Directed by Sam Dunn/Scot McFadyen
Tricon Films & Television
Sam Dunn fronts this TV series – now available on DVD. It follows his films Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and Global Metal. He and Scot McFadyen also gave us Iron Maiden: Flight 666 and so metal fans might want to sit through this as a result.
I did like the use of The Trooper as intro/theme music. That was a good start…
But Dunn is an annoying narrator – all puppy-dog enthusiasm and earnestness that borders on unctuousness while bypassing analysis.
There are 11 episodes here (across three discs) with each 40-minute episode taking in a different sub-genre. We start, logically, with pre-metal heavy/hard rock and name check Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple and classical music. And from there the series examines distinctly British and American genres, taking in glam, grunge, nu-metal, progressive metal, thrash…
As always with a Dunn/McFadyen production the biggest coup is the access – the sheer number of talking heads assembled is almost overwhelming. And it’s nice to hear from the two guys in Kiss that were just hired hands (Ace and Peter) rather than more mugging from Paul and Gene (presumably the producers could not afford Gene’s price – otherwise he’d be there with bellbottoms on! And the stacked heels).
But Dunn bleats, often, about metal not getting respect and all his films ever do is show action and a lot of talk, they offer no insight into why (extra) respect should be paid, or whether that’s even a valid claim. And when he softly argues against grunge as a form of metal or in protest of nu-metal he then dedicates episodes to each while never taking these sub-genres to task, merely interviewing copious musicians and lightly suggesting that maybe he was wrong. He’s a weak interviewer and analyst, far too much of a fan to offer anything with/of any critical merit.
I was also struck with the feeling, watching this across three sessions – some 500 minutes – that any (real) metal fan would know everything in these episodes already. And any casual fan wouldn’t want to stick with this. So it’s a bizarre fan-document that, in the end, groans across the line. Talking loud and saying nothing. But isn’t that the problem with a lot of metal music too? In that sense, and that sense only, this is a somewhat perfect snapshot.
But too often I felt like I’d been assigned to work through all of the extras and none of the main feature. A plate stacked with sides and no (real) meat.
Shiny metal case though! Oooh – that probably sells it to a lot of its target audience.