Archive for metallica

Iraqi heavy metal returns (after five years of war induced exile)

Posted in Music News with tags , , , , , , on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 by Ryan Buege

After nearly 5 years of war and waiting, heavy metal has made its inevitable return to the city of Baghdad. In 2003, Iraqi thrash metal Acrassicauda band was the last metal band to play in Iraq (as documented in the awesome fucking movie Heavy Metal in Baghdad) before being forced to flee to Turkey, and according to a great USA Today report security has recovered to a level that makes it possible for fans to gather and express their love of metal once again! At a private dinner club on the shores of the Tigris river, 250 Iraqi’s clad in black gathered to rock out to the anthems of local death metal bands Brutal Impact and Dog Faced Corpse.

Seriously, how unbelievable is that? As Muthana Mani of Brutal Impact indicated to USA Today, during the war “being a member of heavy metal’s unique subculture could amount to a death sentence”. After being threatened from every other force in Iraqi culture, metal was forced to go underground to be practiced and grow behind closed doors. Five years have passed, though, and these band’s felt that it was time to just say “fuck you” to the extremists in Iraq and bring metal back into the public.

Among the hundreds of concertgoers in attendance that night were everyone from veiled females to corpse painted shaved head males. Most of the patrons were attending their first metal concert ever. But while the appearance of the some attendees might not have matched the expected, most of the metalheads there knew exactly what to do and how to act. Like I indicated in my review of Global Metal, no matter where you come it only takes the passion inside to be a part of the global metal community. This situation is a perfect example of how youth around the world can use metal both as voice of dissent and a source of personal therapy.

The video that USA Today captured of the concert (at the top of the page) is goosebump inducing, and it’s very inspiring after years of constant reporting on attacks from Iraq. If the traditional black garb doesn’t convince you that these fans know what they were doing, perhaps the mosh pits, broken tables, and Metallica sing-along would. It’s a beautiful thing! Good luck to all the Iraqi metal bands that are struggling to persevere; the rest of the community is looking forward to the future of Iraqi metal!

Ryan Adams is sworn to the black

Posted in Music News with tags , , , , , , on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 by Ryan Buege

Who would’ve guessed that one of alt-country’s most beloved singer-songwriters held underground black metal in such high esteem? While Ryan Adams isn’t an artist that many metal fans would break out on regular occassion (unless you’re trying too hard to impress a girl), a recent New York Times interview has shown that he has much higher kvlt cred than your average country boy. A favorite excerpt of mine…

..on one-man California black metal band Xasthur

“My listening tastes are absolutely not in tune with the kind of music I make. The music that interests me is a bit weirder. “Defective Epitaph” has really far-out guitars; it’s not really lyrical. When I close my eyes and listen, I think of a heartbroken demon sitting beside these ashes in hell and really missing his girlfriend. It’s like romantic death metal. The aggressiveness of [Malefic’s] guitar riffs can be quite brutal. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s really clever.”

I’m willing to bet that that quote would surprise the fuck out of the majority of Adams fanbase; but personally, it’s just great to see that an artist appreciates strong influences from something so different from their own art. In my opinion, being open to this kind of extreme variety can only be healthy for artistic progression, so I say kudos and horns up to Adams. You can continue this interesting read at New York Times website, where Adams justifies his love for everything from stoner, black, and thrash metal to pop and hip hop.

For now, everyone should check out the contrast between Adams performing live and the dark chaos and aura of Xasthur (and for the record, I personally love them both – so Adams must be doing something right)… Continue reading

Global Metal is amazing (and it will be in stores soon)

Posted in Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 by Ryan Buege

After the release of his 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, anthropologist (and lifelong metalhead) Sam Dunn became a renowned figure in the international metal community. The film was a poignant and passionate portrayal of the history behind this infamously beloved genre and the working class roots that it embodies. While A Headbanger’s Journey served perfectly as both outsider’s introduction into the depths of the world of metal and an affirmation to fellow metalheads to keep headbanging, Dunn realized that there was a much bigger story to tell.

Soon after the release of A Headbanger’s Journey, Dunn and his coconspirator Scott McFayden set about filming a followup to their ultimate metal documentary. The next chapter is entitled Global Metal, and it is just as brilliant as the first.

In Global Metal, Dunn and McFayden circle the planet to tell the story of how metal has been adopted by like-minded kids in some of the unlikeliest of places. Through this documentary, we are able to see how the culture, dedication and stigma that comes with extreme music is a part of life for people all around the world – from America and Germany to  Brazil, India, China, Japan, and Iran. The most interesting aspect of the film is its documentation of the way is which metal as been molded to become a voice of the people in these third world countries. As Dunn explains, these new fans of metal aren’t just listening to metal, they’re making it something entirely their own. The cultural aspects between the places that are visited in the film are so strikingly different that one can’t help but wonder in what ways the genre can be reinvigorated by being integrated with these cultures in the future. It is a form of expression that has been subverted in many non-Western cultures, but when it is allowed to become a part of their culture it becomes a likely vehicle for social change.

But while Sepultura established Brazil as a remote mecca for metal nearly two full decades ago (and even distinguished metal as music for Brazilians to be proud of), this explicitly western form of music has only recently began to gain popularity in some of the more remote parts of the world. Although the film makes it clear that small pockets troo-metalheads exist in nearly every country, metal is a musical concept that is entirely foreign to most people in these far off destinations – and in many cases they are persecuted for listening to it. Metal has been incorrectly demonized in many of these third-world countries, and without tolerance of their form of expression it is very hard for third-world metal bands to even play their instruments. In the future, it’ll be very interesting to see if metal fans in Jerusalem, Tehran, Beijing, and Mumbai will be allowed the same freedom to bang their heads so that they can make an impact at an international level, as well. As Dunn points out, the feeling that metal provides to its listeners is universal – we all deserve the right to headbang at our own will – we are one global community.

Global Metal premiered in theatres this spring, and on November 4th it will be available for purchase on DVD. It features interviews with members of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Sepultura, Sigh, Tang Dynasty and metalheads from every corner of the world. Check out the trailer for the film below: