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Every documentary on heavy metal sucks

Above is a two-and-a-half hour documentary called Heavy: The Story of Metal, which originally aired in 2006 on a cable channel here in America called VH-1. I don't know how long it's going to stay online, so watch it while you can before it gets pulled. (ETA: Yep, it got pulled, sorry, but I still got stuff to say about this.)

Is it any good?

No, it sucks.

There are a lot of reasons why it sucks, but here are a few that immediately stick out:

Ultimately, the documentary ends up being nothing but a sales pitch for Ozzfest, which at the time was still going until it ended in 2008, skipped a year, came back in 2010, skipped two years, then came back in 2013. Anything going on since then? Not a thing. hasn't been updated since November 2013. Will there be any more updates? Who the hell knows.

Even if the documentary is offline by the time you read this, believe me, you're not missing much.

Why does every metal documentary suck?

Over the years I have watched several metal music documentaries. They're all terrible because whoever is directing the stupid thing has to decide on a slant to take, and it's always the wrong one. Is there a right one? Probably not.

However, there is one and only one thing the VH-1 documentary gets right. At the beginning of the presentation, several mainstream metal musicians are asked to define what heavy metal is. None of them knew the answer...

...and that's why all metal documentaries suck. How the hell can you put together a documentary about a particular subject when you can't even define what the subject is?

So what's happened to metal in the 8 years since the documentary was made?

Quite a bit, all negative. The worst of it is that what little there was of a metal community has now all but completely died.

In other parts of the world like Germany, Romania and United Kingdom, metal still has a fairly strong presence. But in America? Metal now only exists as a bunch of kids posting YouTube videos. There is no scene, no community and everyone basically gave up on metal altogether.

Does that mean metal in America is dead? For the time being, yes it is...

...but it's not totally the music industry's fault.

Metal bands have had the ability for a while now to forge their own path via means of internet and promote themselves independently, yet still don't get anywhere. If a metal band is of the attitude of, "Screw the music industry, we can make it on our own", that is a totally doable thing.

So what's the problem? Really crappy metal songs. Plenty of metal musicians, but few who know how to really write a good song with good, headbanging riffs that contains lyrics that people can actually relate to.

And of course it doesn't help that YouTube is full of moron guitar shredders that couldn't carry a tune even if it had handles on it.

Will things change?

If metal bands ever figure out how to write good metal songs again, yes. But that doesn't look likely.

What do I mean by "good metal songs"? Listen to old Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Dio. Listen to how straightforward the riffs were. Listen to how every song has a proper beginning, middle and end. Listen how each song has a good hook to it. Listen to how huge each song sounded. That's what I'm talking about.

No, I'm not saying metal bands have to sound exactly like Priest, Maiden and Dio. What I'm saying is to listen to the method of how each song flows from those bands. There is no detuned garbage going on. There are no Cookie Monster vocals. There are no wacky time signatures. What those dudes wrote was just straight-up good metal riffs with proper song structure to keep it together. And it worked.

Can it work again? Yes, but only if metal bands these days pull their heads out of their asses and write songs that kick you in the face the proper way... but again, that's not likely to happen. They'll still detune everything so songs sound like a big, long, stinky fart, and add Cookie Monster vocals on top which is just another fart noise.

Yep, that's American metal today. Loud, distorted farts. Congrats, guys. You suck.

Published 2014 Aug 14

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