Metal – A Headbanger’s Journey (2006)
Pros: Very informative and anyone can get into it.
Cons: Left me wanting a lot more
The metal head in me is very disappointed that this documentary never even came across him until very recently. Metal – A Headbanger’s Journey, is a 96 minute documentary directed by hardcore metal fan Sam Dunn. The movie is very well made and executed as Sam goes on a personal journey that takes him to London, Germany, Norway, and back to the US where he’s originally from, as he delves very deep into the roots of metal and even addresses much of the backlash the music form has received over the years. Very well rounded metal fans more than likely won’t learn anything new at all. However, the intermediate and beginners will learn plenty. There were some things I didn’t know which added to my overall enjoyment though. The film was originally released in 2005, it was later re-released in 2006 as a two disk edition.
Sam Dunn had his act together for this one as he made this movie so fun to watch along with being educational in regards to heavy metal. There’s some good footage of early and at the time current bands, along with some music of well known songs such as Motorhead’s Ace of Spades and We’re Not Gonna Take It! by Twisted Sister , but it’s the interviews that shine as they feature faces like Tony Iommi, Dio, Dee Snider, Lemmy, Rob Zombie, Girl School, John Kay and just so many others.
The interviews are the cream filling of this treat; I enjoyed all of the commentary and background, but Sam Dunn didn’t only bother with the actual music artist. He reached out to the fans for their take on what metal means to them, and this part of the film resonated with me the most because many of them echoed my love for the music. There was a 34 year old fan whom proudly expressed his love for metal, and pretty much gave the finger to friends and detractors alike who criticizes him for it. I love how deeply the music genre has reached out to so many people. Dunn interviewed true fans of the art, and completely did away with the trend followers which lends a strong credibility to the film.
The history lesson is fun, and it was great to learn more about certain bands such as Slayer for example, and their anti-religion beliefs. There was coverage and interviews on different girl bands and girl fronted groups such as Girl School, Arch Enemy, and Doro. Plus the metal festival that takes place in Germany was covered with a hilarious interview taking place with Mayhem. However, it’s the Norwegian black metal scene that stole the show as these guys are real Satanist with something to say.
This film is just fun, fun, fun, and my only gripe is that there was plenty of room for more. Thankfully the second disk is very strong with extras featuring extended interviews with many people, more coverage on the Norwegians, and The Definitive Heavy Metal Tree which features every influential band placed in their respected categories such as power metal, doom metal, black metal, and thrash. This portion is excellent for those just getting into the metal scene, since it makes a great checklist on where exactly to begin and move to.
Metal – A Headbanger’s Journey is the best music documentary I came across. Perhaps it’s more because over the last couple of years metal has reached out to me in a way no other music form has ever done. I was originally brought up on Rap, but I can honestly say now it never gave me the drive I was looking for, there was something clearly missing that I could never put my finger on; I finally found that missing something in metal, and I highly recommend this feature to everyone with even the slightest amount of interest in metal.