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Kelly-Husain, Sara (Director)
25 Years:Louder Than Hell (DVD)
January 2016
Released: 2015, UDR
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

A couple of months ago I reviewed the documentary film, WACKEND 3D and assigned it a mediocre review. My main complaint was that it lacked substance. The second and more recent documentary about the world’s largest Metal festival is far superior.

LOUDER THAN HELL came out in the summer of 2015 and was a 25th Anniversary celebration of the infamous fest. THE DVD itself is decent, it comes with a 14 page black and white insert with an essay, full song credits and other production credits and some photos. The film itself is quite long running a generous two and a half hours. There are no bonus features but the English sub-titles were very helpful as many of the interviews were in German. There was minor problem with the sub-titles. When a new German speaker was introduced on screen, the English sub-titles obscure the name of the person being interviewed. You had to scroll back to see who was speaking. The production is top-notch, clear picture and great sound.

The movie is divided into three parts the first decade, (1990-1999) the second decade (2000-2009) and the more recent era. I found the first part the most interesting the history of the festival how it started essentially as some local Metal kids wanted a place to play. There wasn’t anyplace to play so they built one. It was that simple. After a few minor setbacks soon they were booking international acts and it grew and grew into the phenomena that it is today. There were many interviews and footage and still shots from the early days. The filmmakers interviewed lots of people from the village of Wacken itself, the bartender, the mayor and the locals farmers and cab drivers, many of who at first were suspicious of the weird metal kids out in the field but have grown to love the festival.

Naturally there was tons of footage and interviews of many, many bands from over the years, big and small but to me those interviews were almost secondary as they all say the same thing; namely how great Wacken is. I found some of the footage and interviews focused on the culture of Wacken were more interesting. They had footage of wrestling, football, the pool, the medieval village, shopping and of course tent city. There were interviews with camera people, security people and the Wacken offices and grounds with lots of good aerial shots. Much of the film was anchored with interviews with the founders of the festival.

Every Metalhead knows that WOA is the Metal mecca and even if you can never make the pilgrimage to Wacken, Germany, LOUDER THAN HELL can take you just a little bit closer.
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