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



Motorheadmike
We need a MASSIVE METAL FEST For THE NAVAJO!! Many of us would travel to HONOR our METAL BROTHERS.
neuroleptika
Black metal is a tool to use to spark your heritage back from the abyss, Respect from Sweden
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.
Wowbagger
Greetings from Norway! I would love to hear Native American music and religion mixed with solid metal! Horns 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
Steve Martino
There was surprisingly little Rez Metal in this video about Rez Metal
Matias
I hope their mosh pits don't have skinwalkers in them.
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.
XEREBRL
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.
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.
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.
demigodlike
These Navajos sure looked like they adopted/embraced the whole 90s Norwegian black metal cult bands with the corpse paint ala Mayhem, Immortal, Darkthrone, Emperor, Gorgoroth,etc. \m/
newwavepop
i was really hoping this was a trailer for a full documentary.
Nick
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
Craig Riverman
Still rocking cassette tapes lol
bookreaderson
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
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.
domtron88
Like a wild Indian from outerspace: drunk and high on weed!
Steinar Flaten
So thats why they all had mohawks and long hair before whitey came over
7 Realms Productions
It would be nice if you’d link some of the featured artists’ works.
marker
To them it's natural to wear paint, that's what their warrior ancestors did
Chris Lates
Metal is the screaming voice of the underdog
mercy Hernan
Why do I find them extremely attractive ?
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!!
K. Satō
Christian oppression has spawned some of the best music.
gulfsurfco
Respect! Needs a follow up video with some music.
Citizenshane81
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, angry because I’m half Plains Cree and I never looked like my cousins and even my own sister. I guess my twin brother and I split pigment My Kokum use to really protect me, all my life she did because all my cousins and aunties and uncles use to call me & my brother white eyes. Then I saw racism from white people towards my own family. 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.
SIDisTHE
Showing some music would have been nice.
Brian Haskins
All respect dude, western culture has fkd us all up. Your people were a more recent example. Injustice.
Charles Grohn
I'm an older white guy. Yet in my high school days I found myself rejecting what was "popular" in the early 90's. I found myself spending my time on a Comanche Res. All my friends were Comanche Indians. Metal was huge within that culture back then. I fit in good with my friends for being a white guy. Although their parents looked at me a bit strange. Anyway, thanks for this vid. It brought back some great memories. Apache ,Ok, Medicine Park, Ok, Elgin, Ok, and Porter Hill, Ok. To those guys that are still with us and those who have passed on. Thank You for all the memories I will carry for a lifetime!!!
Smash Crusher
I love the into the documentary dude should of tied his shoes lol
imakedarkwaveinmymothersbasement
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...
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.
Pvt. Prinny
You could have atleast let the viewers hear some of that music
Joe Edwards
next time, include the actual music?
bloodinthewater
Big respect to the Navajo Nation Metal Scene! Come play in Los Angeles!
Car1Sagan
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
Justin Kantner
Metal is a universal culture that transcends boundaries and limitations.
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!
Citizenshane81
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.
Antares
Keep with the good work! Metal is forever, greetings from a Metalhead from Slovenia. Respect!
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!
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.
Jenny Dysart
Arizona represent
john trejo
Cry for the Indians
Butwhat Canido
Metal is the universal language, but only the young heart can understand it.
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!
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.
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.
Skaught
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!
RedMan
Natives can't handle their liquor.
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.
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!
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!
naejimba
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?
The Matt
I would’ve liked to hear some of the bands.
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...
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.
Mazzoh
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..
Laryssa AM
Did anyone hear that, he's grateful for his struggles. Words to live by. Love it
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...
Eric James
I thought I was watching some kind of documentary. That was a very well produced video. I thought it was setting the stage for listening to some Navajo black metal. I was thinking the whole time, "I cant wait to hear this! I've never even heard of Navajo black metal". Then the video ended and it was like wah???
Azrael ben abraha
big respect from eastern europe to all rez metalheads
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.
hout00gje
Exactly.. stop conforming to western culture. Find back your roots and mix it with some metal. Awesome! You can expres yourself through art. That's an important job too. Magical mystical metal. Connection to truth.
Daniel J
I grew up near the Rez in Arizona, and Later in Colorado. I’ve played on the Rez several times, it was a blast. Even when I was 16 those guys got down and made us feel like rick stars. They would come to the shows in flagstaff and Farmington to. They LOVE their metal.
Jason Miller
What does she mean nobody's heard of Natives playing metal? I'm 40 and from Oklahoma and tons of Natives I grew up with listened and played metal. You guys aren't starting anything new for your culture.
Steven Mendez
I'm from Phoenix, Az. I used to go to shows on the rez and around. The native kids were hardcore and heavy duty. They loved and lived metal. This doc doesn't capture the passion. Real bravery is going into the pit in a tiny little rez venue made for 20 people packed with 70 and letting go. Try it
The Last Word
I love it! This is a perfect example of why METAL WILL NEVER DIE!!
Bianca Thompson
Wtf?! I never knew about this. Much support to all the navajo metal bands y'all should do one big show with all of you. It'd be sick!
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
Fabz
Heavy metal music is a sacred thing, it's passed down through generations , it calls to certain people even encourages one to play an instrument learn the ways Rumble documentary is a good one too
steve e miller
Cheers to my Navajo Metal Brothers. You have brothers and sisters worldwide.
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.🤘🤘🤘
Uden One-Eye
Doesn't sound absurd brother. Reality is absurd.
Death Medical Dave
This was very awesome!… But you should have played more metal from these bands, the whole time I was waiting to hear some sick black metal from these Indians… Thank you for showing me this, I will search for them now 🤘🏼
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.
siknsydsezKYS knucklesammich
Been to a couple of the rez. Navajo and tahona ootum..not sure if I'm spelling that correct..a beautiful people who really got screwed..they put them on the shittyist land . I mean dessert like areas are beautiful..but they are inhospitable
Keith Hatlak
Better than the shitty trap music the natives play on the rez where I live.
evolvinglight&love
From my personal experience, country music can easily drive a lot of people to become alcoholic and/or suicidal. If you love it, that's fine, but I, and most people I know can't tolerate more than one country song before we have to listen to something else.
Amannda Elodia
Rock on my native brothers originally from Tucson az member of the tohono o'Odham nation living in Oregon good to see you out there rocking
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
ANNETTE DREISBACH
IM IN LOVE!!!!
Ghost Keeper13
AWSUM....Respect Our Native Heritage...New Generation!
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.
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)
Smiley Man
fist in the air for this HAYE HAYE :-)
Rollin Heavy Ats
Badass video wish these guys nothing but the absolute best !
Din Rima
Hail Metal Support 100% From Malaysia
Bob Barker
I am glad they have an outlet. Music has served as a outlet for me as well.
lambknot
I'm an Apache up here in Toronto trying to get better at my instrument - I hope to make it down southwest sometime soon :)
Harley Quindizzle
I looooovVVvVvveeee Native Americans 💖💖💖💖
cruhg
why not have a concert to benefit the reservation? somebody call tool
Sunspot Penumbra
Rock Music, Metal music is the music of the working men. Is suppose to be harsh, from the inside, is protest is violence without violence, is letting everything out and have a fun time all at the same time. This is pretty Heavy Metal.
Queenbee Dat
Very sad to see their struggles. Sorry they lost the ways of their ancestors. Such noble people who took care of nature and wildlife. Makes me very sad to see.
Joel Apodaca
\,,/...... NATIVES........\,,/.......REAL AMERICAN METAL.......... ACALA,TX.
MICHOAK47N FERNANDEZ
METAL WILL NEVER DIE.
Aborigen1974
Yeah...🤟🎸...they deserve a full metal festival on their land...
shovington67
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.
RoosterIB
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.