All music has been linked to rebellion in some form or another but metal has always been the loudest. Now a call for metalheads unite expands beyond the Western world.
Filmmaker Sam Dunn discovers his favourite genre serves the same purpose worldwide and is looked upon with the same scorn and disapproval by outsiders.
Dunn’s follow-up to Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey explores the globalization of metal culture, travelling to unexpected locations of thriving and emerging extreme music. He begins in Rio de Janeiro, which came onto the metal scene in the mid-80s at the end of a dictatorship and celebrated its new freedom with a massive metal concert. Rio is also the home of renowned headbangers Sepultura. From there Dunn goes to Japan and discovers metal is simply a hobby there rather than a demonstration against oppression. Then back to expressions of rebellion in India, China, Israel, Iran, and Indonesia.
Dunn's journey uncovers a worldwide community of metalheads who are not just absorbing and replaying metal from the West but who are actually transforming it, creating personal, culturally-influenced expressions against conflict, corruption and tradition.
In addition to interviewing metal fans and local musicians, Dunn also talks to music legends from Slayer, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Sepultura. Furthermore, limiting the references to the ‘classics’ makes the film more accessible and amounts to a great soundtrack.
One of the documentary's downfalls is its essay-like structure. Returning to his anthropology background, Dunn actually reads an opening paragraph, states a thesis and method, links each section with a sentence or two and gives a closing statement. With such an informal subject, a less formal style would have been more fitting.
Disc-one of the two-disc Special Edition holds the film and audio commentary by filmmakers Dunn and Scot McFadyen, which further reveals their personal experiences shooting and promoting the documentary. The second-disc has extended interviews with Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Max Cavalera of Sepultura, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden and musicians from some of the local metal bands. It also has a segment shot in Bali that did not make the final cut.