Heavy metal might be regarded as the High School Shop Class of rock & roll -- there's a lot going on there, but most folks don't credit the participants with being either very smart or terribly ambitious. Not everyone feels that way, though, and filmmaker, anthropologist, and heavy metal enthusiast Sam Dunn offers an insider's look at the music and subculture of metal with this documentary, created in collaboration with filmmakers Scot McFadyen and Jessica Joy Wise. Metal: A Headbanger's Journey examines the history of hard rock's extreme wing, offers a look at the various subsections within the heavy metal pantheon (from innocuous hair metal bands such as Poison and Warrant to the homicidal lunatic fringe of Norwegian black metal); examines the sociology of metal in terms of class, race, gender and economics; celebrates the music with a nod toward its underestimated intelligence as well as its physical power; and allows members of such landmark bands as Black Sabbath, Slayer, Motörhead, Iron Maiden, White Zombie to speak for themselves about their work. Metal: A Headbanger's Journey received a fist-pumpingly enthusiastic reception for its premiere screenings at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival.
~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide