Heavy metal music’s influence on society is profound. Most people don’t realise it, but heavy metal has spawned an entire subculture, with millions world-wide who can call themselves heavy metal fans. It is more than just aggressive music, it is an obsession and a way of life for a staggering amount of people.
An anthropologist by the name of Sam Dunn actually went out and made documentaries on metal’s influences on societies across the world. A lifelong metal fan, he dreamed of one day being a heavy metal star. As he grew up, however, he switched to anthropology. To combine his two passions, he decided to document how heavy metal has changed lives and societies across the globe.
In his first documentary, called “Heavy Metal, A Headbanger’s Journey”, he goes on a quest to explore American and European metal. It’s described as a ground-breaking film looking into the stereotypes and the truths behind those stereotypes. He interviews people like Tony Iommi, Bruce Dickinson, Dee Snider and Ronnie James Dio to get their points of view on metal. He looks at how metal swept across the nation and changed how society works in many ways. And he visits every headbanger’s dream festival, Wacken. It is Germany’s tribute to the best heavy metal in the Western World.
In “Global Metal”, he goes beyond Europe and America into South America and Asia. He looks at how American and European metal influenced these societies. He goes to each country to find out how metal started in those countries and what they are doing with it. Many of those countries are even more opposed to the genre than Americans and Europeans have been. Metal helped change societies in Third World countries. It brought new experiences to those who were tired of old traditions that did nothing for them in the age of computers and technology. He travels into those countries and interviews the metal bands that are starting to break into the world market. These bands are different from anything established out there. They took what they were given and used their own unique cultural experiences to create new twists.
Both documentaries are excellent. For fans or those merely looking to learn more about the genre or understand it’s influences on society at large, they offer a chance to see metal from an enthusiastic and informative point of view. There is a lot to be learned about the history of metal, it’s influences on societies across the globe and about the people behind the music.