Sam Dunn is a Toronto anthropologist,
bassist for death metal band Burn to Black, and the co-director and
face of the successful 2005 Metal 101 documentary Metal: A
Global Metal traverses the world’s host spots
to see how these varying cultures have made this style of music
their own, as well as how they’ve had to deal with oppressive
governments and limited freedom.
Dunn and his co-director Scot McFayden begin logically in Brazil, as most heavy music fans
associate this country with Sepultura and the massive outdoor
concert Rock in Rio. It’s a familiar metal fanboy setting fitting
with the Wacken adventure in his first film, and an excellent way to
transition into his new subject matter.
A trip to Japan shows it as
a polite, positive and fun experience, with conflict coming from
contrasting styles of traditional, extreme output to even a choir of
teenage girls singing over ex-Megadeth’s Marty Friedman for the TV
series Death Panda.
A strong contrast is China, whose expert there
expresses that metal is their output to show their inner hate among
a culture with so many people and so much repression. Indonesia has
a similar “hate” scene, where a band member somehow manages to
explain an anti-Zionist message while at the same time wearing an
Dunn challenges his contradictions, and while the
artist tries to explain, it leaves a bit of a bad taste. For me, the
most interesting bits take place within the Middle East and India,
whose conservative religious traditions have led the kids there
desperate to vent their struggles against the conformity of arranged
marriages and Bollywood.
The best comment comes from the statement
of an Israeli metaller that daily life in the city, the living, are
what is scary, and that the fantasy/gore elements of extreme metal
are what is fun and not scary at all. The big names in metal that
you would expect, such as Slayer and Iron Maiden, are littered
throughout the film to their appearances to tell stories of bizarre
incidents that have taken place to them in their trips around the
globe notable is a pretty brutal conflict in Indonesia at a
Metallica concert, however with Global Metal, the fans in these
countries the real stars, and it is less about shoulder rubbing and
defense of the genre than it is about an actual headbangers journey.
While a logical follow up to what Dunn began a couple years ago,
there’s more to learn here for the metal fan, and for the non-metal
fan, maybe they care more about Iranian children escaping the
country to see Bruce Dickinson sing than they do about meeting Dio.
It is among the best music documentaries I have ever seen, and my
only dissatisfaction with it is that once it was over, I couldn’t
immediately go into the special features menu and watch extended