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Rebel Against The State: Inside Vietnam’s Underground Metal Scene

Bloody chunks.

For the young people of Vietnam, pressure to conform comes from all facets of life. They get hit by the communist government, the state run media and family life and traditions. Private moments are made public and for many, there is a desperate yearn to escape.

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Thanks to a rise in access to TV and the internet, the youth of Vietnam are beginning to rebel from the strict regimes dictated by government and for a small yet powerful minority, the underground metal scene provides a welcomed escape route. 

UK photographer Neil Massey managed to capture the scene in a collection he calls ‘Bloody Chunks’, named after Vietnam’s first and only metal label Blood Chunks Records. Founder of this label and member of grindcore band Wuu, Trung, said:

Vietnamese people are still afraid of this kind of music. Black, death, brutal, grind core is still something that can’t be understood by them. Just a small community with 100 to 200 people in Saigon know it well and enjoy the gigs. In ‘99 I came across the band Cannibal Corpse and was really attracted by them. Everything was so gory and violent at the time. When I saw them on a live DVD around 2001 I said, ‘Wow, this is fucking cool, I wanna be like them in the future.’

To run with the DIY spirit of the scene, Massey stuck to black and white film. Here are the results:

Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody Chunks by Neil Massey Bloody chunks 26

What a stunning collection. It’s always interesting to hear about DIY music scenes that arise as a result of rebellion. Punk originated in ’77 in the UK as a result of poverty and conflict with the working class and the social elite and it’s inspiring to see similar pockets of young people standing up to their totalitarian governments through music and unity.

If you enjoyed learning about the Vietnamese metal scene then check out this photo collection on the rise of the Burmese punks.


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