Forever underground, forever black

The Indonesian death metal scene as mythscape and the Ujung Berung death metal scene as myth


  • Kieran Edmond James University of the West of Scotland Author
  • Rex John Walsh University of Western Sydney Author



Bandung Death Metal, Indonesian popular music, Ujung Berung, governing myth, industrialization, mythscape


Because it has been integral to the history and marketing of Bandung death metal, the satellite town of Ujung Berung aka Ujungbronx, in Bandung’s outer southeastern suburbs, has become a revered and romanticized myth throughout all of Indonesia’s underground scenes. The Indonesian underground constitutes the mythscape or page where alternative myths are promulgated, expanded, debated, opposed, or reimagined. While the governing myth of Ujung Berung scene as paramount is widely accepted in West Java province, it is accepted somewhat reluctantly, and with mild criticism, in the East Javanese and Jogjakarta scenes. However, in Surabaya, there is a recognition that the moment when the governing myth could have been overthrown, at least within East Java, is long past. History belongs to the victors.

Author Biographies

  • Kieran Edmond James, University of the West of Scotland

    Dr Kieran James is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Business and Creative Industries, University of the West of Scotland. He researches in Indonesian popular music, Fiji soccer history, men and masculinities, Singapore politics, sport history, and sociology of sport. He has published on Indonesian death metal in Musicology Australia, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Popular Music, and Metal Music Studies.

  • Rex John Walsh, University of Western Sydney

    Rex John Walsh lectures in accounting and law. He researches social and political matters, Indonesian popular music, men and masculinities, and sociology of sport. Rex has published in many publications including Musicology Australia, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Popular Music, and Metal Music Studies.


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How to Cite

James, K. E., & Walsh, R. J. (2023). Forever underground, forever black: The Indonesian death metal scene as mythscape and the Ujung Berung death metal scene as myth. Popular Music History, 15(1), 33–53.