Top 9 Indigenous Metal Bands You Need To Know About

Heavy metal music played by indigenous people from different colonized regions is the definition of indigenous metal. Indigenous metal usually represents their culture, language, and decolonial movements. Indigenous metal, tribal metal, or native metal all point at the same music, which is the influence of liberation, indigenous heritage, war, and death. The genre first emerged among popular metal bands in a lyrical form during the 1980s, and Anthrax was one of the first bands to do so.

The metal genre has always been a place of exploration of cultural heritage. People of all cultures, colonies, and countries follow the metal genre. So we can expect many indigenous metal bands to slip out of your list because of popular metal bands. This article will try to bring justice to the indigenous metal bands and talk about indigenous metal bands you must know about. Without any delay, let’s get right into it!

1.) Cemican

In 2008 Mexican natives, vocalist Tecuhtli and drummer Tlipoca formed the band Cemican, which means “All the Life” or “the duality of life and death” in Náhuatl. The band used wind instruments to create a cultural landscape within the progressive metal. In 2012, Mazatecpatl, Xaman-ek and Yei Tochtli joined the band. Shortly after, in 2016, bassist Ocelot joined the group. The band represents the pre-Hispanic ingenious Mexican culture. The group’s lyrical theme centres around Aztec Mythology. Cemican uses a number of the traditional instruments to come up with their aggressive fold metal music. 

2.) Alien Weaponry

Alien Weaponry is a thrash metal, groove metal band from Waipu, New Zealand, formed in Auckland. In 2010, Guitarists Lewis Raharuhi de Jong and drummer Henry Te Reiwhati de Jong formed the band. They were only 8 and 10 at the time. Their paternal grandmother is Māori, and the tribal connections are with Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Raukawa. After moving to a small town, vocalist and electric bass player Thane Trembath joined the group in 2013. Alien Weaponry is probably one of the most commercially successful bands on this list. Since all of the members share Māori heritage, they try to promote much of their music in Te Reo Māori.

3.) The HU

The HU is a folk-rock band formed in 2016. The band focuses on Mongolian instruments like Morin Khuur, Tovshuur, and most importantly, Mongolian Throat singing. The Hu is the Mongolian root word for “Human” created their style, called the Hunnu rock, which was inspired by an ancient Mongol empire. Their video “Yuve Yuve Yu” and “Wolf Totem” combinedly had more than 100 million views. On 11 April 2019, “Wolf Totem” also reached the top of Billboard’s Hard Rock Digital Song Sales. It was also the first Mongolian music on the top of any billboard chart. The song also debuted at no 22 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart.

4.) Gyibaaw

Gyibaaw is a black metal band from Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. Gyibaaw calls them “Tsimshian/Gitksan War Metal.” They represent the Tsimshian people in the pacific northwest and sing in their native language S’malygax. The group was active from 2006 to 2012. But from 2018, they are trying to make a comeback. The band’s lyrical theme is Ancient warfare, Indigenous culture, Spirituality, and Tsimshian heritage. The band’s founding members are S. Greening (Drums, Vocal), J. Pahl (Vocal, Guitar, and Flute). Guitarists B. Dyck and Bassist N. Mclean joined the group in 2008. They are preparing their first new release in a decade that Gyibaaw will donate to the charities.

5.) Corubo

Corubo is a Brazilian band formed in 1999. They classify their music as Indigenous Black Metal. The band has been active since 1999, and their current label is D.T.M production. The lyrical focus of the band is indigenous cultures, reality, and protest. They have released a number of EP’s, full-lengths, split singles, and demos. Wuy Jugu was the last album that has been released since 2011. Cauã and Tesa’ãme play all the instruments.

6.) Resistant Culture

Resistant Culture has been around since the 1980s. According to metal-archive, it was formed in 1986. There are three members in the band: drummer Ben Axion, guitarist Katina Culture and vocalist Anthony Rezhawk. The group likes to call itself the “Tribal Grindcrust.” Their music consists of aggressive guitar playing, dirty crust, and of course, the touch of the traditional tribal flute. It’s the combination of all three elements that help the group stand out from everyone else. Resistant Culture also has an excellent connection with the band Terrorizer. Guitarists and Drummer of the band Terrorizer played the “Welcome To Reality” album and will play the upcoming album “Shamanic Healing.”

7.) Anthrax*

Anthrax is a heavy metal band from New York City, formed in 1981. The band was founded by Scott Lan (Rhythm Guitarist) and Dan Lilker (Bassist). The band is part of the “Big-four” alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer. The group is also one of the first people to introduce thrash metal.  With 11 studio albums, 26 singles, the band Anthrax is probably the biggest indigenous metal band. Vocalist Joey Belladonna stated his mother is “Part Indian American.”

Speaking of the big four, check out “Megadeth’s Kiko Loureiro: Hear his new solo album “Open Source.”

8.) Testify

Testify features Edmund Yazzie on drums and his son Darius on guitar and vocals. Edmund is a 46 man but still rocking the world. Testify sometimes performs with bands with heavy names, but Testify’s songs are very uplifting. Their goal is to spread positivity through metal music. The band’s formation was inspired by a tragedy where 15 young kids from his place committed suicide, and two of them were his friends.

9.) Ch’aska

Ch’aska was formed in 2002 in Arequipa, Peru. The name came from the ancestral language of Incas, Quechua. It means “the shiniest star in the skies.” The band is still active to this date. There are 5 members on the group and they are Ronald Quispe, Hernán Gonzales, Hueso Raffo, Giovanni Villar and Fabián Flores Castro. Ch’aska is a folk metal band, and their lyrics focus on the history and folklore of South American native cultures. The band has one full-length Pururauca (2009), two EP’s (Ch’aska, Bicolour Cannibalism / Tuta Ch’aska), and one compilation (2017).