Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey
Pros: Many songs from the documentary make it, nice enough intro for newbies
Cons: Some songs missing, well rounded metal heads would prefer different stuff
A hardcore headbanger by the name of Sam Dunn went on a journey diving deep into the roots of heavy metal searching for its earliest influences, the one band to be held as the first metal band ever, and what attracted and pushed people away from metal. He completed his journey and released a documentary in 2005 titled Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. For more information on that see my review here.
The documentary featured several songs by well known and lesser bands such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Rush, Diamond Head, and even Blue Cheer. This album collects many of the songs that were actually played but a few were indeed left off for whatever reasons. Perhaps he couldn’t obtain the rights for those songs. I’ll provide the track listing later, but what’s here is definitely good for someone wanting that musical feel from the movie, plus it’s a good start for those wetting their feet in the genre, as the soundtrack covers many of the sub-genres: Black, Death, Melodic Death, Speed, Thrash, and a few others.
The live version of Hallowed Be Thy Name starts things off with the guitars at the forefront with Bruce Dickinson’s vocals soaring over everything. This song opens up the soundtrack right. If the testosterone level isn’t high enough, then Balls to the Wall has the right amount of “grrr” for that with its crunchy guitar opening and headbanging chorus. Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell slows things down a notch, but the late Ronnie Dio’s vocals maintains some intensity and that awesome closing still gives me goose bumps.
There are several more noteworthy songs with some of the most memorable riffs grabbing the listener by the neck with Diamond Head – Am I Evil? The riffs in this song are indeed that memorable and the lyrical content matches it really well with a memorable chorus. Rush’s bluesy, progressive, metal number, Working Man is still amazing with its pounding rhythm, solos, and vocals.
I can’t let this review go without mentioning the one song that is the living embodiment of rebellion, Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It. At least for me the memorable riffs are overshadowed by Dee Snider’s message of not sitting down taking garbage, but instead getting up and doing what you want, this song will always bring out the dirt bag in me; and I have to give a shout out to the evil minded, wicked vocals in Blood Lust. This song is kind of lacking in the technical department, but it’s still very catchy. Needled 24/7 by Children of the Bodom has such an amazing opening with some good riff oriented sections but I feel those mallcore and techno touches hurts that track badly along with some of the childish content and screamo. I was also glad to see Cannibal Corpse –Decency Denied, since I do prefer Corpsegrinder’s vocals over Chris Barnes.
This is a very solid soundtrack overall, but when looking at some of the stuff that holds it back like Lamb of God and Slipknot; I have a feel to rate it lower. However, I’m not going to condemn it for the things I would want here. Instead give it props because it does have a nice portion of songs from the movie, plus it makes a nice introduction to several of Metal’s sub-genres for those very unfamiliar. In closing, I definitely recommend watching the movie, and be sure to pick up this soundtrack together with it, especially if you don’t already own these songs.
1) Iron Maiden – Hallowed Be Thy Name (live) 2) Accept – Balls to the Wall 3) Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell 4) Lamb of God – Laid to Rest 5) Blue Cheer – Summertime Blues 6) Rush – Working Man 7) Motorhead – Killed by Death 8) Diamond Head – Am I Evil? 9) Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It 10) Venom – Bloodlust 11) Slayer – Disciple 12) Arch Enemy – Silent Wars 13) Slipknot – (Sic) 14) Children of Bodom – Needled 24/7 15) Cannibal Corpse – Decency Defied 16) Emperor – Inno A Satana (live)