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Metal Evolution-Episode 4: New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (DVD)
Released: 2012, Alliance Films
This was another educational episode for me, and an era where my heavy metal journey took a different route completely.
As a The Damned fan, I loved the early part of the episode dissecting punk and with an interview with Rat Scabies. Rat's quote that punk bands just couldn't play as well as metal musicians made me laugh. Having worked with The Damned in the 80s, I loved that Dunn was able to capture Rat's try wit and sense of humour.
Biff Byford's and Steve Harris's contrasting comments towards punk's influence in NWOBHM were amusing.
I had no idea that Def Leppard was part of this era, only hearing of them further along the evolutionary timeline.
A pleasant surprise was The Vapours 'Turning Japanese' footage used during this episode was from Australia's very own Countdown - the weekly music show I would watch religiously every Sunday evening.
This episode probably helped me understand my detour from The Sweet into British new romantic and nuwave, then gothic music during the NWOBHM era.
A landmark movement in metal history is given the expected treatment, with Iron Maiden rightfully getting a large part of the coverage. However, Maiden has meticulously covered its own history in the many DVDs the band has released, so for Maiden fans there are no new revelations here. There is some coverage of Saxon as well. While it is accepted that punk had an influence on NWOBHM bands, Dunn spends too much time here dealing with the interrelationships between the punk and metal scenes in late 70s London. This is a worthwhile episode, but very by the books and lacking in any new revelations about the movement.
This episode features the NWOBHM an era from roughly 1978-1983 where hundreds of independent Metal bands in the UK appeared and started making music. It was nice to see Def Leppard in the episode and I was interested to see Joe Elliot distance himself from the NWOBHM. Another good point was the effect of MTV and US Glam on the NWOBHM and how some bands (Raven, Def Leppard, Ozzy and Saxon) had some element of compromise to that trend and some bands (Iron Maiden, Venom and Motorhead) did not compromise. There was some good discussion about the punk v. Metal debate as well. My favourite moment is Steve Harris steadfast refusal to credit punk music with any legitimacy or influence, a stance that speaks to his admirable and enduring credibility as a true Metal musician.
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