“METAL: A Headbanger’s Journey”by Sam Dunn

Artist: Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden & Jessica Wise
Title: “METAL: A Headbanger’s Journey”
Label: Warner Music Group
Release Date: 5/23/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 9/10

Sam Dunn found his love of Heavy Metal music at the very early age of twelve years old. The message and the power of this music stayed with him through his formative years and into adulthood as he became an Anthropology student. The study of mans evolution led to his deciding to apply the knowledge to explore and investigate the music he loved so much. He felt there was a level of anthropological detail in the way the music began in history and the factors that have kept it alive in the hearts of the fans that support it in legion and the bands that have come from its influence. It was an interesting idea and I admit that I liked the aspect as I glanced over the press copy of the film. Released as a double DVD set, you get the full 96 minute movie and a bonus DVD of a ton of features that make this something worth referencing against your own Metal love. As I watched I was impressed mainly by the level of detail placed within the film and the research done to put it together. Using a Metal history chart, the film is set up where Metal began historically and how it sprouted off into a number of other genres each holding its own unique audience and style. Dunn ties this all together and gives everything a level of coverage even if it is not the style he prefers. The other standout point of the film is that Metal is taken seriously and not presented as idiotic or childish. There are enough programs that belittle the form at every possible chance and it was admirable to see this would not be one of them. Popular music factions of today want you to believe that Metal is dead and you will see by the film and its commentators that this is very far from the truth. At one point of the film Dunn states regarding Metal “you either get it or you don’t”, “if you do then great, but if you don’t we don’t really care nor need you”. A bold but true statement that’s many of the readers will find themselves in agreement of as they revisit their own defenses of their musical preferences.

Artists Featured: Tony Iommi, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Dee Snider, Vince Neil, Lemmy Kilmister, Lamb Of God, Slayer, Slipknot, Ronnie James Dio, Tom Morello, Arch Enemy, Geddy Lee, Cannibal Corpse, Mayhem, Kittie, Girlschool, Voivod, Doro Pesch make up the celebrity opinion commentary that are used throughout the movie. It makes the documentary all the more interesting as it makes sure to cross all genre and years. By doing this there is an added legitimacy to the work they did on behalf of Metal. He also gets some words in from record company biggies such as Monte Connor, Brian Slagel and Robert Kampf (Roadrunner Records, Metal Blade Records and Century Media Records respectively). There’s a lot more to the list but I will leave that for you to find on your own when you watch.

Bonus Features: A great amount of these to enjoy such as 17 extra interview segments with the artists. There is a comprehensive look at the genre and how it shot off into various branches and sub-genre (the viewer can navigate around this “family tree” if he or she likes). A mini-documentary of Norwegian Black Metal (which alone will cause you to stir in your seat a little more by seeing just how serious they take what they do). There are Road Outtakes and the Theatrical trailer as well as a longer portion of Lemmy at the Rainbow (and anything Lemmy is ALWAYS fun if you ask me). A nice dose of extras making this a worthy part of the main program. Some “extras” have nothing special about them at all and this was a pleasant change.

From the minute the film started until it completed it kept my attention so I am advising all supporters of Metal to check this out. It’s well done, and a great look into the larger than life music we all have loved for most of our lives. The creators have no fear in bringing to light a couple of the areas that many find uncomfortable to address and they should be complimented for doing this as well. My rating is a “two horns up” for this film……………

Chapters:
1. Origins
2. The Sound
3. Musical Roots
4. Environments
5. Fans
6. Culture
7. Censorship
8. Gender & Sexuality
9. Religion & Satanism
10. Death & Violence

Official Web site: www.metalhistory.com

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