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Afghan metal documentary Rockabul to premiere in London

District Unknown

Rockabul, a documentary on the first Afghan metal band, will premiere in London this Sunday.

It follows Afghan metallers District Unknown, as they form a band in an environment decimated by war, corruption and fanatical religious oppression. Footage of Kabul’s underground expat party scene in the mid-2000s is presented alongside evidence of the country’s conservative society, showing a nation in turmoil where the threat of violence is real for those who don’t conform.

Rockabul was made by Australian photojournalist-turned-director Travis Beard, who mentored District Unknown, and was executive produced by Faith No More’s Bill Gould. The film and band were presented with the Global Metal award at Metal Hammer’s 2015 Golden Gods.

“We all struggle in our lives in regards to what we believe, what we wanna fight for,” says Travis. “Metal is a really good way to get that frustration out both positively and negatively – a lot of people can’t make their point to a politician, but they can yell into a mic and get the same satisfaction. It’s global – it crosses boundaries.”

The premiere will feature a Q&A with District Unknown singer Yosuf Ahad Shah.

“Screaming felt so good,” says Yosuf. “It was dangerous, but part of me was saying, ‘You know what? You’re actually being part of a movement which later on people are gonna understand – that we played music to send a message. To tell people that if you have creativity, don’t be afraid, there’s nothing wrong with you.’”

Rockabul’s UK premiere is on Sunday November 4 at 2.30pm, at Genesis Cinema in east London. Tickets cost £10.50 for adults, £8.00 for students/NHS workers and £5.50 for concessions, and are available now. For more information, visit the Rockabul website.

Rockabul poster

Eleanor Goodman

Metal Hammer deputy editor El commissions the features section of the magazine and curates covermount CDs, as well as co-hosting the Metal Hammer podcast. Irrationally obsessed with sea creatures.