Archive for sam dunn

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: