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Indonesian Hardcore Introduction

This post is about the INDONESIAN hardcore scene. You might have never heard or cared about them because of the geographic, cultural and economic distance between Indonesia and the Western countries. Don’t be mistaken, there is a flourishing scene over there. And this post is meant to give a look upon that Indonesian scene.

Dutch map of INDONESIA and surrounding countries (Click on it for bigger view)
Let’s start getting a broader view of that scene by listening to and analysing the INDONESIAN “Hardcore Punk Attakk” compilation CD released by ONE VOICE ASIA RECORDS from Singapore. Obviously releasing on vinyl is a Western thing and too exclusive over there…
Because Hand Upon Salvation was the first band from over there that I heard, I actually got and gave in this post a narrow and deformed view upon that scene. When listening to this CD I come to know that it’s actually not all metalcore over there. On the contrary, almost all of the featured bands play a more old-school punk style of hardcore. HUS is actually one of the few metallic band on this compilation.
It’s actually also very cool to hear that there are also female singers in some of the featured bands. And also cool to hear that HUS is actually the flag-bearer of the more progressive metallic hardcore or new-school hardcore. They definitely stand apart and stand out. Also Donor Darah give a brutal metallic input to this release, Donor Darah is also one of the two bands that has lyrics in Indonesian language. All the other band have English lyrics. 
Coming to the lyrical part. I read a lot of criticism towards society over there; the poverty, the smoke clogged city-streets, the wars that happened in the region, greed of the few who ruled them all. But let’s not forget the more positive bands also, songs about unity, friendship, dedication to the core. The vegan and vegetarian lyrics, the straight-edge lyrics are all there.In short, it is actually a melting pot of all kinds of hardcore. From old-school trashy core, to the metallic new-school and in between styles. And youth-crew styled bands also, vegan-straight-edge metal, in short every sub-genre you can think of. There are also skate-board crews etc.The hardcore scenes are strictly limited to the urban zones of Indonesia, there’s a huge difference between cities and rural areas. Mainly the Java Island which has most cities knows hardcore scenes. Java is the island with cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Yogjakarta, Malang,… Most bands on this compilation CD come from that island.

Bands featured on that compilation and label logo

Keep in mind that they need to do everything with less financial means than us. And are under the constant threat of earth-quakes, volcano’s, heavy rains, etc… It all began a tad later over there also, so the hardcore scene still needs to be build out over there.

I did some searching on the web for you guys and I couldn’t find one of the featured bands on the web unfortunately. But actually to my surprise all but that one are on the web. So there’s actually a way to share to you this music because they have songs on myspace and some of them on facebook! Feel free to check it out for your self:

xReason To Diex:
Don’t Look Back:
Donor Darah:
Deadly Eye Candy:
No More Victim Dead:
Hands Upon Salvation:
The Jinxz:
Battle For Freedom:
Voting Crew:


Killed On Juarez
Paper Ganster
Straight Answer
Reasons To Die

For closures I will quote Agus from Indonesia – who is the vocalist of Hands Upon Salvation – on the similarities and differences between Western and Indonesian Hardcore in all it’s facets:

“As long as I remember, hardcore/ punk culture entered Indonesia in the late 80’s, I remember reading some zines who are describing some bands who started to adopt hardcore/ punk/ metal in the late 80’s in Jakarta, after that kids begin to play fast-short-loud-angry distorted music and the fire begins to spark everywhere in every major city in Indonesia after it. Especially on Java Island, most of them are producing many great bands with good and memorable releases.

Hardcore scene, are mostly consist of young-mature-adult “kids” (age 15 to 35), most of the bands, people who run labels, people who are setting up shows, doing zines, etc are mostly from that variety of age. They came from many types of kids, rich, middle and poor classes, unemployed-students who are working daily, you can find many types of kids here. They come from every different background and are drawn into it for the love of the music, the network between, the spirits of friendship and all that.

DIY ethics? Most of people here are excelling in them here, doing shows, playing on tours, self-producing releases and everything like that. But you know, there are always two sides of everything, those who are close-minded and also those who open-minded in doing all their activities within the scene.

Indonesia is not really a rich country, so money always is the first problem we have to deal with in everything we do here. It’s easy to start a band, but it’s not easy to maintain the band, keep playing and this is happening on all types of activities whether you’re playing in bands, setting up shows, producing releases, writing zines. I see many friends come and go, good bands break up before they even release something. Chances, experiences, knowledge, and networking is hard over here; maybe that’s what we need here to keep playing as good as we can. We know it will not be as easy like the first time we did it. But the love of the music and every passion in it will always be the first answer of what we do and why we do it, whether it’s only a year or more than a decade.

When it comes to any comparison with the original area from where this subculture comes (USA in the first place and also later Europe), Indonesia is a tiny area. But with interesting and growing scenes of distorted music. Maybe it’s time for fans of hardcore/punk/metal in everywhere they lived to open their ears for any distorted music coming from Indonesia”.       

As you can see they really want to get the word and music out. And apart from material and financial wealth it’s not so different over there that here in our Western society. In my opinion, the huge difference is that surviving in Hardcore over in Indonesia is even more difficult than in USA and Europe. Due to the geological, cultural and financial problems they face everyday. You can say what you want but Hardcore is still a product of a welfare society as it originated in the States and many respect to those in Indonesia who manage to survive in Hardcore.

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