It is impossible to deny that metal has become a global phenomenon over the last 40 years. Metal Hammer has long championed metal scenes from all corners of the world, not least because the devotion exhibited by fans from places as far away as South America and South East Asia seems to mirror and maybe even surpass our own. Having been fortunate enough to twice attend the Bandung Berisik festival, the metal scene in Indonesia is particularly close to our hearts. From extremely humble beginnings, the metal community in Indonesia has grown steadily over the last 25 years, evolving into one of the most passionate and dedicated scenes on the planet, with a huge number of bands producing music of a laudably high standard. You will almost certainly have heard of Burgerkill - winners of the Metal As Fuck award at Metal Hammer's 2013 Golden Gods ceremony - but there are countless other killer bands from every part of Indonesia, all thoroughly committed to nurturing their own community and promoting Indonesia metal on a worldwide scale.
As a result, we have to admit that the Indonesian presidential election that takes place this Wednesday is an event of clear significance, as one of the two candidates competing for the public’s affections is renowned among native metal fans as one of their own. Previously the mayor of Solo, a city in Central Java, Indonesia, and then later the Governor of the country’s capital Jakarta, Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is frequently seen at metal shows and reportedly once received a signed bass guitar from Metallica’s Rob Trujillo (although, somewhat bizarrely, he later had to hand it over to Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission because the gift was regarded as a bribe).
Our friends from Indonesia’s Metal Rebel crew were fortunate enough to grab five minutes with the aspiring politician and asked him if he is happy to be regarded as a bona fide metalhead.
“Definitely, although when I was younger I looked more like one!” he stated. “I became a metal fan in the third grade at junior high school, which was when I was around 14 years old. I didn’t discover metal through friends… after school one day I saw a local Solo band known as Terancam… a thrash metal band, the most noisy in Solo!”
Of course, here at Metal Hammer we wouldn’t pretend for a second to have any credible understanding of Indonesian politics, but it is unquestionably a positive sign for the country’s metal scene and for alternative culture in Asia as a whole, that such a prominent public figure should be so vocal in his support for heavy music. While chatting with the Metal Rebel crew, Jokowi cited Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Megadeth, Guns N’ Roses and Napalm Death as among his favourite international bands, while expressing his enthusiasm for Indonesia’s home-grown scene.
“I think we already have many great bands like Burgerkill, Jasad, Seringai, Slank, Superman Is Dead and so on,” he enthused. “The government should give their support so those bands can succeed internationally.”
Thanks to: The Metal Rebel Crew