Orange Is the New Metal

The latest closet metalhead, Jessica Pimentel, is not exactly a closet metalhead. Currently appearing in the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, she refers to herself as a “closet actress.” That’s because Pimentel is well known in her native New York City for holding it down in local hardcore and metal bands, including Alekhine’s Gun and Desolate. Click through for a metal playlist Pimentel made for her OITNB character, Maria Ruiz, which includes the likes of Sepultura, At the Gates, and Immolation.
This is no ordinary playlist. Maria is a young Latina woman in prison who doesn’t listen to heavy music and loves Kanye West. So, you can see right off the bat the challenges this presents. So I thought, “How would I introduce her to this genre without getting too weird or obscure and just pick songs that could/would be meaningful to her and strike a nerve that relates to her situation and would have her throwing her horns up from that day forward?”


Now, Maria has been through a lot of shit. Period. And will continue to go through tons more. She’s in prison while pregnant, working every day in the kitchen to repay her debt to society. Every day is a fight to survive. This is a soundtrack to Maria’s life. She has lost a lot more than her freedom in there.

Fit For An Autopsy “Tremors”
The sound of an animal ready to break out of a cage ready to take revenge. “I watched them take my life out from under me. For nothing. We are nothing.” I’m sure Maria woke up every day feeling like this.

At The Gates “Need”
“Rid my pain. Set me free.” I’m sure these are the two thoughts that run on loop in her mind. All day. Every day.

Amon Amarth “Blood Eagle”
“You took my soul from me. You took my family.” If you watched Orange Is the New Black then you know exactly what this means

Metallica “Disposable Heroes”
Working in the prison kitchen is nothing but constantly following orders. Being in jail is constantly following rules. “You will do what I say when I say.”

Sepultura “Attitude”
Whether we want to admit it or not. there are two KEY things you must have to survive in prison and in LIFE. Attitude and respect. Hopefully you have a PMA.

Candiria “Blood”
“Lace your boots up. Blood is thicker than water” and for it we will sacrifice. NYC. Urban grit.

Killing Time “Fools Die”
Straightforward New York Hardcore. The title is self-explanatory.

Alekhine’s Gun “Gutwrench”
Sometimes…we pay the price for the mistakes of others and that is our greatest mistake.

White Widows Pact “Slow Burn”
“I eat my way through the weeks, months and years.” The beginning of the end. Immense power behind every note but saturated in darkness.

Immolation “Majesty and Decay”
“Worn away by years of conflict. Endless plains of crumbled stone”. This song, the mood, the feel is so right. Completely controlled chaos, misery and depth. How can you control chaos? Exactly.

So Hideous, My Love “To Clasp a Fallen Wish with Broken Fingers”
“I clasp a fallen wish with broken fingers.”……..Epic beauty.

Vattnet Viskar “Weakness”
I don’t know if I even need to write anything here—or If I can.

Dark Castle “Awake in Sleep”
“Awake inside of sleep to feel.” There is a moment on OITNB when Maria walks to her bed, lays down and puts the covers over her head. This is what I was listening to before I went in to shoot that.

Iron Thrones “Cover of Smoke”
“I’ll wait for you, locked away. I hold the key to this room. I hope you find, find your way” When things look bleakest, you must believe that there is a reason for all of this. It will pass, and you are not alone. Someone has the key.

Deftones “Diamond Eyes”
Being stuck in prison away from those you love you have to keep hope that time will see you realign. Think of them to get through. Hope is all you have left… Time will see us realign…I hope.

Read more about Jessica Pimentel in the November 2013 issue.