Jeremy Wallach

Jeremy Wallach is author of Modern Noise, Fluid Genres: Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997-2001 (2008) and co-editor of Metal Rules the Globe: Heavy Metal Music around the World (2012). A cultural anthropologist and ethnomusicologist, he is an associate professor in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University.



"Pluralism vs. Islamic Fundamentalism in Jakarta's Extreme Metal Scene"

For most of its proud decade-and-a-half-long history, Jakarta’s extreme metal scene was emphatically secular in orientation and shied away from religious issues. The One Finger Metal movement changed all that. This paper discusses the issues at play in a major new schism in the Jakarta metal scene that pits progressive pluralist metalheads against a growing movement that seeks to enlist metal in the cause of militant Islamic fundamentalism. The latter, spearheaded by “Ombat” Nasution of the band Tengkorak, is composed of bands and fans that have united under the banner of Metal Satu Jari (One Finger Metal), a name that refers to the universally-recognized devil’s horns/ward-off-the-evil-eye sign (\m/) shorn of a horn (thereby rendering \m), said to connote monotheism and Allah instead of Satan. MSJ members engage in activities such as taking prayer rugs to concerts and reciting evening prayers during the breaks in bands’ sets, observing a Ramadan “boycott” of Facebook, and bantering onstage about smashing the infidel instead of stoking the mosh pit.

A vigorous countermovement was started in response to Metal Satu Jari: A handful of veterans of the scene, including Wendi Putranto from Rolling Stone Indonesia and Arian13 from the band Seringai, established Metal Untuk Semua (Metal for All). This paper, then, ultimately focuses on the lives of three Jakarta metal scene veterans, Arian13, Wendi, and Ombat, and discusses how the complex intersections of Indonesian national identity, the global metal ecumene, and the global jihadist movement both enabled and constrained their very different life choices.