It’s funny to hear a lot of journalists talk about the Australian heavy metal. Take a listen to their interviews and read their articles and it almost sounds like there is no history to Australian metal, that the current crop of bands like King Parrot just evolved out of nowhere and are now taking the world by storm. Now there is a new DVD documentary series out there that totally changes that misconception and gives a true account to the history of the Australian heavy metal scene and industry.
Put together by filmmaker Nick Calpakdjian Metal Down Under is perhaps the most thorough look at Australian heavy metal that you are ever likely to see. So many of these kinds of music documentaries just skim the surface and feature interviews with the main players, but Calpakdjian goes a lot further that. So far in fact that Metal Down Under is pretty much three documentaries in one with some extras thrown in for good measure.
The amount of research that has gone into Metal Down Under is phenomenal. As a filmmaker Calpakdjian could have just rested on his laurels and used interviews with the likes of Peter Hobbs of Melbourne thrash legends Hobbs Angel of Death, ex-Triple J presenter and host of Andrewhaug.com online radio Andrew Haug and Azza and Dan from Frankenbok to have been the focus and the hard sell for the doco, but instead he goes a lot further than that and digs up the fascinating stories of people such the editor of Hot Metal Magazine Robyn Doreian, Greta Tate who most Melbourne heavy metal fans would remember from Central Station and Mortification’s Steve Rowe whose story will be an inspiration to anybody that watches.
The biggest danger with so many interviews included in Metal Down Under was that the doco could have become bogged down with talking-heads. That certainly isn’t the case though, as they are well intercut with some fantastic archival footage and photos that explore everything from live performances at Big Day Out and Metal For Melbourne right through to the lucky Aussie bands that got to open for Metallica on their first tour of Australia. Then there are the more comical sections such as John Safran bringing over a psychic who surprisingly found out that Andrew Haug was haunted by one of his own radio idols.
It’s a cliché, but anyone who is a fan of Australian heavy metal really needs to check out Metal Down Under. It’s not just flat out entertaining, but also a walk through history to show us all how we got to where we are today. Just be warned this doco can also make middle aged metal fans like myself begin to feel like an old fogey.
Metal Down Under will be released on 22 August 2014 and you can pre-order yourself a copy of it for $29.95 by clicking.