Sam Dunn is a 30-year old anthropologist who wrote his graduate thesis on the plight of Guatemalan refugees. Recenly he has decided to study the plight of a different culture, one he has been a part of since he was a 12-year old: the culture of heavy metal. Sam sets out on a global journey to find out why this music has been consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned and yet is loved so passionately by its millions of fans. Along the way, Sam explores metals' obsession with some of life's most provacative subjects - sexuality, religion, violence and death - and discovers some things about the culture that even he can't defend. Shot on location in the UK, Germany, Norway, Canada and the US, this documentary is the first of its kind. It is both a defense of a long-misunderstood art form and a window for the outsider into the spectacle that is heavy metal.Written by
The 21 year sentence in Norway is called "life sentence", so the life sentence in Norway is 21 years. See more »
Dunn also mentions the "Filthy 15", a list of artists with lyrics considered obscene in one of a number of ways. Sam mentions that, of the 15, 8 are metal bands- he has miscounted. Upon reviewing the list, Danish black metal band Mercyful Fate make the list but bump the count to 9 bands. They are also not highlighted like the other metal bands sharing spots on the list. See more »
It gives them an alternative universe. It gives them a life of imagination through which they can view music and it usually inspires a lot of them to pick up a guitar and start playing.
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I saw this movie at an outdoor summer screening in a local park, and it was brilliant to hear the sounds of the metal we know and love pounding out through the park on a Sunday night.
The film was a considered, thoughtful journey through some of the questions that plague the minds of those who aren't part of the metal community. Such as what the fans are like, how they get into metal, why they stay with metal and rarely stray from the various genres that it has. Others include sexuality, girls in metal, and so on.
Each aspect of the documentary was soundly explored, rationally argued, and balanced. For instance, on the one hand you get the perspective of groupies, and then of groupies from bands. You get differing opinions.
In fact, the documentary is a boon for both the metal community and the non-metal community alike. On the one hand, the mettles can revel in the exploration of their community and genres; on the other, the wider community can gain some real insight into the workings of the community.
I must admit that some of the humour that our (predominantly metal) audience felt at the posturing of the Norwegian Black Metal scene, and other parts, the rest of the audience didn't necessarily get. The humour is often something which you must be part of the community to understand, which is why it all appears so serious to the rest of society: they don't get the humour.
All in all, a well-wrought, skillfully crafted, and well argued documentary. Of course there were subgenres and things missing, but you get that with all docos - there just isn't the time to do it. Given the limitations, Metal: a headbanger's journey, makes the most of it and does it well.
Highly recommended viewing.
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