6/26/12

Global Metal (2008)



A while back I watched a pretty good metal music documentary, Global Metal, made by Canadian anthropologist Sam Dunn and his associate Scot McFadyen. They are famous for the best "metal 101" documentary that's been made, in my opinion, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005).

Global Metal came out in 2008 (yes, I'm late, as usual) and this time the guys focused on metal scenes outside the western world, which is a much needed topic of discussion. The documentary takes a good, though understandably limited, look at metal and the arrival of metal in Brazil, Japan, India, China, Indonesia, Israel, and the Middle East countries.

The documentary took a positive point of view to the spread of metal music, emphasizing how people everywhere will find their ways to listen/play the music that they love, despite resistance from the surrounding community or culture. It also looked at how the original cultures have been incorporated into metal, which is always interesting. It left out bigger questions, such as whether this sort of westernization and globalization is a bad thing for original cultures. I think there is no stopping of the spreading of popular cultures, whether they be western or eastern. They just happen to be western quite often. But the spread of Japanese popular culture into the west is a good example of an opposite movement.
I'm sure you could make a similar documentary about, for example, hip hop. And, you could also look at how metal originally arrived in smaller western countries too. The spread of subcultures, like metal, is a plague that cannot be stopped.. A happy plague, though.

Anyways. Good metal is good metal, no matter where it comes from. Here are some bands featured in the documentary:

Sigh (Japan) (Note: There's a girl growler/saxophonist in this band. Yes. Growler/saxophonist..)


Siksakubur  (Indonesia)


Demonic Resurrection  (India)


Ritual Day (China)


Whorecore (Israel)


I like particularly the last one. Great name as well.
Check out Global Metal's Wikipedia page for a complete list of bands featured in the film.

From a female perspective, it was interesting that not a single woman was interviewed in this film, apart from a couple of giggling Japanese girls. And at the end, they filmed Iron Maiden's first ever show in Bangalore, India, with over thirty thousand people in the audience and I didn't see a single girl in there.. Yes, girls are not in the majority of metal audiences in the west either, but it is shocking to be reminded how separated the genders are in some parts of the world. I guess it just shows that metal is, after all, a very masculine genre of music. There is no denying that. It started as a male subculture, taking a while until girls became a part of it. An all-female Indian metal band might take a while..

Global Metal is a professionally made documentary with a lot of insight and I'd absolutely recommend it to everyone. I was very surprised, however, that Russia was not even mentioned in it. Not enough time, not enough resources, or maybe they thought Russia is too western? Possibly so. Someone should make a documentary about Slavic metal alone.

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