Metal For Nepal: How the Heavy Metal Community is Lending a Helping Hand to Earthquake Survivors

Metalheads around the globe are pitching in with benefit shows and charity compilations (including a benefit gig at NYC's Acheron on July 15).

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Jun 16 2015, 2:50pm


Photo courtesy of Metal For Nepal

On April 25, 2015, the small Himalayan nation of Nepal was rocked by a massive earthquake that brought the country to its knees. Over eight thousand people died, seventeen thousand were injured, and hundreds of thousands of houses were completely destroyed. As the Nepalese people began to slowly rebuild their lives, they were shattered by another huge blow only a few weeks later. May 12 brought an aftershock that registered a 7.3 on the Richter scale and rippled through the earth, ruthlessly killing 117 people and injuring over 2,500 more. India lost seventeen souls, Tibet lost several others, and eight soldiers—six US Marines, two Nepalese— on a relief mission to central Nepal lost their lives in a military helicopter crash. The death toll keeps rising, the funeral pyres along the banks of the Bagmati River keep burning, and now that silence has finally settled over the ruins of Kathmandu, the healing process has limped to life. Relief organizations across the globe have sprung into action, including one with a very specific methodology—Metal For Nepal.

The metal community supports its own; countless bands and fans have thrown benefit shows, auctions, and other charitable endeavors to help brothers or sisters in need, and that tight-knit tribal instinct is part of what makes metal so great. Metal For Nepal’s scope is broader, but borne of that same altruistic impulse. As the project's Swiss founder and Voice of Ruin vocalist Randy told Noisey via email, "The reason why I chose metal is because I'm a metal fan and I have a lot of knowledge, experience, and friends in this community. I've already received more than one hundred applications from metal bands—I'll let you imagine how many I would have received if I had expanded the concept to all music styles. This project is also a good thing for the metal community because with a cause like this, the media were obliged to expose this style and to prove to the public that the metal is not bad. For example, we had an article on the front page of one of the biggest Swiss newspapers!"

Metal For Nepal is Randy's first humanitarian project, but he felt compelled to pitch in once he heard about the tragedy. "I knew I had to do something directly to help. I felt especially involved in this because I visited the country and I have friends who live there. Also, the disaster happened just a week after my band Voice of Ruin got back from a European tour with Underside from Nepal," he explains. "I had the idea to organize a support show, and then I realized I could do more; that's how the concept of the tour was born. I launched the Facebook page and wrote a message on my own page to explain the project. In less than 24 hours, I received 200 emails and the page was already followed by more than 2000 people! I never thought that this project was going to spread across the world, but it's reassuring because it proves that the human race still has a heart and knows how to stick together when it matters. It also shows to a wider audience that the metal community is not violent, stupid or racist."


Flyer by Bill Dozer

Now, Metal For Nepal has spread across the globe, taking root in the United States via upcoming benefit shows in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York. Kyng just headlined the LA show this past weekend, and next month, Brooklyn venue The Acheron will host a Metal For Nepal benefit show on July 15 featuring local heavyweights Tiger Flowers and Skullshitter alongside Sangharsha, a Queens-based hardcore band whose members are of Nepali descent, and brutal black/death crew BruteMukti, who are also if Nepali descent and will be rolling down from Boston to lend their support.

More Metal For Nepal dates:

6/26 - Coq d’Or, Olten (CH)
6/26- SAS, Delémont (CH)
7/1- Brise Glace, Annecy (FR)
7/17 - Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux (CH)
9/3 - Gibus Cafe, Paris (FR)
9/4 - METAL FOR NEPAL FEST, Kathmandu (NEPAL)

All proceeds from these shows and the Metal For Nepal tour go directly to No Silence For Nepal, a Nepal-based humanitarian association with a goal of collecting funds and resources for affected villages. The charity was formed by friends of Randy's who play in metal bands of their own (Enigmatik and Underside) and have already made progress. "They already helped a lot of villages by providing food, shelters and a lot of other stuff," Randy says. "They will continue in the long term by helping the country rebuild. They have already planned budgets to build houses and to go there with Swiss volunteer architects."

Thanks to theNepal Earthquake Relief Compilation—a new benefit compilation that's now available on Bandcamp—those living outside the geographical scope of Metal For Nepal can show their support, too. The digital comp features eighteen tracks from metal bands from Nepal (and bands with Nepali members based in the US and UK), and proceeds will benefit a variety of humanitarian organizations, including the Jai Nepal Youth Group.

As the compilation’s creators noted, “Whether living in Nepal or in other countries, there is no Nepalese who has not been shaken to their cores with this tragedy. People have lost their loved ones, their homes and their sense of security. Most of them are left grieving under the open sky, with no roof over their heads. Though development organizations and local communities have been tirelessly working hard to rescue and provide immediate relief to the victims, recovery is a long road. Nepal Earthquake Relief Compilation is an album which is a tribute to the resilience and strength of Nepalese, as well as a collaborative effort by the most influential bands in Nepal to give back to the country which has given them so much. The funds raised by the sale of this album will go to active organizations working on finding long term solutions for shelter and rehabilitation of the communities in the most severely affected districts in Nepal."

Metal For Nepal benefit show in Switzerland by Julien Haerri / photo courtesy of Metal For Nepal


Kim Kelly will be at The Acheron's Metal For Nepal benefit show, and so should you. For now, she's on Twitter - @grimkim