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Extreme Nation Documentary - Metal on the Indian sub-continent

Recently we posted an update on Extreme Nation, a documentary by filmmaker Roy Dipankar, that has released on Vimeo during this turbulent times where people find themselves stuck at home with more time on their hands than usual.

The film explores the heavy metal culture on the Indian sub-continent, the bands that play there, their struggles and the politics and lifestyle of the metal community. It's a raw, unadulterated look at the guts of the metal world on a continent with a deep-rooted culture that traditionally doesn't fit so well with the rock'n'roll mentality and lifestyle.

The film opens up with this idea of conflicting or contrasting lifestyles and it's a theme that continues throughout the entire project. We're first introduced to this idea with the contrast of traditional Indian music played over footage of the set up of a metal show, this contrast is only permeated by a single, quick blast of blasphemous black metal from Impiety, on stage at a Kolkota show.

One of the early lines from Nilabja Bannerjee, vocalist and bassist from Deadbolt sums up one of the core values the film sets out to present, "This is not an escape, this is reality". In an area of the world where faith plays a large role in everyday life and upbringing, a place sometimes viewed as a melting pot of religion, politics, everyday struggles and identity, it's mentioned numerous times that heavy metal is also viewed as a religion amongst fans and bands alike. Lines of comparison are drawn between India's caste system and the metal community being its own class, continuing the idea of contrast.

The doc goes deep into the personal lives of band members, such as Amit of Bangladeshi band Orator who explains how he juggles his day job with his work in the band, his father, a retired Government official, had taught him traditional music at a young age. Since Amit made the switch to more aggressive and extreme forms of music, his father whilst supportive has little time for heavy metal and, it seems, would have preferred his son to continue on his original path. Toshi Imchen of Syphilectomy, a band based in India has a similar story, the clash between family and traditional, national values and heavy metal.

One thing that sticks out from all the bands put in front of the lens on this project, is that they all want to write about real issues, real life, not just typical subjects such as partying, drinking or metal as a lifestyle. This is music rooted firmly in reality, whether it be political or cultural. As said from the outset, Extreme Nation is more than just a documentary introducing bands from around the Indian sub-continent to wider audiences, it's a film about community, about belonging, about a passion for music and heavy metal. It's a film about contrasts and it presents itself brilliantly.

Extreme Nation is available to rent or buy on Vimeo right now.