Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey

September 19, 2006

I never knew that Metal could be so scary.

Seriously, those Norwegians scare the bejesus out of me. Burning down churches and making jewelry out of pieces of their bandmate’s skull. What the hell is wrong with those people? Did their mommies not hug them enough?

Although Norwegian Black Metal certainly deserves the reputation it’s got, what about the rest of it? Anthroplogist/Headbanger Sam Dunn takes a scientific approach to understanding Metal’s Culture. This isn’t Penelope Spheeris interviewing drunken rockers in a swimming pool, bragging about their sexual exploits and single vampire coke nostril (thanks, Patton). Dunn is dissecting Metal in order to understand the fans – not the musicians.

What Dunn discovers is fairly obvious once you get to thinking about it. His main conclusion seems to be that Metal is for misfits – those who don’t fit in and aren’t comfortable with the mainstream seem to be attracted to Metal. Empowering the powerless is a recurring theme in Metal, as are discovering the mysteries of the unknown, namely sex, death and the occult. Is it any wonder that teenagers are attracted to Metal? Not only are they almost entirely powerless, they don’t know shit about sex, are unlikely to have experienced death in any meaningful way and haven’t figured out that the occult is bullshit.

I was fairly amused at Metallica’s brief mention. As important as the band seems to think they are, I’d bet that Lars was knocking on Dunn’s door, whining about their lack of screen time. Although it’s entirely possible that they deigned to join in the interview fun when asked – who knows.

I cry foul at the inclusion of RUSH. They are about as metal as my left tit. Wait – that’s admittedly pretty metal. Correction, RUSH is about as metal as the fucking Wiggles, who are coincidentally, a bunch of tits.

Although it kind of drags at the beginning, it starts to pick up steam and gets interesting about a third of the way through. I doubt that non-Metalheads would find the documentary very interesting, but them again – it wasn’t made for them. Of course, I could be wrong and it was made to warn the world at large about the dangers of Norwegian Black Metal. Crazy Fuckers.


Year – 2005
Rating – R
Runtime – 96 minutes
Genre – Rock Documentary
Director(s) – Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Jessica Joy Wise
Writer(s) – Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Jessica Joy Wise
Actor(s) – Sam Dunn, Alice Cooper, Ronny James Dio, Lemmy, Dee Snider
BOB Rating – Three BOBs
Favorite Quote – "I love women, I think they should be naked backstage all the time. I love looking at them." - Lemmy