide and alcoholism are the two biggest issues the reservation is having.
DanGoodShot pewpew
"Everybody thinks we are a bunch of crazy Indians getting Wild". Yes. Cuz you are. It's heavy metal! That's what you're supposed to do. Go crazy and get wild!!! Metal for life!!
Like a wild Indian from outerspace: drunk and high on weed!
Alex Scott
Looking for the music on Spotify. Not finding much. Do more videos with more music and more story if you can. Absolutely want to hear more and learn more.
Greetings from Norway! I would love to hear Native American music and religion mixed with solid metal! Horns up!
BeastAmongst Humansheep666
Christopher Pineau
This is something I can get behind, here. Only goes to show how inspiring the energy of metal music can be to change lives and help others reach out and do something great with themselves, even if it's only touching people around them. I have nothing bad to say about Native folks in general--in fact, I grew up around a Navajo family in my home town--and I hope these guys can make something even more glorious of this scene in the future!
Leonard Phillips
COOL clip. That first metal head looks messed up. Alcohol? Inhalants? But I love the idea of 'Res-Metal" I hope some of these kids tap into tribal music and ritual for inspiration. So much of that was MENT for Rock n Roll.
Farmergirl of Chickens
Much different sentiment than what I see on the Cherokee rez in Western NC. Eye opening. Didn't realize how bad it was out there. Glad to see this bright spot. Hope life improves.
J.R. DePew
There are many who would love to come and see I Don't Konform play live. Is there a way for people to come and personally support the cause? I love what these guys are doing. Harnessing Power from certain vibrational frequencies is exactly what tribal people are most gifted at. Honing in on Heavy Metal has the power to heal broken souls and even save lives through the many deep realizations that Heavy Metal provides the listeners. The Heavy Metal lifestyle is rebellious which is much needed in today's society of sheeple. Thank You, my Navajo Brothers, for keeping the sacred frequencies of Heavy Metal alive and well on the reservation and sharing it with us all on YouTube!
Chris Lates
Metal is the screaming voice of the underdog
Joe Edwards
next time, include the actual music?
Smash Crusher
I love the into the documentary dude should of tied his shoes lol
Jenny Dysart
Arizona represent
mike brown
This is what govt control of a society looks like.
Pelle Andersson
Top notch Revolver. Amazing video. Keep it up!
K. Satō
Christian oppression has spawned some of the best music.
Brittney Franco
Western Shoshone and always been into punk and metal. This is dope
Man these people have hearts, they have a wonderful soul. Their story makes sense in a way alot of us black metal fans can relate to. They keep their heads high despite the depression and anger they might go through in their hometown. My love and respects to them. 🔥🤘🤘🤘🔥
Spirit Dance
Kid with the Moonblood and Graveland patches!
Geoff Barkley
Ya if ur from AZ and you’ve been to a metal concert here you would know Indians love metal.... shit is awesome keep up the good work keeping the good music alive!!!! I bet if the concerts on the Rez were advertised a lot of people would go... RezMetal☝️🤘
Steinar Flaten
So thats why they all had mohawks and long hair before whitey came over
mercy Hernan
Why do I find them extremely attractive ?
julian weinberger
So exquisitely interesting that black metal represents and strengthens these people on so many levels...I loved that last bass riff...the space and mood of the other stuff. They could really build that up...
I think I understand the simple "roots" of this video. Your home is where you lay your head night after night. I think your land is beautiful in it's own way. But I also think it is hard for anybody to live in a barren land. Metal music is an escape, it's entertainment, it's a way of releasing pent up energy. I'm not into much "death metal" because I find it depressing. Though some of it is well done. I still like good vocals with hard driving riffs. Is alcoholism still a problem here? I hope not. I like to party a little bit myself, but not to extremes. Have you heard of the latest metal act taking the world by storm? Try BABYMETAL. The music is off the hook with the Kami Band backing 3 Japanese girls. I will listen to some of the bands mentioned here and give them props if they are good enough for me.
Joshua Twist
Oklahoma natives are in solidarity with our western brothers! This video really lifted my heart. It makes me imagine what a native metal festival would be like...
Sammy Webb
Navajo Nation!!! 😤😈😎😈😤😈😎😈 Hell ya!!! Thanks 💯
Christopher Cole
I really like how they had adopted the sounds and styles of metal, and especially Black Metal to interpret their cultures dark side of mysticism, and to use that as an outlet of the energies that have made some of the individuals on the reservations feel bleak, and through that struggle and life feeling bleak, you grab that energy by the horns & balls and give it the Tombstoner like the Undertaker while raging to the sounds of your favorite diy band! On a side note as a PSA, the most interesting thing about Metal in the wake of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was the influence that Punk Rock and Hardcore Punk had on metal, in which the birth of Thrash, Death, and Black Metal had become to their fruition. From there Metal then in return influenced Hardcore Punk towards the late 1980s, from there Crossover Thrash, Crust Punk and Grindcore were born as well. One band I swear by that is amazing is RESISTANT CULTURE, features (or featured) members of Terrorizer, fronted by Anthony "Rez-Hawk", the sound is very raw Grindcore/Crust Punk/Extreme Metal featuring the native tribal music sounds of the indigenous flute, rattle, tribal drum, and chants that originated with Anthony Rez-Hawks ancestral tribe.
Rob Matthew
I've watched this video about a dozen times now. It's really a very insightful and well produced piece. There is something about the passion they relate as they talk about their personal experiences that really reaches me. The anger, aggression, and struggles they all seem to share and how they use metal to channel it. I totally get that. Not being Native American I could not even begin to relate to the resentment they pass from generation to generation, but I can relate to living in a world that I don't really feel a part of. I use metal to persevere and try to rise above the mediocrity that surrounds me. It helps me to cope with the endless compromise I must endure to live in this society. I'd really love to see a Native American metal band perform live at one of their improvised res venues!
Man vs Merik
Natives love metal around here. Its yuge
Pvt. Prinny
You could have atleast let the viewers hear some of that music
I'm curious what prevents them from becoming self sufficient? They have land are they not able to do what they want on it without red tape from the government?
Just loved that documentary. It makes more sense than just about any other social group , that native americans would embrace this extreme music form to speak for their culture. The fact that the equipment is getting better and cheaper is also a huge plus for these fans . I hope that the Internet and delivery services continue to help these young men to learn to play,, purchase gear, practice hard, create their own genre of musical expression, and take it to the world. Good luck.
Scott Sharp
Human beings are beautiful medicine, music is beautiful medicine ❤️💛💚 thank U Mother Earth thank U creator, aho all my relations.
Tishall Moon
I visited Gonado Arizona at the Navajo reservation 10 years ago. It was Epic. Long live Navajo.
Battle Born Again
I believe it comes from their pagan roots same thing in Norway were Black Metal is huge. Its something shamanistic over black metal, using negative imagery to drive away negative energy. Most black metal guys/girls are really good people, nice to be around and I believe it has to do with that they are able to confront the darkness in themselves and the world and change it to something better.
Craig Cutch
They deserve all lot from all of us all Native Americans we took from them you can give a contract I'm sure the ROCK WORLD can always use another great heavy metal band there people just like us.........,...,.... KEEP ROCKIN TRIBE
Adam Coates
Very cool to see a small glimpse of these guy's scene. Any Native American powerviolence bands out there?