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Ok so I know the program Metal Evolution is not going to appeal to the majority of people perhaps however for any serious metal music fan this is a right of passage I feel.
Metal Evolution is a documentary series made in 2011 by Banger Films Inc., aired on Sky TV. You may currently buy the DVD and Blu-ray version on Amazon for around £15.
The program is narrated by long-term heavy metal fan, called Sam Dunn who not only narrates it, but is also the creator and director along with Scot McFadyen plus wrote the series with Scot McFayden and Ralph Chapman.
So what's it all about? Heavy Metal music of course but not just the who's who of bands, this series takes a deeper look right from the start and peers into the history and family tree of metal - where did it come from and why?
Lets start at the very beginning. Where did heavy metal come from? It's been around in some way or form for about 40 years. Sam goes back to the roots talking to various band members and finds links between old blues music like Howlin Wolf who's lead singer has a unique gravel effect voice and some much older jazz musicians; this can be seen in some rock bands through the ages.
With regards to Jazz, Slayer's drummer says his idol was Buddy Rich because he played so fast and furious it was like no other person he had seen before. Slayer and Jazz who'd have thought!
Rock n Roll has to be in there doesn't it. It gave us the distortion sound by accident apparently, it's that sound effect noise that can be made with pedals nowadays with electric guitars. Here they give you a look inside the Marshall amp factory and go through the history of there coming about too and why they are still one of the major amplifier companies of the world today.
You can't mention guitars without mentioning Yngwie Malmsteen the legendary guitar player, so who is his idol? Paganini! A classical violinist? I hear you say; well Yngwie apparently liked the speed of his music and challenged himself to play the music on his guitar, I guess that's why he's so damn good at what he does and when you listen to his music you can hear the classical hints.
So is that the end of the classical link, no. Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford says that his icon is Pavarotti the opera singer no less for the deep and varied theatrical tones he can hit.
So why do we like heavy metal? They say it's because we are angry ..... I am just about to do my "now hang on just a minute" line, but Sam goes off to a neurological scientist and sort of proves it - dam you! Apparently the intensity and distortion of the sound turns off the conscious thought chemical in the brain and makes us less inhibited. I admit I like the music and it makes we want to have fun and let go and gives me at least a release from some off the issues that I have to deal with being calm and collected especially with work. As Slash from Guns n Roses says in the film " if there wasn't heavy metal there maybe a lot more violence between the 16-25 year old group" and I think he's right to a degree.
Many consider Black Sabbath to be the first real metal band, there first album also named Black Sabbath was like no other that had been heard before and allowed a whole new generation of music to spill out.
At the time when Black Sabbath came about the peace and hippy movement was under way, for many this was great but for some it just did not fit with they way they felt especially to an industrial inner city Birmingham. Black Sabbath managed to capture the feelings that people were going through and bring something new to the music scene. Ozzy Osbourne later went on to have his legendary solo career still going today and in recent years having a resurgence due to the reality show The Osbournes and his wife Sharon being on the X factor.
Live shows and touring have often been a big part of the metal scene right from the beginning. Alice Cooper set about the infamous horror type stag shows aiming to shock the audience, which it did. Nowadays bands still try to do this like Marilyn Manson but it is more difficult to achieve perhaps as what is shocking to an audience has shifted with the main stream media of television and internet. Perhaps this is also why bands tend to get blamed sometimes for the horrible things that happen as Marilyn Mason has; the columbine school shooting was placed at his feet when it later turned out neither children were fans of his. People jump on the bandwagon of hating something because they don't like or understand it. In the documentary I think you can see that it still hurts Manson to date and in a columbine documentary Manson was asked what he would say to the columbine children - "I wouldn't say a single word; I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what none did" A sad but truer word could not be said....
(Taken from wikipeadia)
Big acts like Slipknot and Rammstien now do not shock but they do have a large emphasis on putting on a experience for the crowd - Slipknot with there iconic masks which hid there identity for a while and Rammstien with theatrical and pyrotechnical effects. Having see Manson, Slipknot and Rammstien live I can vouch for the impressive stage shows.
Big tours are favour by bands such as Aerosmith who continue to trek around giving there fans what they want it's somewhat nice though I think though that in contrast long term bands like Motorhead still play very small venues like local leisure centers.
Make up - now here is the big divide! And it's not your hair parting.
Glam rock started with a bit of flashy clothes and eyeliner and some turned into Kiss, which heavily market their band on appearance and makeup. They have probably done it to the hilt with an excessive market campaign and very successfully profiting from it.
In the 80's and early 90's bands kind of went either way along with their allegiance of fans and never the two shall meet! Glam really came to the fore front when in the 80's MTV started up and the need for videos and giving something extra for the fans to watch and the vast array of bands appeared Poison, Ratt, Warrant, Motley Crue etc the list was gigantic - not many are around today some changed tactics and dropped some of the glam like Motley Crue and some slip and went on to other things. Rikki Rockett drummer of Poison moved sideways and made a success of building drums.
On the opposing end is thrash metal, fast and aggressive sounding gets you heart racing. These are the likes of Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeath all big bands still going strong today and outweighing some of the newbies. The rock mega tons are Metallica - started really heavy, went a bit ballad in the middle, even played with an orchestra but heading back to there roots.
So if glam went and slipped from top spot who did it to them? Most people feel it was Guns n Roses (the original) I was one of the ones that had a brief fling with glam quickly super imposed Guns n Roses into my brain (I know I am hinting my age here!) I love appetite for destruction and could and pretty much still can sing every word from every song on that album! My tastes nowadays diverse across the whole genre old and new bands.
So what else is there!! Surely there cant be much more you all though it was just metal....... Numetal with combos like Aerosmith and run dmc and of course grunge and Nirvana sadly gone to soon Kurt and the more power gothic types Nightwish which envelope female singers with theatrical/classical voices.
**** OVERALL ****
This whole series captivated me from start to finish it was like a blast from the past in some cases as I went tripping down memory lane.
The way the whole series is set out into methodical sections each episode is ideal and allows you to finish about one genre before moving onto the next, ideal if you stop start the dvd.
Sam makes the series much more compelling as you can see that he not only knows what he is talking about but also loves the music and it's not just about making a documentary for money - his interest comes through.
The documentary gives factual information alongside interviews and old clips.
I think this is an ideal DVD for a heavy metal fan - it has plenty for the older fans who will remember many of the bands and for newer fans, seeing where it all came from. This is an ideal DVD for music students with an interest in metal.
Review maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under the same username.