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

"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

We need a MASSIVE METAL FEST For THE NAVAJO!! Many of us would travel to HONOR our METAL BROTHERS.
You Toob
Why didn't we get to hear any of the actual music??... I really wanted to hear it
Greetings from Norway! I would love to hear Native American music and religion mixed with solid metal! Horns up!
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
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
Allan Salas
I Dont Konform is on Spotify. Mutilated Tyrant and Born of Winter have some stuff in Youtube.
Showing some music would have been nice.
why not have a concert to benefit the reservation? somebody call tool
Respect! Needs a follow up video with some music.
Steve Martino
There was surprisingly little Rez Metal in this video about Rez Metal
The Mad Hattress
It's incredible how metal can really bring people together, really give them the spirit and energy to keep going. Truly inspiring.
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!
Redlioness 2019
The old generation of the Navaho were the best. The west have influenced and infiltrated the newer generation and had corrupted their true way of life. SHAME REALLY.
TheSlayFer Ch. T.
Original American Metal!!! This is TRUE KVLT.
Terrell Bedonie
Man growing up in Chinle AZ, this video really hit home. Never thought i'd ever see our love for metal exposed but i'm thankful for Revolver's outlet. Much appreciated.
Time Navigator
I got mad respect for you guys, keep it up!
Jimi The Hobo Live
Great short film. I moved to New Mexico and noticed right away natives were very really into metal. Big metal scene in Albuquerque.
Regina Terminello
Thanks.. this validates my metal background.. angry, but passionate.. ya’ll need to keep representing.. glad to know soldiers still rule..🤘🏾🐾🦁
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.
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...
nisha Thais
I love the exposure for our local artists in a way! And it's great to see the people I know enlighten others with this video and every day. 🤘
steve e miller
Cheers to my Navajo Metal Brothers. You have brothers and sisters worldwide.
Ghost Keeper13
AWSUM....Respect Our Native Heritage...New Generation!
Black metal is a tool to use to spark your heritage back from the abyss, Respect from Sweden
Yeah...🤟🎸...they deserve a full metal festival on their land...
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.
caroline stone
The best art comes from pain. I don't know what it is like to grow up on a reservation, and my heart goes out to these people.
Commander Voca
Proud of these guys. I myself am Navajo and i would love to see more of these bands. I've seen Mutilated Tyrant in Flagstaff, AZ. Horns up \m/
The Matt
I would’ve liked to hear some of the bands.
Scott Sharp
Human beings are beautiful medicine, music is beautiful medicine ❤️💛💚 thank U Mother Earth thank U creator, aho all my relations.
Sonya Cronkvist
It's never too late to discover new things Respect from Europe,Bulgaria,metal brothers
Ferjam 74
"Reservation Metal". That's the coolest thing I've ever heard!
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.
I love it! This is a perfect example of why METAL WILL NEVER DIE!!
To them it's natural to wear paint, that's what their warrior ancestors did
D Snodgrass
Much respect to these folks. They remind me, in a way, of the Siberian metal band Devilgroth; overcoming their isolation by participating in the Great Stream of global heavy metal culture, and gifting us with the uniqueness of what they alone possess. May we feed them as much in return.
Joe Edwards
next time, include the actual music?
Brian Haskins
All respect dude, western culture has fkd us all up. Your people were a more recent example. Injustice.
7 Realms Productions
It would be nice if you’d link some of the featured artists’ works.
I always wondered why there was no Native American Black Metal. It's great to see it starting. Don't think living away from civilization is bad though. Use your heritage to create Nature based Black Metal. That is the way it was meant to be. The desert, the night, the sound of coyote under the stars... Not evil, not hatred. The majestic might of nocturnal Earth..
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.
🤟🏾🙏🏾🖕🏾 PS Eye believe- -but wethinks it’s time to Activate
Hippie Grinder669
Always tie your shoes before stepping into the pit!!! At least you didn't lose em hahaha there's always a random shoe or two on the floor after a show hahahaha
Stuff like this is why I am subbed to this channel.
Rosetta Bahe
Respect for my Indigenous Brothers✊ #DinéNation
Looking forward to seeing you on the lawn and in the pit this May for Slayer and Cannibal Corpse. Respect.
James Bond
"The black metals really live that life, you know?" MUTILATED TYRANT is an excellent band. 😈 Looking forward to seeing them live sometime soon! I'm so glad to see them receiving international recognition. 💀
Bob Barker
I am glad they have an outlet. Music has served as a outlet for me as well.
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.
Tiger Style
Rule #1 of any pit: TIE YA SHOES!!! "It's not too great around here" is an understatement. The shit goin on with our family that we've left to rot on these reservations (seems pretty intentional) is disgusting and most people don't even realize what's going on, the hopelessness, dispair and suffering in the most beautiful parts of the country. By design. Before the rise of rez metal I'd never really heard anybody other than a couple crust bands speak on it and I'm one of maybe a a couple thousand people in the world, tops, that's heard those songs. Shit ain't popular lol Just sad as hell. Idiots love the "why don't they leave!" Or "why don't they make the reservations better" or whatever like it's just that easy and simple and not understanding the situation AT ALL. I actually give a fuck and I still learn new stuff all the time. I know a few people that grew up on reservations, have family on reservations or still live there and it's not what most people think. Very few casino mogals and even that is a twisted thing when ya understand it. Get in tune! Always in solidarity ✊ But solidarity is nothin without action!
I really enjoyed this documentary, Wished it was abit longer. Truly fascinating. I would like to know more about what metal would be like on the reservations
Luis Granados
Keep on head banging doesn't matter what background one comes from. " .. hopefully you all make it big... there's always love the scene... hope to see any of the bands out there somewhere here in L.A.!!!
bo dangels
You guys should dress in your warrior clothing and play that metal will focus on drums and put that anger in and rage from your ancestors. That would be sic the drum and dance gives me the chills you can feel the spirit
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.
dominic norton
Awesome, brother. I would like to see more of their work, They got a channel of their own?
Respect 🤘🏼💀🤘🏼
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.
Ichigo Kotetsu
This documentary is awesomely beautifully filmed, thanks :D
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.
abisai .98
To the Navajo MetalHeads, you guys gotta bring your music to phx on the first friday of the month
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!
Just Someone
Time for Burning Metal Man festival Or better yet IronMan festival 🤘🏻 Black Sabbath style
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?
even the most extreme scandinavian black metal bands would and will support this. the ideals are the same.
Kirk Begay
Metallica to Rammstein to Dream Theater. Slayer, Pantera, Iron Maiden. I love it all. Great video, I'm from the Navajo Nation and everything that was said is true. Growing up was a struggle. Traveling far was odd. You could never travel further than your nearest walmart, even though that walmart is a 3 hour drive.
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.
Julie Jay
In some shamanic rituals the drum is used to journey within. I am not gonna lie, I would love to hear these guys playing drums and guitars live! What a wild experience it must be.
Rollin Heavy Ats
Badass video wish these guys nothing but the absolute best !
Navajo Indians are true survivors and unfairly treated in America which has betrayed them. They stand proud of their heritage and I hope life gets better for them. It's time for America to help them and stop the suffering of these great people of the this great land that was stolen from them. I agree with a Metal Fest for the Navajo.
Keep with the good work! Metal is forever, greetings from a Metalhead from Slovenia. Respect!
Lover Deadly
There's good metal bands from the Pima-Maricopa rez and from the Gila River rez that play in Phoenix a lot. Saintbreaker is one of my favorites. Stoneclaw is another good one I heard recently. There used to be a great crust band called Lo-Cash Ninjas, too. I think they were from Gallup.
Ijust put seasons in the abyss on behind this much better.
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!
james lee
Dirt, Getting Kicked so absurd,down in the reservation getting wild.
moncorp1 Inc
I worked with some Navajo in the 4 corners area one time. VERY cool dudes. I couldn't find a way to get a new employer after the work we were doing ran out or I would have stayed. I loved the area, the culture and the people. Keep on rocking shik'is
Dan Smoothback
Mad respect for the folks in this video. Keep it heavy \m/
James Butterson
🤘 i had that same RANDY RHOADS poster back in 81 RIP RANDY RHOADS 🙏
Yla Tsudrats
Great content. You guys should pay these local Navajo Metal Bands to play and continue this as a series. The Metal scene in Albuquerque New Mexico is amazing. Really great bands that come out from To'Hajiilee(Navajo Reservation) & Laguna Pueblo. Suspended, Blinddryve, Defleshment, Diminished Existence, Impaled Offering.
Jayden Succubus
The Navajo Natives are My Ultimate Favorite Tribe. They are smart individuals. And I'm happy to seeing they have something to focus with and that Heavy Metal is there choice of what brings them there own peace. . And that's fine. Because I know it brings me peace too. They know whats up. . !!
Scxry Kid
loved this. MAJOR respect to these boys!!
Lela R.
My heart is filled up with love and warmth. I have never heard of Rez Metal. Will dig deeper into it \m/ greetings from france
i was really hoping this was a trailer for a full documentary.
Nate Knutson
Great piece, I really appreciated this being made and put out there. My only complaint is it needs more of the music they're making!
King Jann Lee Disturbed66
Well.. If they make it big.. Then there mascot will be a skin walkers from the dirt 🤘🤘𗁥
Shaylan James
I'm Navajo man, I've seen some of these bamds play live. its good shit man i do personaly play bass and guitar been at it since 7.
lirpa sinned
This is awesome. Gotta go find all of these bands now. Lol
Justin Kantner
Metal is a universal culture that transcends boundaries and limitations.
Chrissi G
🖤🤘👏 god bless you all for finding a way to get thro the shit that life is some times😚
The Most Ariel
\m/ Beautiful film. Thank you for sharing this story. I think we need to find more ways to connect rather than segregate ourselves.
Pamela Morse
I love this. I've always wanted to hear NDN metal. 😍🥰🤩❤️💖
joseph saskatchewan
Metal saved the youth an the adults in maskwacis. Glad to see that it is being acknowledged after all these years. I'm from Canada maslwacis Alberta. We are a cree reserve. Props an respect to these navo.
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.
The legend of Zelda in he guitar is dope
Great people, really admire their willing to believe in the positive aspects and being proud, for what you are in your temporary spot greetings from germany!
J& K
I'm from Grants and Gew up in the 80s. I learned about Sepultura through a friend from Gallup. I learned about good Slayer and more heavy metal though a bro from Laguna. I went to Slayer a while back in Albuquerque and hung out with my new friends I met there from the Navajo Nation. There will ALWAYS be metal on the Reservations. I love it...
Chugs on Drugs is a good Rez Metal band name.
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.🤘🤘🤘
Amanda McBride
Dope! Need real metal again. Hope these bands will bring it back in the most bad ass way. Love from Tucson. Bring it here. P.s. woulda been nice to actually hear some of their music....????
10/10 would go to a rezmetal show.
Mohave Dweller
This is f****ing awesome! I'm in havasu and am going to head up that way looking for these desert shows and bands 🤘🤘🤘