A really nice and thoughtful Canadian citizen recommended this documentary to me this very evening. I had already seen it but it brought some great memories back from some months ago when I discovered it.
Watching Heavy Metal: A Headbanger's Journey is a must for every heavy metal fan out there, and there's probably not a better way to describe it that the one that can be found in its official website:
In A Headbanger's Journey, Sam Dunn plays himself, a 30-year old anthropologist. He's also a lifelong metal fan. After years of studying diverse cultures, Sam turns his academic eye a little closer to home and embarks on an epic journey into the heart of heavy metal. His mission: to try and figure out why metal music is consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned, even while the tribe that loves it stubbornly holds its ground- spreading the word, keeping the faith and adopting the styles and attitudes that go way beyond the music.
Sam visits heavy metal landmarks as far flung as L.A.'s Sunset Strip, the dirtly streets of Birmingham, and the dark forests of Norway. Along the way, the two sides of Sam Dunn - curious anthropologist and rabid fan - collide, as Sam explores metals's obsession with sexuality, religion, violence, and death, meets his heroes, and discovers some things about the culture that even he can't defend. Part social document, part celebration of a misunderstood art form, this documentary is the first of its kind: a chance for metal fans to speak out and a window into a culture that's far more complex than it appears.
Isn't that enough to give it a try? It took much less than that for me, let me tell you. But if you need a last push, take a good look at this trailer:
And there's something else. After releasing this film, Dunn received lots of e-mails from headbangers all over the world, even from places that he didn't even know metal existed. That motivated him to make another documentary called Global Metal, which provides a radically different insight on metal from what we are used to over here in Europe. You'll probably watch this if you like A Headbanger's Journey.
Myself, what am I going to see next? While doing a little research for this post I discovered that Dunn has released a new documentary, this time about the legendary Canadian band Rush called Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. After taking a look at the trailer and seeing that people like Mike Portnoy, Billy Corgan and Kirk Hammet are interviewed, I'm already in the process of acquiring the DVD: