Sunday, 8 August 2010

Movie Review: Global Metal (2008)


Following on from his 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Canadian filmmaker and anthropologist Sam Dunn explores the spread and impact of heavy metal around the globe.

Global Metal visits seven countries not always associated with the world of metal: Brazil, Japan, India, China, Indonesia, Israel and Dubai. Through interviews with local metal band members, fans, and some world-famous bands that have toured around the world, Dunn paints a picture of heavy metal as a common anthem that accompanies personal freedom.

In Brazil, metal exploded to the forefront with the end of oppressive military regimes in the mid-1980's. In China, the past 20 years have seen metal emerge from the shadows as the country opened to the outside world. In Indonesia, metal was a rare - and dangerous - avenue to channel anti-dictatorship sentiment prior to the end of the Suharto regime. In Iran, where personal freedoms are still severely suppressed, Dunn wasn't even allowed into the country: he nevertheless caught up with Iranian metal fans in Dubai.

Global Metal, co-directed by Scot McFayden, offers some memorable footage: a classroom filled with teenagers learning rock guitar in China; Metallica on-stage in Indonesia with wild fires sparked by fan riots just outside the stadium; massive metal concerts in Rio and Dubai; middle-aged fans having a blast singing Deep Purple's Highway Star karaoke style at a tiny club in Japan; and Indian fans emotionally flocking to an Iron Maiden concert in Bangalore, the first ever show by a major metal band in the country.

Including interviews with Metallica's Lars Ulrich, Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, Tom Araya of Slayer, Max Cavalera (formerly of Brazil's Sepultura) and Marty Friedman (formerly of Megadeth), Global Metal is more balanced and better paced than Headbanger's Journey. It is also a welcome chronicle of the international expansion and influence of heavy metal.








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