Anthropologist Sam Dunn is assuredly best known by fans of heavy metal for his genealogical documentaries on the genre that began with “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey”. Likewise, many of the bands that he has covered in his documentaries are undoubtedly best known by the general public through Dunn’s work.
Dunn’s latest series of documentaries was called “Metal Evolution”, which aired on VH1 in late 2011 and into early 2012. Through 11 episodes, it spanned the breadth of the genre from its early influences in blues and rock ‘n’ roll all the way through the thrash metal bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer.
Yet noticeably absent from this 11 part series was an episode on what is often collectively known as ‘extreme metal’: generally, death metal and black metal.
This was not an executive decision; indeed, it was a financial decision, as an episode focusing on extreme metal was deemed too controversial for networks such as VH1 to be willing to air the theoretical “Lost Episode”, as the series’ creators call it.
However, no respectable chronicle of the evolution of heavy metal could be deemed anywhere near complete without discussing death and black metal, the two genres most responsible for the progression of heavy metal as a whole for approximately the past 30 years.
Beginning with Venom’s “Welcome to Hell” in 1981 and continuing on through such innovative bands as Celtic Frost, Bathory, Death, Possessed, Morbid Angel, Mayhem, Burzum, Entombed, and on, the evolution of extreme metal has followed a long and steady trajectory over the past several decades that cannot be ignored.
That is precisely why the producers of Banger Films—the group responsible for the “Metal Evolution” series—has started an IndieGoGo page in order to help fund the production of the lost episode on extreme metal. IndieGoGo is a website that allows individuals or groups with projects that require outside funding to present their work to the public and to explain why it is worth funding.
The website makes it easy and secure for individuals to donate. At the same time, it offers the project managers easy ways to offer perks and incentives for those who do choose to donate. According to the group’s page, the donations—with an ultimate goal of $175,000:
will send Sam on a global journey from San Francisco and Tampa to the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden to investigate the history, myths and intricacies of extreme metal. Sam will unravel the lineage between Extreme Metal’s divergent branches – Death Metal, Grindcore and Black Metal – and meet with the sub-genre’s most influential sonic architects: Possessed’s Jeff Becerra, Celtic Frost’s Tom G. Warrior, Morbid Angel’s Trey Azagtoth, Emperor’s Ihsahn, Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt and dozens more. The result will be an unforgettable portrait of metal’s fastest growing sub-genre.