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Can there be a Heavy Metal scene in Nigeria?

Clay and 1LastAutograph

1LastAutograph performing with Clay at Metal & Romance

Just the other day as the morning twilight dwindled and the sun was almost upon us; I sat pondering on earlier activities of the day and a thought kept lingering in my mind.

So before I lay me down in my coffin (if you have forgotten, vampires sleep during the day), I’m going to put pen to paper and share this thought with y’all…

“What’s all this about?” you might ask. Well, I was thinking HOW DOES THE NIGERIAN COMMUNITY REALLY FEEL ABOUT HEAVY METAL/METAL? ( Excuse my CAPs 😋)

This question has been like a drone hovering around the Nigerian rock community via social media platforms (Whatsapp 🌝 ) and one-on-one discussions during our many hangouts and rock shows. It has also steered up one or two debates among we rockers that didn’t end with slicing each others throats (Yes! Rockers are peaceful people). I think what necessitated me to write/talk about this topic was the release of the recent EP by 1LastAutograph ( might I at this point add that the EP was f&@king METAL 😤😤😤😤😤😤😤😤😤😤😤 “smashes bottle on head” ). (Editor’s Note: We do not approve of smashing bottles on anyone’s head and especially not your own…)

Arum performing at the Rocktoberfest

Arum performing at Rocktoberfest

The Nigerian rock community is a growing one, finding its way into the music scene having only foreign bands as its benchmark. On the plus side having foreign bands as a benchmark means one has standardized bands to emulate but on the negative side it leaves most bands clueless and most times forgetting that music has to be able to blend into the environment it is being played in and the audience it is being played to. Else, it appears ambiguous to the listeners. The summary of all that grammar is that there has to be an African/Nigerian element in our Rock music so that the Nigerians that listen to said song can identity with it. The trick really is fusing the Nigerian element into a rock song while maintaining the rocksomeness of the said song.

Well, my thoughts at the moment is more centralized on a genre of Rock music which is Metal.

Any time, Non Rockers or Non-Metal listeners hear you listening to Metal and I don’t mean Iron or Aluminium (Pun intended 🌝), speaking from personal experience, you get comments like:

“Isn’t it that the thing you listen to where all they say is DIE! DIE! DIE!?” 😤😤😤

“Doesn’t it give you headache?” 😒

“All these devil worshippers, you will go to hell” 😕

“What are they even saying? You can’t possibly understand all this noise” 🌝

“Oh, I love heavy metal, too. My favourite band is Coldplay” 😕

If you can relate to this questions and more scream DIE! DIE! DIE! 😤😤😤😤

The questions really are thus:
1. Is there a clearly defined meaning of Nigerian Metal? That would mean creating a sub-genre or a fusion genre of Metal.
2. Can Metal in whatever form thrive in the Nigerian rock community?
3. For the acts/bands, what are the commercial prospects in terms of generating income by embarking into such daring genre as Metal?
4. How can the artists localize the metal genre/Make it their own?

I will be honest with you I had initially written 10 pages worth of thoughts and issues to trash out on this subject but I decided I didn’t want people sleeping off at page 5 of my thoughts😂😂😂. Hence, my decision to keep it brief.

Some enthusiastic members of the Nigerian rock community at Metal & Romance

Some enthusiastic members of the Nigerian rock community at Metal & Romance

So what really is your view, Mortal rockers, on Metal thriving in Nigeria and can we see a future where we have a Nigerian Metal sub-genre? Will Nigeria ever have a metal scene? Should rock artists trying to do Metal tracks just f@&king quit now because the percentage of metal listeners in the rock community is really small so no large commercial gain can be expected? So many questions. Very few answers 😔.

The truth is the Metal genre is not designed to be liked by a mass audience and like any good subculture, Metal defines itself by exclusion. Metal is all about power chords, exotic modes and dissonance. It is a genre admired for its virtuosity, extremism and complete madness.

I’m guessing you are wondering if Nigerian rock artists are even close to making a Metal song. Yes, they are and I’ll recommend listening to these two songs to know how good we are at it.

1. See Ehn by 1LastAutograph

2. Diagnose 2 by Arum


That’s just a sample of what we have now. I believe there’s more potential! The sun is fully out now and a vampire must call it a day. So what do you think, Metal in Nigeria, YAY or NAY?

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are entirely the opinion of the writer and do not show the views of AudioInferno.

This post is written by VampireLord (GothicHenri), a guest writer. He is a 155 year old gothic vampire. A big fan of Asking Alexandria and a lover of BDSM (Blood, Darkness, Sex and Metal)… He wrote in response to our post WE WANT YOU, TO WRITE.  He can be reached on Twitter at twitter @Gothichenri

Do feel free to send in your own post and we will put it up. You can contact us via email at mail [email protected]

Remember to support your local rock bands and rock on \m/

Iced O

Editor-In-Chief/Chief Web Officer. Tries to be funny but fails horribly. Geek. #CFC. Gamer. Loves all types of rock & Metal (except for Grindcore. No one likes Grindcore). Has a particular affinity with Melodic Death Metal, Punk & Alternative rock...

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  1. While i totally agree with your summation, we do have potential for Heavy Metal in Nigeria, I still do not agree that “there has to be an African/Nigerian element in our Rock music so that the Nigerians that listen to said song can identity with it” saying in essence that the genre NECESSARILY has to be “Localized” or infused with “Local content” for it to be acceptable to the Nigerian rock music lover . Fact is while the larger music fan base in Nigeria might not like the songs (Which in fact is same way they feel about any form of Heavy Metal), the Nigerian Metal heads wud luv a gud heavy metal song regardless of whether or not it contains local content; this of cos doesnt mean adding some form of local content will not be appreciated, it doesnt also mean dat “Heavy Metal” songs wit local content wud automatically be liked by the Nigerian Metal Head.
    I guess the point here is that if a Nigerian band decides to do a purely “Heavy Metal” song in all its glorious true form 🙂 , they musta decided to focus on a select market i.e. Nigerian and global Metal Heads , not the general lot. GOOD HEAVY METAL IS GOOD TO ALL HEAVY METAL LOVERS REGARDLESS OF ORIGIN.
    Mehn i hv gone nd written an epistle lol!
    Btwz Le Vamp beautiful write-up :*

    • While I kind of agree with you on the “local” element not being such a big deal, I believe it’s very important if we want to market our music to the World. So many people already do Metal, what makes ours any different? However, that’s a bridge to cross when we actually HAVE Metal bands. Baby steps 😀

  2. Having a Metal band (I used Metal here to encompass all forms of Metal) in Nigeria is as easy as taking a piss.

    Having a dedicated Metal fan base in Nigeria is even easier.

    What’s not easy (for Nigerians) is recording a good Metal track that won’t be scrutinized. Recording Metal isn’t the same as recording other genres of rock. It’s as fun as it is complex. But to be honest that’s just the tip of the problem. In fact, discard all I’ve said before now. Heavy Metal can survive and thrives in Nigeria. The ingredient for that to happen:

    1. A band that isn’t concered about the money but the love of the music.

    2. A band that doesn’t know how to listen to criticism. Apparently that’s a band to Nigerian music acts.

    3. A music video. Nigerian has become a visual nation.

    4. Fan support. How many “metal fans” are willing to show supports other than retweeting and liking?

    5. Tour. Tour. Tour.

    I can think of hundreds of reason Metal isn’t prominent her in Nigeria just yet. And it goes beyond people criticizing what music you want to play. If you’re really dedicated to anything Metal, you won’t even know how to pay attention on what people think about you’re music.

    • There’s the very massive issue of religion. So many people are quick to accuse anything Metal as being of the devil. It’ll be interesting to see how those prejudices are slowly chiseled away…

  3. This is the hundredth time am reading on how Rock/Metal should sound in relation to the monetary aspect which really irritates me ( pardon me, I know money is important). When u have something of quality I believe it can/will sell itself which is why I agree with Axl.
    On aspect of fussing the Nigeria element to make the band stand out? A good song is a good song, you wouldn’t need geography to tell you that, if the local element happens to be there and it sits well with the progression of the song? That is totally fine by me but the local ish shouldn’t be a focal point where the band now tries too hard to input it. METAL NOT FOR EVERYONE!!

    • I strongly disagree with you. Without money these bands will not survive. A lot of quality bands have already disappeared here in Nigeria. We need to create a market for selling the music as well as organising tours around the country before the acts/bands can simply “focus on the music” and it will “sell itself”. Till then, people are just deceiving themselves.

  4. i dont understand why pple say things like dis ..what do u mean by nigeria/African element?? Rock is rock….what nonsense element does it have to have before it becomes accepted….Rock as a music genre isnt something u grow to like….if u like it, u like it….i remember my first exposure to rock music….the song IN THE END by Linkin park….After dat exposure i was sold…i didnt need anymore convincing…ive listened to well over 100 bands and dis was by my own deliberate effort via d internet and MTv ……..all non rockers hv been exposed to rock music one way or the other particularly songs from linkin park and coldplay which hv been played on our local tv stations, soundcity, mtv base. Even the collaboration between Jay z and linkin park…d song NUMB which made waves!! So my point here is if after all dese, ure still not sold…den Africa/Nigeria element infusion into d genre wont b of any help….dey re already biased!!

    when Hip hop came to nigeria…and our local rappers jumped the music scene…Nigerians criticized dem too…calling dem ‘american wanna be’s’….buh all it took was videos and also nigerians to pay attention to wat dey were saying before dey were accepted; also considering fans of foreign hip hop already existed so it wasnt dat difficult.

    Anyways to d naija rock bands , keep on doing wat u love…Its ur passion. Buh we need videos, i mean good quality videos dt can be played on soundcity, mtv base and our local stations….dis can help greatly in getting more fans even if we hve to shove it down deir throats….focus ur energy on dat…….rather dan albums, tours. Rock in naija is still distant considering non rockers are extremely biased. But with videos and more videos…i believe it can change.

    • That’s all very well and good if the intention is to sell strictly within Nigeria or to go to America/Europe and stay there. If you intend to remain in Nigeria and sell your music abroad, then you NEED to be different from the millions of other musicians/bands. You use Hip-hop in Nigeria as your example, who are the three biggest rappers currently? Ice Prince, Phyno and Olamide. Ice Prince burst onto the scene with Oleku, an unmistakeably Nigerian song. Phyno with Ghost Mode (in which he rapped in Igbo) and Olamide with Eni Duro. These guys can compete with International acts because the’re clearly different sounding. Just looking outside hip-hop, Wizkid, D’banj, Asa, Nneka, P-Square, 2Face etc all integrate Nigerian elements.

      On your point about videos, I strongly agree. Videos will definitely help putting rock music on the map in Nigeria. Having quality videos on rotation will show people that these guys are serious.

  5. I like how people like to ask bands and artistes not to think about the money but to focus on the music but still won’t buy albums or singles from these same artistes. Will they pay bills with their nose hair? Since the core “metal heads” won’t buy the music they need a wider, more generous fan base.

    • While I agree with this sentiment, I don’t think the bands/acts should be limiting themselves to just the Nigerian market when making these songs. They shouldn’t try to cater to the lowest common denominator or it just becomes a generic “Nigerian rock” song. What is that, you may ask? Well, it’s the usual safe song praising God (or suitably ambiguous that it could still be used in church) with the same chords and riffs rearranged in slightly different styles simply because the bands/acts and their producers feel this is what will sell. Money is very important but creativity should be even more important. Just my thoughts.

      You’re doing a great job, by the way.

      • I want to take Kachie Mozie’s side on this. Money is a central focus. The fan base will demand shows and more music from you now and then. But all that needs money. You need money to buy equipment which for starters isnt cheap or readily available. You need money to record that music and feed yourself so you dont pass out while recording. and once you record your songs they need to get promoted. you need to pay publishers and just to save on costs you will need to do the marketing yourself. Shows pay very little or nothing at all. at the end of the day no one wants to pay for the music that they demand for. so its hard. yeah money is important!

  6. Nice comments so far👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
    So going through all dat has being said I see the bone of contention is Shld a rock song have a Nigerian/African element for it to thrive…To be honest..I don’t think it shld…Then you might ask why I emphasised it has a must in the article…
    Well …
    1. I wanted to steer up chaos *muahhahahahahahaha*..
    2. I was looking at rock from the artist perceptive especially in terms of generating income even outside the rock community

    Fusing a Nigerian element in as much as it isn’t compulsory wld b a way of bringing something completely different to rock (note that’s how most of the sub genres and fusion genres were created) and wld also help in bringing audiences from outside d rock community..
    It wld be fun to see wat dey can do with say Yoruba, Ibo or my favourite ; ibibio language infused in rock
    I think even Dark Surburb have songs dey did in pidgin.. Japanese metal bands do metal in Japanese language

    It’s not necessarily about changing the rock rhyme but finding a way to make it our own..Dats wat I wld like to see…

    We still don’t know the average struggles of the Nigerian rock artists … Wld b nice to hear wat they think about this Nigerian element fusion issue …

  7. Great article. I’ve lived with nigerians for more than 2 decades and I’m really hot at the idea of a metal scene in our great country. Concerning people’s prejudice to this kind of rock music well, you know, here in Italy it was the same back in the late ’80 and the metal scene never really took off locally despite some great acts like Death SS and Bulldozer who were successful across Europe instead. Now italian metal can boast of bands like DGM (great!) but no mainstream distribution. Radios do not even consider metal as popular music and the genre is still relegated to a very wide public, but still a niche. Italy will never change my friend, just like Nijia. God bless metal.

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