Eastern Desekratorz and Nuclear Metal Lust:1 Performing ‘Authentic’ black metal in Malaysian Borneo | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2052-3998
  • E-ISSN: 2052-4005



Among the globalized metal scenes of South East Asia, Malaysian Borneo’s black metal (BM) demonstrates a great deal of referencing to the satanic themes and sonic rawness of the first wave of western BM bands such as Venom and Bathory. However, the ways in which Malaysian Borneo black metallers perform what they perceive to be ‘authentic’ BM identity clash with the reality of their everyday lives. In fact, their social backgrounds seem incompatible with the features of BM authenticity they strive to perform. What remains unclear is how and why Malaysian Borneo BM fans and musicians manifested their authentic belonging to this subculture by adopting the genre’s dominant anti-Christian imagery, when in most instances Christianity is not their religion of choice. Qualitative data were collected by ten weeks of ethnographic fieldwork and semi-structured interviews with eight members of Malaysian Borneo’s BM scene in the states of Sarawak and Sabah. Findings were supported by content analysis of local BM recordings, lyrics and interviews published in independently produced metal fanzines. BM ‘authenticity’ in Malaysian Borneo emerged as a theatrical pursuit of the most shocking global examples of primeval BM, which allows for a troubled, precarious coexistence between perceived ‘authentic’ BM aspirations and everyday social life in the respondents’ lives.


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