Metal- A Headbangers JourneyBanger Productions, Inc.

*walks up to podium, clears throat, and takes deep breath*

Hello. My name is Uncle NecRo, and I am a metal head.

*CROWD: “Hi, Uncle NecRo!”*

Sure, it’s tough nowadays to admit to being a tried-and-true metal head. So many sub-genres, mixed styles and flavors within the catch-all heading that, not surprisingly at all, there’s little in terms of unity between them all. And for someone who’s exploring the metal genres for the first time, it can get rather confusing. You got your classic metal from the 1970s, your 80s hair metal, thrash metal, death metal, black metal, metal hybrids, nu metal, power metal, prog metal, so on and so on. Metal music has come such a long way since its inception, and has mutated so much, that the fledgling metal head almost doesn’t know where to begin when it comes to the Metal Family Tree.

Fortunately, 30-something anthropologist and lifelong die hard metalhead Sam Dunn does an outstanding job exploring the many facets of metal, going through the histories, themes and controversies that go with them. Throughout this 90-plus-minute documentary, Dunn travels the world, interviewing band members, fans others associated with metal. My favorite moments: A trip to the Wacken Open Air festival; a rather unintentionally humorous interviews with the Norweigen black metal bands; an interview with Twisted Sister icon Dee Snider involving the PMRC trials in the 80s; and the great Definitive Metal Family Tree that grounds the documentary and gives the viewer something to go on. And of course, there’s the very cool soundtrack that features some of the best in the genres.

Some of the cooler supplemental stuff on the DVD: A commentary by the director and camera guy, geeking out on metal; an extended collection of interview clips with Moterhead’s Lemmy (funny guy); and a short film dealing exclusively with black metal. Though definitely not exhaustive, Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey is a great supplement for any self-described metal historian. Highly recommended…