METAL: Why isn't it taken seriously?
Sam Dunn — first-time filmmaker, lifelong headbanger, sociologist, Canadian — opens his documentary with a silly question: why isn’t heavy metal taken seriously? Over the course of a dozen or so interviews with a cross-section of the genre’s most stalwart specimens, from Tommy Iommi to Rob Zombie, Dee Snider to Slayer, Dunn’s film dodges the obvious answers. Metal has survived so long precisely because of its stubborn imperviousness to this kind of windbaggy analysis, despite the efforts of several “experts” quoted in the film. (Two segments that suggest a better movie: Chuck Klosterman casually deflating the premise in a few sentences; the group of still-unrepentant Norwegian black-metal outlaws whose on-camera declarations are, nearly in the same breath, as chilling as they are hilarious.) Dunn globetrots from German metalfests to Ronnie James Dio’s crib, throwing goat horns all the way, but his shaggy enthusiasm doesn’t make up for a stunning lack of compelling performance footage. Every subculture as indestructible as heavy metal serves as an advertisement for itself, but almost any 10-minute span of MTV’s Headbangers’ Ball has more sociology than this half-baked infomercial.
On the Web
Metal: A Headbanger's Journey: http://www.metalhistory.com/