Metal Evolution-Episode 7: Grunge (DVD)
Released: 2012, Alliance Films
After the indulgences of the glam scene, grunge gave us a holiday from high maintenance uniforms, make up was minimal, hair flat and clothing comfortable...flannelette and tie-dye shirts were cool again as were flared jeans...it was like a heavy metal hippy movement.
But the clothes was the smallest adjustment – we no longer had to pretend everything was great and fun and uplifting. Grunge wasn’t so much the era of antiglam (that was thrash), it was about the mental state - reality and what Dunn was able to capture in interviews for this episode illustrated this accurately.
I remember when the last threads of the glam scene were hanging on for dear life in Sydney and the weekly glam metal scene was growing thinner and thinner. A song was played with a low toned, industrial-like rhythm introduction and voice full of pain sang ‘Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut? Jesus Christ, deny your maker’ and I was introduced to Alice in Chains and the song "Man in a Box" Dunn highlights well in this episode.
Dunn captured a full picture of the grunge scene and although most of it didn’t appeal to me, I agreed with what the episode drew in terms of the influences of metal in bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains, but couldn’t however, see any relation between metal and the bands tagged as the second generation of grunge.
I was surprised by Nickelback’s inclusion in this episode – I like the band and their music but have never dissected it and was even more surprised when it came to light that Dimebag Darrell and Jerry Cantrell had contributed to the band’s recording.
Some of the people interviewed came across as complete douches, but there were also some great quotes. I could especially relate to one made by Ron Burman of RoadRunner about Nickelback shows.
Many true metal followers would have condemned Dunn for exploring grunge’s place in the evolution of metal, but as someone who experienced this transition, I believe SOME grunge bands have a rightful place in the metal evolution.
I never considered Grunge to be a metal genre, and the comments of Kim Thayil and others in this episode only reinforces to me what I believed then: grunge bands were arrogant and self righteous, mistaking themselves for the saviors of music. Lone exception was Alice In Chains, which interestingly enough all the metal guys interviewed thought was the closest grunge band to metal. I concur. Nevertheless, Dunn dives into what is a questionable episode and ultimately gets the answer his initial question: did grunge bands consider themselves metal? A resounding no, and most metal fans do not consider grunge to be metal either. Everybody is happy.
This episode was pretty much a waste of time. I commented more extensively about this episode in the series overview. Dunn tries to draw a parallel between Metal and Grunge but everyone, including all the Grunge guys, say they are not Metal. There was an interesting parallel between the commercialization and downfall of Hair Metal and the commercialization and downfall of Grunge. There were a number of useless parts on Nirvana, Creed and Nickleback which you could quite easily skip. Even Sam finally admits there was much less of a connection to Metal than he expected, which is something most of us knew all along. Most of those bands are dead and gone while the bands they supposedly ‘killed’ (Poison etc) are all still going strong, making albums and touring. I guess King Kobra and Kingdom Come get the last laugh on Nirvana.