VARIOUS ARTISTS – Heavy Metal: Louder Than Life


Freemantle Media
Release Date: May 22, 2006

User Review
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Attempting to portray the essence of Heavy Metal music over a 2 disc DVD set is virtually impossible. A 10 disc boxset would only scratch the surface of a hugely diverse genre with such a lengthy and rich history. Fortunately, director Dick Carruthers (Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith) along with producer Jim Parsons (MTV Headbangers Ball) do not try the impossible and opt instead for a different approach.

Rather than a chronological run through Metal from the early years to the present day, the DVD is presented in a series of chapters examining the roots of Metal, the sound of Metal, looking in particular at the guitar riff, drums, and vocals; the live shows and the rebellious backdrop to the whole genre. Each chapter is interspersed with chats from such A-List luminaries as Rob Halford, Paul Di’Anno, Ronnie James Dio, Ian Paice, and James Hetfield, along with a whole host of stars from the bands that fans have come to love over the years. It is this stellar cast that really brings the documentary to life with their own interpretations of the Metal genre. Dee Snider, whose love and enthusiasm of Metal is so infectious that you can’t fail to get carried along with him, gets his own slot in the extras section and proclaims that he will die with a Metal album in his hand!!! Of less interest, however, are the comments from various journalists and behind the scenes characters.

No disc about Metal would be complete without decent live material of the leading lights in action. This DVD certainly does not disappoint in that department. Carruthers delves into the archives to pull out footage of the likes of Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Pantera, and Deep Purple in full flow … the only problem being that once you catch a snippet of a performance, you want more. If anything, the success of this disc is that it does make you want to dig deeper after watching it and get out some of those DVD’s and CD’s that you haven’t listened to for a while. For this reason, the disc is a winner.

Supporting the main feature is a host of extras, including “Metal Tales” where Geezer Butler, Bernie Marsden/Mickey Moody, and Philthy Animal Taylor (amongst others) regale with entertaining stories galore, and “Album Testimonials” where musicians and leading journalists talk about their all-time favorite Metal albums where Led Zeppelin unsurprisingly came out high in the popularity stakes. The less than essential documentary on spoof Hair Metal band Metal Skool, however, is best watched once and skipped over in future viewings.

As with a project such as this, there will always be omissions of someone’s favorite band, but this has to be expected in a set spanning four hours. However, the end result is an enjoyable romp through the delights of Heavy Metal, providing a teasing overview for the newcomer and a fascinating journey through the many highlights of the genre for the more seasoned Metalhead.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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