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Metal: A Headbanger's Journey 

(Warner Bros.)

Heavy metal is the redheaded stepchild of the music industry, rarely shown from a positive or even neutral perspective. Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, is the first documentary since Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years to delve deeply within the scene; the difference being that Metal does so without a trace of irony. That's because for 30-year-old filmmaker-anthropologist-metal fan Sam Dunn, this is serious business.

From the Wacken Open Air music festival in Germany to L.A.'s Sunset Strip, Dunn searches for the heart and soul of the genre, finding enlightenment in the words of such metal gods as Tony Iommi, Rob Zombie, and Bruce Dickinson. Metal includes a stunning account of the PMRC's First Amendment-abridging attack on rock lyrics in the mid-'80s, as related by Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, who recounts what it's like to battle Al Gore in the courtroom.

Disc two offers a mini-doc exploring the violent Norwegian black-metal scene and an interactive look at the heavy-metal genealogy chart that's referred to throughout Metal. Now you can trace, firsthand, the lineage in which power metal created metalcore or use it in arguments with your friends about where the next branch of metal's family tree might sprout.

More by Matthew Chernus

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