At a recent battle of the bands, heavy metal guitarist Navid Chohan started shaking his head so violently onstage it looked like he was going to hurt himself. Soon his entire face was lost in waves of his shoulder-length hair.
Chohan's head-banging spread like a virus. First his bandmates got into it, then a group of teenage boys in front of the stage and, all of a sudden, scores of people violently whipped their heads to the ear-splitting sounds of heavy metal.
It might have seemed like any other night of music one could see anywhere, but this heavy metal head-banging was happening in Pakistan.
"That's the real Pakistan," Chohan told CNN. "It's not terrorists or mullahs."
Heavy metal is a side that most people haven't seen of Pakistan, a country overshadowed by headlines about the Taliban and terrorism.
"We have a different mentality than the Taliban," said metal-head Sharik Ahmed. "They play with guns. We play with instruments."
And when they play, they play loud.
In Karachi, six young underground bands with names such as VERMIN and TRAUMA pushed the limits of an outdoor arena's sound system and battled it out for the $60 first prize on a recent Saturday night.
Chohan strummed his guitar for heavy metal band RECLAMATION -- young men who want to take back Pakistan's reputation from the Taliban and shatter what they call misperceptions created by negative headlines.
"When people hear about Pakistan, they just feel that it's all terrorists living in this country, even though it's not true," Chohan said. "I mean look at me. I don't look like a mullah or a terrorist."
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