When I first saw the title of this documentary (or, as VH1 Classic called it, 'rock doc'), I figured it would just be the story of some metal bands and where there are today.
That was so not the case.
Metal: A Headbanger's Journey did feature short stories of metal stars like Alice Cooper and Dee Snider, but it wasn't the focus. This rock doc was all about the heavy metal genre as a culture. When I put it like that, I guess it sounds sort of creepy--like all metalheads are in some sort of cult and worship Ozzy Osbourne, but it wasn't a scary documentary, either. It was exactly what the title says it was: a headbanger's journey, looking for why metal is contantly stereotyped and metal's ties with religion, sexuality, fans, and musical influences.
It was competely fascinating. I was glued to my TV screen, the whole time thinking about how I have to blog about it or I would never forgive myself. I don't even think you have to be a fan of heavy metal to enjoy this movie. I'm more of an 80's hair metal fan, but I still loved hearing what members of Slipknot and Cannibal Corpse had to say; there's a little something for everyone.
It's totally eye-opening, too. Bands like Slayer are proven to not be Satanists. Dee Snider of Twisted Swister speaks about censorship in court (that part was my favorite). Controversial issues like violence and death are discussed. You get to see the sense of belonging, empowerment, and safety that fans of metal feel. Some information is shocking--like how churches were burned down by some Norwegian black metal band members. Some information is just interesting, like how groupies really did want to be with the band and don't regret one thing.
The entire film showed heavy metal--along with all of its subgenres, which are pretty mind-boggling when they're all listed--as a social movement. It was awesome, and I do not use that word lightly. The influence that metal has obviously had on people all over the world is incredible, and that power (from any musical genre) is one of my favorite things about music.
This movie is for anyone--anyone who adores metal, anyone who doesn't know anything about metal, anyone who has never understood metal, anyone that just doesn't get it--because it is so informative. It's informative and interesting in the best way possible.
One moment of the film that really touched me was during an interview with a teen. He was asked what was it he liked so much about music (he had posters all over his wall, he played bass, and was wearing an Anthrax T-shirt. You could tell from one glance that music was a huge influence on him).
He answered by saying that music was always there.