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METAL - A HEADBANGERS JOURNEY   Print  E-mail 
Written by Graham Reed  
Saturday, 27 May 2006
It's impossible to cram in the whole history of metal into 99 minutes, but dammit, Metal: A Headbangers journey does a good job of trying....

Interviewer: ' What does heavy metal mean to you?' Norwegian Death metal guy from Enslaved: (Extremely long pause, then he sips from a glass of red wine, puts it down, and speaks) ' 'Satan' Interviewer : ' What does Satan mean to you?' Norwegian Death metal guy from Enslaved: (After an even longer pause, which is the heaviest silence in history since Metallic's Sad But True) 'Freedom'

Hilarious.And thats just one of the many interviewees....

Well, maybe not quite so hilarious on paper, but in execution.Imagine it said in the same accent as Jamie Lee Curtis In trading places,and you get the right picture. He Doesnt so much say 'Satan' as 'ZEY-tarwn' and doesn't so much say 'Freedom' as 'Fvlreeeeedum'. (Its all in the delivery, I promise you.)

From Sabbath to Slipknot, from Autopsy to Venom, from maiden to Metal, its there. Not all of it. But a lot of it. And Damn, is it funny. And Does it rock? yes. But damn, is it funny.

See Manowars rippled, muscular chests ...and ridiculous mustaches which they stole off the Village People.See The worlds shortest metaller, Ronnie James Dio. (I met him, and he didn't even come up to my shoulder. But he did rock). See the ludicrous pantomime fun of metal, of grown men doing wiggling metal horns, of air guitar and moshpits, see exceprts from the legendary 'Heavy metal Parking Lot', see all that and more. It reminds of that perpetual fifteen year old trying to get out, regressing back into a time of pure fun and enjoyment and play. Thats what heavy metal is - a celebration of enjoyment, of seperatism, of a sense of belonging to somethign when you feel so on the outside and spurned by the cool kids you know. Its the sense of release and pleasure you get for doing soemthing just for the pure enjoyment of it all.

Its also, bloody funny. But its got a special resonance for us brummies. Why? Well, one of the first bands he investigates in his roughly chronological history of heavy is Sabbath, who take you down the streets of birmingham. Interviewer Sam Dunn strolls out of Birmingham New Street Station, and into the streets on which metal was born, the narrow terraced houses of Aston. Then we pan away to Tony Iommi in the country house, his personalised number plate of his car (99 GTR) outside, and the cinema erupts in widespread laughter. All because our interviewer wants to do is get back to to finding out about the source of true metal, and asks away.

It's especially relevant to someone like me, who spent their teenage years on the streets on which metal was forged, stomping around aston with a particular brand of surliness and acne and air guitar. Metal? Real men play on ten. But I was a teenager, and well, I didn't get to ten. I got to go to sixth form, because I got to go to school on the streets of Aston. The streets on which Metal was born. I don't know about the three chords part, but Tony Iommi certainly had the truth.(And No, even though I do come from birmingham, i don't know Ozzy, Ok? Even if Birmingham City Council is annoucning that the 27th May is 'Ozzy Osbourne day', which a tie in event at Aston hall. BTW, Did you know that ozzy's first wife still lives in harborne with his two kids?))

Anyway...

Interviewer: 'So What is Aston like?' Tony Iommi takes a short breath, and then speaks. A lofty pronouncement of gravitas and truth... Tony Iommi : ' A shithole'

Metal: A Headbangers journey is a pure celebration of your inner 15 year old, playing air guitar forever. Embrace it.

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