Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Review: Metal documentaries by Samuel Dunn

Country: Canada

Year: N/A

Metal music as a cultural phenomenon got its voice in the world after specific problems among young people in the early 80s. After the world hysteria with Alice Cooper, Kiss, Twisted Sister and others, metal was presented as the biggest evil and some melodies written by Satan. The fact is that the world, specifically America, wasn’t so ready to welcome this kind of extreme music that was followed by specific noticeable style and personality.

As music dedicated to anarchistic system, even after those problems and protests, metal became so large that even in forbidden countries youngsters began to play it and love it. Subgenre after subgenre, more extreme and darker metal came even to religiously isolated places and began its interesting evolution. Back in those times, listening to metal wasn’t about fashion as much as going to concerts and discovering the metal Gods. There was no internet, encyclopaedia metallum etc. Radio stations, live gigs and music stores were a piece of heaven for those young fellas. One guy that grew up in a province being a metalhead, skid, non-normal was Samuel Dunn, now one of the most famous metal journalists and fan of everything connected to metal. So little Sam, at the age of twelve discovered metal. Let’s see what he learned.

Samuel Dunn made many documentary movies about metal, the most popular two are “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” (2005) and “Global Metal” (2008). After premiers of those movies many people found themselves in metal as their favourite music and those who were already in it thank Mister Dunn for his surprise.

“Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” is the first documentary I watched on my CD. I watched it so much that at the end the CD wasn’t able to play. It burned itself, I have no idea how… I learned every line by heart. Almost every weekend was reserved for this movie and new music. My fascination about it was how Sam gave metal a place between world’s cultures. His presentation is rich, interesting, creative and on the level on professional movies. Like he was presenting some biography, he gave every band five minutes of glory in his movie.

The story is starting from early 70s and its closing with 2005 and popular bands in that moment. But… It’s not all about bands that he interviewed or mentioned. It’s about how much this music means to him. He even had the pleasure to talk with the biggest names, such as Tom Araya, Bruce Dickinson, Lars Ulrich and others, the most popular that popped up in your head right now. Maybe that’s why it became so viral but not just because of that. This was watched even among people who don’t listen to this, just to see what the fuss and hatred was about that evil music. He was concentrated on fans and also their story about what metal means to them. Mister Dunn wanted the world to see that those kids have their personal taste and it’s okay and normal.

The other movie that meant even more to me was “Global Metal”. In this part Samuel went outside of America and Europe and even came to Israel, Indonesia, Japan, India, Brazil and China. This was a discovery for me because besides Sepultura and Sacrofago I didn’t know about any other band from other continents. Even today one of my favourite bands is Orphaned Land from Israel. If there wasn’t for this movie maybe I wouldn’t listen to them at all.

The stories told by fans and local musicians from those countries are so honest and full of life and experience that nothing can surprise you now.

Interesting fact about this part of the movie is religion. As we all know, metal is not so much approved by religious people. Metal talks about many things those institutions want to hide forever. Somewhere it’s warm welcomed, like China and Japan, but Indonesian or Israeli religious police have their hands full to cut hair, burn t-shirts and even to imprison metalheads. It went to the extreme side because of misunderstanding, but it opened the door and made many bands that sing about that.

Sam Dunn made his point with many movies he made after but these two are eternal and I think every single metalhead should watch them to see how big his favourite music is and how individual and creative this culture is.

Thanks to Samuel Dunn the world heard the voice from us, the most evil Satan servants. It’s not about style, it’s not screams and guitars and there is no need to ask us if we are junkies. As you watch a documentary about something you don’t understand, also look at this. I promise, you won’t summon any demons. That’s more than music, it’s an identity.