Metal: A Headbanger's Journey

Believe it or not, I'm not the only academic metal-head in the world.

Last night, while working on a paper, I watched "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" on VH1 Classic, a documentary about the heavy metal scene produced by Sam Dunn, an anthropologist, and like me, an unrepentant 80s headbanger.

It was a really good look into what is metal culture. It goes beyond the wasted dudes and party chick stereotypes that are commonly attached to those of us who are into this genre of music, and looks a number of aspects, including the roots of the music, some of the misconceptions and deceptive information about the genre in general, as well as specific bands and songs, and yes, it takes an honest look at the good, bad, and ugly of the metal scene.

Sam takes us on a journey from the LA Strip, to the blue collar cities of England, to the world's largest metal fest in Germany, as well as lots of other points in between. We get to meet some of the stalwarts of metal, including Alice Cooper, Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie Dio, Lemmy Kilminster, Dee Snider and Rob Zombie.

There is not a lot of glitz here, nor a lot of over-analysis. It doesn't dwell on the dark imagery commonly associated with metal, none of the Behind the Music-esque sad stories or over-charged attitudes. His work gives us a solid look at what metal is, and where it came from.

Sam gives us understanding, in a thoughtful manner which respects both true metalheads, as well as those wanting to know what we're all about. If you haven't seen it, do it.

Believe me, this is one DVD I'm going to buy for my personal Christmas present.

2 Response to "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey"

  1. Anonymous 28/11/06 14:46
    You should check out Twisted Sister's A Twisted Christmas. I don't know what to say about it...metal and Christmas music combined. Might not be your type of music, but it certainly has novelty appeal. You can hear snippets of the songs
  2. Earl Capps 28/11/06 18:09
    anon - good stuff there. thanks for putting the referral out there.

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