Pagan Metal: A Documentary

> > Apr 2010

Pagan Metal: A Documentary
By Laura Wiebe TaylorA "documentary" isn't precisely what you get in this lo-fi look at the pagan metal scene. The whole shebang begins not with a menu but with an extended promo for another Bill-Zebub feature ― an explicitly white trash fusion of metal and porn, by the looks of it. Then Pagan Metal takes off as the DVD cuts to a live performance, the transition marked by only a few frames displaying the film's title on the screen. There's no real documenting of the scene, just a collection of interviews and music clips, including live footage with album recordings dubbed overtop. The interviews are entertaining and even illuminating, at times, ranging from serious to ridiculous, positioning the bands along the same spectrum (Leaves' Eyes suffer the worst of the mockery). The questions are amusingly leading and loaded, and only occasionally do the artists (Primordial, Korpiklaani, Finntroll, and the like) actually challenge the ideas the filmmakers suggest to them. Despite this heavy-handedness, interesting issues do emerge from the conversations: about fans and artists' connection to national histories and myths, about the relationship between globalization and folk music appreciation. Pagan Metal refuses to take its subject matter very seriously, and the bands mostly play along, but sometimes they resist the (self-)mockery and their ideas get through. Those are the moments that make the DVD worth watching. And then the film loops a Turisas clip and just stops, as if the production crew ran out of money, or booze.
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