This video features three of the active underground heavy metal acts in Pakistan: Dionysus (Lahore, Death/Doom Metal), Takatak (Lahore, Groove Metal) and BlackHour (Islamabad, Thrash Metal).
The video includes small extracts from the in-depth interviews conducted over a period of one year. In addition to these three bands various other heavy metal performers and online bloggers were interviewed to give this study a well-rounded approach. I also attended various performances and jam sessions of these bands.
This research aims at studying how heavy metal is re-contextualized in Pakistan as a genre and as a social phenomenon. The analysis that is conducted in the written paper shows that, heavy metal music in Pakistan is essentially elitist in character and these musicians adopt/prefer this genre over other available options primarily because of its foreign-ness. These performers treat heavy metal as a labor of love, with no possible economic, or even cultural gains. The distinctly non-local nature of this kind of music allows the Pakistani youth, both performers as well as the audience, a means to craft and perform temporary alternate identities in the highly polarized Pakistani culture. In case of heavy metal, “foreign-ness” first restricts the access to the genre to a particular social class on the one hand, and re-contextualizes and transforms it during reproduction in an alien land on the other hand.