Indonesian Hardcore Revival

A band rips through a set in an abandoned house in Blitar. Photo by Matthew Niederhauser

A band rips through a set in an abandoned house in Blitar. Photo by Matthew Niederhauser

Indonesian hardcore is back. A growing number of youth, disaffected by high rates of unemployment and conservative social mores, are returning to hardcore musical roots that first emerged in Java during the early nineties. Looking to blow off steam and build an alternative community that doesn’t bow to sponsors or mainstream media restrictions, these teenagers like the tempo loud, strong and fast. By employing DIY tactics on the Internet and through mobile phones, they continue to establish larger networks of peers and fellow outsiders. The swelling ranks of Indonesian hardcore fans now organize shows in abandoned houses, art centers and empty storefronts across the country.

These communal affairs, put on purely for the sake of the music, often showcase up to twenty bands playing short, fiery sets of hardcore music as well as other outlying subgenres of metal and punk. The mosh pits may appear violent but fighting is not tolerated and after the shows most fans hang around and enjoy the camaraderie of their peers. The hardcore community in Java promotes tolerance and diversity and also continues to redefine the role of women in the largest Muslim nation on the planet.

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