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| 2 October 2014 | Reply

Written & Directed by Nick Calpakdjian
Released independently, August 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar


Metal Down Under DVD cover

Australia is far more widely known for our unique brand of pub rock than for our contribution to the world of Heavy Metal, but writer/director Nick Calpakdjian sets out to prove that our metal legacy is indeed strong – and he succeeds in providing a solid overview of that scene.

Firstly, this is a completely independently funded project – no grants, no backing by even the SBS network. The not-inconsiderable cost of the exercise came entirely from Calpakdjian’s pocket, and the pocket of the many metalheads who pledged for the DVD through a couple of crowd funding programs.

Accordingly, Metal Down Under doesn’t have a plethora of big name stars appearing, nor a Morgan Freeman (or even Tom Araya) narrating. The story is told purely by the many interviews with band members, scenesters, and those involved in the business side of music, and by the use of many snippets of old video tapes which were unearthed during the making of the program.

Divided into three ‘episodes’ of roughly an hour long, Metal Down Under explores the foundation of extreme metal in Australia and its impact on the world at large, focussing on bands like Blood Duster, Dreadnaught, Frankenbok, Mortal Sin, Segression, Psycroptic, Peter Hobbs, Manticore and more.

Perth’s own lamented Allegience and Infected, and more recent acts Psychonaut and Voyager are also featured, as is metal comedian Steve Hughes, DJ Andrew Haug, publicist Chris Maric, the people behind Soundwave Touring and Hot Metal Magazine, and a bunch of others.

There will always be favourites missed out – Perth and Adelaide (and to a lesser extent Brisbane) receive minimal coverage while the focus is firmly on Melbourne first, and Sydney second – but you can hardly criticise a man who has created a labour of love for focussing on what he knew intimately.

In short – Metal Down Under is a great overview of the Australian extreme metal scene, and over its 40-plus interviews even the most die-hard fan is sure to find much of interest. Go and buy a copy at JB Hifi amongst other outlets, and if they sell enough copies, Calpakdjian may just make a follow-up volume to hopefully fill in the blanks!

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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