7 Countries, 3 Continents, 1 Tribe…A bit more than two years after his acclaimed debut documentary “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey”, Canadian Sam Dunn and his partner Scot McFadyen are back with their second strike titled “Global Metal”, with my opening words being the sub-title and fitting it is. This time around Sam is putting the spotlight on the phenomenon of Metal being truly global, as you can virtually find Metal everywhere on this planet. To underline this, Sam went to seven countries on three continents to interview members of the respective scenes and shed a light on how Metal came to be in these areas and which hardships the bands and fans had and have to go through to follow their passion.
Everything kicks off in Wacken, the only “non-exotic” location for Sam’s second dive into the heart of Metal, because after that we start to travel the world. First off we go to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as Arizona (where Sam interviews one of his idols, Max Cavalera), exploring history of Metal as a rebellion against an oppressive regime and a chance to flee the harsh realities of life, with Carlos Lopes of cult band DORSAL ATLANTICA and ANGRA’s Rafael Bittencourt as well as two members of an upcoming Brazilian band called IRON MAIDEN with Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, as well as members of the Metal press, fans and the SEPULTURA fan club, showing how deeply rooted Metal is in the only Portuguese-language country of South America. And this is the approach that Sam continues to take, speaking with bands and promoters as well as fans and members of the press or sociologists etc., trying to get a feeling for the social connections and contrasts.
Japan is the next stop and it is one more country, where Metal is fairly established, Tom Araya, Kerry King and Lars Ulrich are giving their opinions on the Metal fans and scene, as well as Marty Friedman, who actually is fluent in Japanese. Here the contrast between the very subdued character of the fans and the rebelliousness of Metal, which also is showcased by Visual Kei veterans X-JAPAN and their flamboyant live show and SIGH’s Mirai Kawashima, before they travel to India, where the cultural difference is highlighted by one venue, where on one side there was a Metal show and on the other a traditional Hindu wedding. One of the main interviewees is our good friend Sahil from DEMONIC RESURRECTION and Sam actually returns here for the first ever show of IRON MAIDEN in India, the collision of Bollywood and Metal.
China proved to be a special challenge, as the crew only came into the country on a tourist’s visa, so they took quite some risk, but in the end it was worth it, because despite the communist repression there is a small, but good Metal scene out there, Kaiser Kuo, formerly with TANG DYNASTY, and Nong Yong of Black/Death powerhouse RITUAL DAY are the featured musicians here, before Sam travels into one of the more extreme scenes: Indonesia. A lot in that scene is based on hate, against religion, against the establishment, against, well, many things. It also features one of the most controversial interviewees, TENGKORAK’s Ombat Nasution, who raves about his anti-Zionist message, but at the same time sports an armband against Nazis, which doesn’t quite add up…
Two more to go, first off Israel, where ORPHANED LAND’s Kobi Farhi comments, but one of the most interesting interviews comes from Nir Nakav of SALEM, who gives us the deep statement that the extremity and gore of Metal is not anything scary, but that it is the living that he is afraid of. He also tells an anecdote about a letter from Norway, which was intercepted by police with a bomb in it, allegedly sent by none other than Varg Vikernes. Last, but not least, was supposed to be the Iran, but the crew did not get a permit, so they went to the United Arab Emirates to visit the Desert Rock and hooking up with fans from Iran, the Lebanon and the Emirates, as well as bands from the Emirates, Egypt, Saudi-Arabia and the Iran, showing which problems bands and fans alike have there.
The success of “Global Metal” lies in the fact that Sam stays away from the mainstream acts and really goes to the grassroots, talking to the fans, local bands etc., giving us the real look into the underground scene, where passion and dedication still run deep and commercial success is only a faint shadow on the horizon. Well researched, well done, a must for any Metal fan!
(Online April 7, 2009)