January 12, 2020
Nepal’s police used to pick up metal fans and cut their hair or jail them. The country now has its own festival – but it’s fighting to survive. Our writer hits the rarefied air of Kathmandu
Himalayan headbangers: in the moshpit with the metalheads of Kathmandu
When Ugra Karma made the first-ever Nepali metal recording, they didn’t intend to start a subculture. They just wanted to make life easier for themselves. “When we started to do shows,” says guitarist Prateek Raj Neupane, “our playing skills were at an amateur level. And the instruments we had were amateurish. And the sound didn’t come out good. We couldn’t explain what we wanted to sound engineers at shows, so we thought maybe we should do a record and give it to them so they could fix our sound. And that’s how we ended up recording the first-ever metal record in Nepal.”
That was in 2000 and the recording – the magnificently titled demo Himalayan Metal of Death, featuring a song called Perversion or Cutting Up of a Human Body & Eating Some of It – wasn’t made for general release. “We were thinking about bringing out three copies only, for the three people who recorded it. We would lend one to sound engineers at gigs. But our friends were adamant on us at least making 100 copies. We brought one of our friends’ father’s office printers to my home, made our own design and printed it.” The Nepali metal underground was born.
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