Various Artists
Global Metal (documentary)

Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden, oh how I envy you guys. Not only do you get to travel the world, making great documentaries, but you make them about metal. You hang out with legendary bands, meet up-and-coming acts, and oh yeah, it doesn’t hurt that the films are thoughtful, interesting and well-produced.

By now, most of you should realize I’m talking about the guys that brought you 2005’s excellent, comprehensive study of all things metal, Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. Now the guys are off around the world to delve into cultures where metal has made an unlikely impact – far beyond Europe and North America, and into countries where until recently, playing or even displaying an affinity for metal could get you into big trouble – or worse.

When I think of exotic metal these days, a billion bands come to mind. (That’s what happens when a fun Sunday afternoon for you is visiting every Estonian and Latvian band site listed in the Encyclopaedia Metallum.) However, it all started for me with Sepultura. When I was first getting into metal in my teens, Sepultura‘s Arise and Beneath the Remains weren’t just exotic because of their awesome Lovecraftian artwork or their dirty, raw hybrid of thrash and death metal – it was because these guys were from Brazil, of all places. Made them feel even more unique and special, and Dunn echoes that exact statement as he flies down to Brazil to check out the rabid scene there, where Sepultura are basically national heroes. Through interviews with fans and band members (Angra and Sepultura included), we hear how metal – this fresh, vibrant, exciting music – exploded in the underground consciousness just as the Brazilian dictatorship was ending in 1985, and how it instantly created an entire generation of metal faithful.

This phenomenon of catharsis exploding from within the confines of societal and political repression is a constant theme in the film, as Dunn finds the same thing happening in places you might not expect to find fellow metal fanatics: China. Indonesia. Iran. India. Seeds planted in foreign – and sometimes bitter – soil are bound to produce strange fruit, and as expected, the bands in these burgeoning scenes are not just content to ape the external influences trickling in from the West. They’re making their own statements with the music, whether it’s the politically-explosive death metal of Indonesia’s Tengkorak, the war-zone chronicles of Israel’s Salem, or the surprisingly unhinged, brutal black metal of China’s Ritual Day. (On a related note, I also recommend a documentary called Heavy Metal in Baghdad, about Iraq’s only metal band, Acrassicauda.)

Now, while I didn’t hear anything in the film that qualified as a new genre or a dramatically new take on metal in general, I’m sure we’ll be hearing something fresh come out of these scenes before long. My bets are on India, with some kind of perverse metal antithesis to their relentlessly happy, colorful Bollywood musicals.

As we all know, metal isn’t just a style of music, it’s a culture. A thriving, healthy culture that’s constantly growing and mutating, even as it maintains the core elements of aggression, catharsis, theater and individuality that have made so many of us true believers. In fact, it’s not too far off to call Metal a religion, and based on the legions of screaming fans in just about every country on the planet (half of them wearing Maiden T-shirts, it seems), it’s here to stay.

I could have watched ten hours of this, and I hope Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden can continue to make metal documentaries for as long as they’re able.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
August 26th, 2009


  1. Commented by: shane

    The only problem with this topic is that there is no way you can make an hour and a half film about it. it’s the same plague that fell onthe last DVD he did. Look at all the countries and bands he missed that are important really. The idea that metal has grown gloabl and what it means to these people is great and all, but for someone who really dives deep into metal, there’s more to be told.

    This guy has lterally struck gold because everytime he releases a DVD there’s gonna be another one that has to be made.

  2. Commented by: Staylow

    This really is a great doc, just as the first. Sure, there are always going to be important things left out when your time frame is an hour and a half, but for that amount of time, they did a great job. Good review Jordan.

  3. Commented by: Biff Tannen

    I was on board with the dvd until Dunn flat out REFUSED to acknowledge the guy from the Malaysian band’s (don’t remember their name) statements critiqueing the Israeli government’s racist policies, and tried to pass it off as “anti-Semetism” and accused him of having a ‘hateful ideology'(or something similar) during off camera narration…a totally cowardly way to cast off the young man’s very valid criticism of a racist Zionist regime. The guy flat out said “We love Jewish people, and have nothing against them…it is their facsist government that is a problem” and even wears an anti-Nazi patch on his jacket!!!!
    I lost a HUGE amount of respect after witnessing Dunn’s cowardly behaviour.

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    which is why I didn’t refer to them as anti-Semitic. I was raised Jewish (but no longer believe in Judaism) and I have never agreed with Zionism either.

    all the same, when the guy says “Zionists must be destroyed and wiped off the face of the earth,” that’s not exactly something you want to embrace, semantics or not.

  5. Commented by: Biff Tannen

    “all the same, when the guy says “Zionists must be destroyed and wiped off the face of the earth,” that’s not exactly something you want to embrace, semantics or not.”

    Zionism is a Racist POLITICAL IDEOLOGY…. What do you find wrong with saying that a dangerous political ideology should be destroyed?? Would you disagree that Nazi ideology should be wiped from the face of the earth? I certainly do, and its the same with Zionism. There is no room for a racist ideology backed with nuclear weapons in this world if we are all to survive.
    Zionism is EXTREMELY dangerous, to everyone on earth.

  6. Commented by: Biff Tannen

    *would you AGREE that Nazi…..*

    Sorry for the typo

  7. Commented by: gabaghoul

    exactly why I don’t agree with it. that said, he said “Zionists” and not “Zionism” must be destroyed and to me, there’s a difference. one is an ideology and the other is a group of people.

  8. Commented by: Braziliannihilator

    This is a great documentary!!! I’m from Brazil, the same city of Sepultura, Belo Horizonte, their old stuff were amazing as well Sarcófago, Holocaustö, Lustful, LouCypher, Unholy Massacre, Exultory, Witchhammer, etc.
    I totally aggree with Tengkorak (great band – reminds me Napalm Death’s Utopia Banished-Era) and Biff… Zionism is a racist and repugnant regime! Lambs in Wolfskin! Salem looks like a WHITE METAL religious band, their music is soft & boring and lyrics totally fundamentalist religious. I’m totally against zionism, but I don’t have problems with jewish or semitic people… Semitic are not jews only, but also assyrians, phoenicians, arabs and some ethiopians… It was really interesting and cool to see people worshiping METALLLLLLLLLL in distant countries as India, Indonesia, Persia, israel (they could show Palestinian terrories too), Dubai (Nervecell rules), Japan (SIGH!!! rules… I missed Ritual Carnage and Abigail there) and China (they could show some Regicide shows)!!! Next documentary they could show KILLER bands in Lebanon as Kaoteon, Oath to Vanquish and Ayatt, Jordan (Bilocate), Egypt (Scarab), Singapore (Impiety, Abhorer), Pakistan, South Africa, Australia (Abominator, Destroyer 666, Sadistik Exekution), etc.

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