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 (opens in new tab). For more information, visit the Rockabul website (opens in new tab).

Rockabul poster

Eleanor Goodman
Editor, Metal Hammer

Eleanor was promoted to the role of Editor at Metal Hammer magazine after over seven years with the company, having previously served as Deputy Editor and Features Editor. Prior to joining Metal Hammer, El spent three years as Production Editor at Kerrang! and four years as Production Editor and Deputy Editor at Bizarre. She has also written for the likes of Classic Rock, Prog, Rock Sound and Visit London amongst others, and was a regular presenter on the Metal Hammer Podcast.