METAL: A HEADBANGER'S JOURNEY (Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Jessica Joy Wise). 96 minutes. Opens Friday (February 24). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
For 30 years - or ever since Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper started playing songs about sex and murder - people have been losing their shit thinking metal is out to destroy the moral fabric of society.
Old news, maybe, but it's also where anthropologist and self-proclaimed headbanger Sam Dunn begins his study of metal's cultural relevance. Metal: A Headbanger's Journey starts with the genre's paradoxical roots in traditional blues and classical music before running through every subgenre from androgynous 80s glam to Norwegian black metal.
Though major players in the game - including Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson , Slayer's Kerry King and Rush's Geddy Lee - are interviewed, this is less an unbiased documentary and more a zealous defence of the genre's importance.
Instead of examining tired issues like gender roles and sexuality in metal and Tipper Gore's mid-80s hyper-moral crusade against Twisted Sister, Metal could have explored much juicier fodder, like the church burnings and anti-Christian sentiments in Norway's black metal scene or the creepily misogynistic and violent leanings of extreme American death metal.
Though this collection of stories and events will appeal to fans of the genre, it won't do much for the less knowledgeable viewer.
It's clear that Dunn hasn't made this for the fair-weather doc fan. But if you're a banger for life, you'll probably relate to his closing words: "You either feel it or you don't."