Explore the Navajo Metal Scene: THE PIT Presents ‘Rez Metal’
The PIT presents : Rez Metal, Inside the Navajo Nation Heavy Metal Scene
Available right now on the THE PIT platform.
“Shaman. Spiritual anarchist. Punk royal. Rastafarian. Activist. These are tags affixed to Paul”H.R.”Hudson, perhaps the greatest punk rock vocalist the genre has ever or will ever see”
As new addition to its list of programs, THE PIT VOD platform presents ‘Rez Metal, a documentary following the Navajo heavy metal band I Don’t Konform‘s journey from performing on poverty-stricken reservations to recording their debut album with Grammy-award winner producer of Metallica while telling the compelling story of thriving heavy metal scene on the Navajo reservations.
When the lead singer of I Don’t Konformsent out a demo album to Flemming Rasmussen, the Grammy Award-winning producer of Metallica, they never imagined themselves a few months later rehearsing with him inside a hot Hogan on the Navajo reservation before recording their debut album at his iconic Sweet Silence Studio in Demark.
As Rasmussen states, “a specific technical element wasn’t what stood out for me but the raw emotion and the thematic rage running through their music stood out as something refreshing and unique” – something true to the life of this heavy metal band from the Navajo Reservation.
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The culture of metal music is universal. There is no racial, national, or cultural barrier that separates one “Metalhead” from another. I grew up in Iran during the Islamic revolution and in the midst of a devastating war with Iraq. The prohibition of certain types of lifestyles and music was common during this period. We had few outlets to express ourselves freely. As a teenager, I was drawn to heavy metal music, a “form of devil worship” according to the Iranian government. I spoke very little English at the time, but I felt that I didn’t need to understand the lyrics of many Heavy Metal bands such as Pantera in order to escape the oppression that drove many of my close friends to depression, drug addiction, and ultimately suicide. Ironically, I found solace in heavy metal, which is often blamed for leading its listeners to self-destructive behaviors.
Contrary to those who have linked aggression and suicide to heavy metal music, many Navajo heavy metal bands and their fans shared in interviews that they use their choice of music as positive self-regulation, a coping mechanism, and a source of inspiration, happiness, and belonging. Having embraced heavy metal music as a potent form of self-expression, I am inspired to produce a documentary that reflects my personal experience with heavy metal as a vehicle for constructive anger similar to many heavy metal bands throughout the Navajo reservations.