Metal: A Headbanger's Journey Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden and Jessica Joy Wise

Without sounding pretentious or unduly academic, self-proclaimed head-banger and institutionally certified anthropologist Sam Dunn systematically deconstructs the roots, substance and significance of heavy metal in all of its incarnations. Traditionally stereotyped and stigmatised, the documentary aims to explore the fundamentally human components of metal: the sense of belonging and community, the search for identity and power, all of the cultural elements that fuel the unmatched devotion of its followers, who are, more often then not, hooked for life. The filmmakers tap a broad base of human resources to explore an ambitious but coherent set of topics tracing the movement that has been both feared and scorned. Highlights of the film include Rob Zombie’s particularly insightful commentary, Necrobutcher’s (Mayhem) drunken "fuck them” outbursts and Dee Snider’s animated reminiscing about delivering a speech to the Senate Committee investigating the moral corruption of the music industry. Not only intelligently framed and well researched, the movie is visually engaging and cleverly edited, contributing immensely to the all around appeal of the documentary. Further complementing the package, the bonus disc includes a mini-documentary on Norwegian black metal, providing a much needed aside to the cultural phenomena that has captured the attention of people worldwide. The extended interviews offer some interesting commentary and stories from artists such as Pantera and Napalm Death that didn’t make the final cut but are definitely worth checking out. The outtakes present a more personal look into the filmmakers’ journey, endearing the viewer to their heavy metal tour guides. As hoped, the chart of bands that reappears throughout the film is included in a navigational format, though after one look it’s easy to nitpick about certain categories and classifications. Like all good studies, this brief exploration into the world of metal leaves the viewer with new questions to fuel future research. Issues concerning culture, politics, sexuality, etc. could all be individually examined and hopefully, Dunn, McFayden and Joy Wise will attempt to provide more specific answers in a much anticipated follow-up. (Seville)