March Of The Gods: Botswana Metalheads

March Of The Gods - Botswana Metalheads Cover

March Of The Gods: Botswana Metalheads
Directed: Raffaele Mosca
Review by Chris Galea

Having grown up on a tiny and relatively isolated island but whose Metal scene endures, I can’t say that I find the propensity of this music genre to propagate far and wide to be a surprising quality. And yet I found “March of the Gods” to be deeply intriguing.

This documentary chronicles the history of Wrust, a Death/Groove Metal band from Botswana, but in doing so it also gives us an insight into the Metal scene of this country…the bands and sub-genres that tend to be popular there and the attitudes of Metal fans. For yes, there is a Metal scene in this African country. But it’s quite a particular one.

Wrust was formed in 2000 in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana…close to the border with South Africa. Influences cited by the band members range from the old school British scene to Death Metal bands such as Varathron, Cannibal Corpse and Rotting Christ. Into all these influences, Wrust seem to infuse the musical roots of their own country.

The ambitions, accomplishments and longevity of Wrust seem to have made them a point of reference of Botswana’s Metal scene. But to achieve that level of regard, Wrust have had to overcome numerous difficulties along the way – difficulties such as apathy and prohibitive financial costs. We discover that the band has often had to travel hundreds of kilometres to play for a handful of fans and for zero remuneration….but they still put 100% effort into those performances. I’m sure that many European and North American bands can relate to that level of dedication.

March Of The Gods Pic1

Similar feelings of déjà vu are likely to be sensed when we learn about the prejudices that Botswanan Metal fans are forced to refute: you know what I’m talking about…Satanism, metal fans as ‘troublemaker’ stereotypes and so on.

The documentary goes on to illustrate how invaluable the direct assistance of established bands is. For example, although many European and North American bands tend to neglect the area in their touring schedule, when Swedish band Entombed played there and offered genuine encouragement, fans and local bands seemed revitalised and their ambitions galvanized.

“March of the Gods” examines how the Metal scene of Botswana has developed in terms of crowd behaviour. Female Botswanan Metalheads share their own experiences too. The documentary also highlights the changes that the internet has brought about with regards to promoting gigs and promoting the bands themselves. In this respect, Wrust seem to have been on the forefront in embracing technology and social media to catalyse the band’s growth. Through my experience, such an entrepreneurial spirit tends to be what differentiates successful bands from the rest.

I get the impression that the link with South Africa is an important one, not only for Botswana but also for other African countries. The Metal scene of South Africa seems to be more vibrant but other surrounding countries seem eager to partake in that. Wrust even recorded their debut album “Soulless Machine” there before releasing it in 2007.

The documentary also goes into the image and attire of Metal fans in Botswana…something that European fans might find odd. Besides band shirts and denim and leather, Botswanan fans seem to have assimilated a ‘cowboy’ sort of image into all that.

March Of The Gods Pic2

I have to say that some scenes just don’t add anything of value to the documentary. For example, I got the feeling that some interviews could have been more eloquent and some political speeches came across as cringeworthy and have nothing at all to do with Metal. In fact, “March of the Gods” does suffer from some poor editing. Despite all this, though, it’s basically the only source of knowledge about the Metal scene of Botswana and therefore its charm remains immutable.

At the beginning of the interview, a music journalist speaks about his discovering Wrust and confesses that he realised Metal “transcends race and geography”…”it’s like a universal language”. And that’s probably the strongest message that can be derived from “March of the Gods”.

Postscript: What has happened since the documentary’s release?

Wrust haven’t released anything new since sophomore album “Intellectual Metamorphosis” in 2013. The band is still together though.

Amok, another band mentioned in “March of the Gods”, seem to have gone quiet in recent years.

Other bands from Botswana have made tentative steps into the international spotlight. For example, in 2016 Overthrust – a Death Metal band from Ghanzi (a town to the West of Botswana) – toured Europe and played Wacken Open Air festival.

Official Trailer

IMDB Entry


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Cannibal Corpse – Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years

Centuries Of Torment - The First 20 Years Cover

Cannibal Corpse
Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years
Directed: Nic Izzi, Denise Korycki, David Stuart
Produced & Released by: Metal Blade Records
Review by Chris Galea

If anything, new album “Violence Unimagined” (2021) proves that Cannibal Corpse are as relevant as ever. But who really are Cannibal Corpse? And how did it all come to this?

“Centuries of Torment” provides the answers to those questions and more. It’s a documentary released in 2008 that dissects the Death Metal pioneers, warts, guts and all. (There’s nothing like a few good puns to open a review!) Basically, it’s a DVD package spread over 3 discs:

The first disc is a documentary about the history of the band and the bulk of this review will in fact focus on that disc.

“Centuries of Torment: Performances” is the second disc and contains lots of live footage – mostly with George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher on vocals but there’s also material from the Chris Barnes era – as well as the band’s promotional videos. All very intense stuff.

Finally, the third disc – “Centuries of Torment: Bonus Chunks” – is an extension of the first but goes into greater depth on issues indirectly related to the band and follows no specific chronology. It covers issues such as general attitudes on censorship, bands that the members of Cannibal Corpse dig, and a hilarious segment on the sanitary limitations of touring bands.

Cannibal Corpse Circa 1990v
Cannibal Corpse circa 1990

But now onto the first disc…

At over 3 hours duration, “Cannibal Corpse: History” is one of the most exhaustive band documentaries I’ve ever seen. It chronicles the first 20 years of the band’s existence from every perspective imaginable.

It starts by delving into the band’s formation…when none of the founding members had any idea how to play their instrument…and then traces Cannibal Corpse’s post-natal steps. We are taken to the very place where they did their first gig, opening for Dark Angel (which then had Gene Hoglan on drums…incidentally Hoglan contributes quite a lot to this documentary). Cannibal Corpse drummer and founding member Paul Mazurkiewicz also takes us to see the band’s old rehearsal studio where the band wrote most of their early material and where they started to develop their sound.

The success of Cannibal Corpse put Buffalo (U.S.A.) on the Metal map, something which the city’s Metal fans were proud of and consequentially rallied behind the band. This sense of camaraderie was bolstered after the band opened gigs for the likes of Kreator and Death early in their career and always leaving a very positive impression. As a friend of the band put it, Cannibal Corpse “opened the floodgates for the bands of Buffalo”. Before long, demand for the band enabled its members to  dedicate themselves to the band on a full-time basis.

So immediate was the band’s impact, in fact, that Metal Blade Records signed Cannibal Corpse less than a year after the band had been together, making then the label’s first Death Metal signing.

Cannibal Corpse – First Live Show (1989)

“Centuries of Torment: History” documents the band’s story via interviews interspersed with rare footage, vintage photography, and snippets of live shows. And it’s really everyone who enthusiastically contributes via personal reminiscences and points of view. This includes band members, family members, fans, school friends, neighbours, touring crew, record label executives and band peers such as Sean Reinert, Paul Masvidal, Eric Rutan, Malevolent Creation (also from Buffalo…Death Metal buddies of Cannibal Corpse), Anthrax, Jeff Loomis, Obituary, The Black Dahlia Murder, Kataklysm, Monstrosity, Immolation and many many others.

Amongst other things, there’s a very interesting analysis of the artworks of Vince Locke that adorn the band’s albums, including an interview with Locke himself. It becomes clear that gore was always part of the band’s imagery…probably even before the music itself coalesced. Furthermore, the band does not shy away from addressing the controversies that arose from its imagery and lyrics. After all, controversies have only served to help spur the band’s career further.

Butchered At Birth Album Cover
“Butchered At Birth” – Debut Album Cover

The documentary also analyses each album released by the band up until “Kill” from 2006. With each one, the band members reveal the circumstances that led to its release, its recording and fan reactions while clarifying any related polemics. Musicians from other bands explain the impact that a particular album has had on them.

But before they go into all that, the members of Cannibal Corpse describe their magical journey from the East to the West coast of the U.S.A. to record the band’s debut album at the famed Morrisound studios with Scott Burns, the legendary sound engineer who has produced many classic Death Metal albums such as “Piece of Time” by Atheist, “Spiritual Healing” by Death, “Cause of Death” by Obituary and “Slaughter in the Vatican” by Exhorder. Burns’ wider role in shaping the entire Death Metal subgenre is discussed via interviews with Burns himself and with various bands (including of course Cannibal Corpse). It’s all very fascinating stuff.

“Centuries of Torment” also points the spotlight on the band-members that for some reason or another do not form part of the band any more. Ex-members reminisce on the good times they’ve had with the band but also on the conflict that led to their departure from Cannibal Corpse. This includes, of course, ex-vocalist Chris Barnes, who tells us: ”I’m feeling good where I am [Six Feet Under]. But I like where I came from.” These interviews are quite objective – case in point is when we are told what really happened with the acrimonious firing of founding member guitarist Bob Rusay. Cannibal Corpse drummer/founding member Paul Mazurkiewicz is careful not to place blame for that on just one person. All this enhances the quality of the documentary’s interviews.

Some of the band’s most significant tours are discussed, such as the first European tour in support of the “Butchered at Birth” album. Rarely discussed topics in relation to touring are here openly contemplated, such as the toll that decades of touring have on the physical well-being of Death Metal musicians.

As one might expect, there’s no shortage of trivia and amusing recollections, such as the band’s appearance in Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura film of 1994. Another one is when band vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher reminisces on the time the band chilled out at the home of Cher who even cooked for them. All the while, the band members’ jocular personalities ensure the documentary never feels dragging. The irony that Corpsegrinder is fishing while answering several interview questions did not escape me.

‘Devoured By Vermin’ Official Video from the 1996 album “Vile”.

Beside the band being a benchmark of the Death Metal genre, each member of Cannibal Corpse has become a point of reference with regards his instrument of trade. The documentary delves into these traits in context of the Metal scene. For example, there’s a discussion on whether Cannibal Corpse were the progenitors of Death Metal ‘growls’. The styles and approaches of each guitarist are examined, especially for the way they affected the musical direction of the band. Bassist Alex Webster tries to describe his own style of playing but Donald Tardy (Obituary drummer) simply describes him as “a bass player’s bass player” while Eric Rutan regards Webster as the “Steve Harris of Death Metal”.

A crucial element of Cannibal Corpse’s music is of course the drumming of Paul Mazurkiewicz, who highlights some of the techniques he was forced to adopt in order to push the boundaries of the band’s music. Some of those very techniques are today widely adopted by many Death Metal drummers.

Of all Death Metal bands in existence, Cannibal Corpse have one of the most loyal fanbases…as one interviewee says in “Centuries of Torment”, “they make lifers out of their fans”. It transpires that this is partly due to the quality of the music and to the band’s eagerness to evolve. But the band members’ willingness to interact with fans endears them to the same fans and fans the flames of devotion.

Highly regarded guitarist Eric Rutan (Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, Ripping Corpse) talks about his friendship with the guys of Cannibal Corpse. In the documentary he tells us how his reputation as a producer blossomed after he produced Cannibal Corpse’s “Kill” album of 2006. According to him, a key ingredient of the band’s success was its keenness and ability to always re-invent itself. Unsurprisingly, when I started writing this review it was announced that Eric had joined Cannibal Corpse as their lead guitarist after Pat O’Brien had a run-in with the law.

As I suggested earlier, “Centuries of Torment: History” is impressively exhaustive, especially when taking into consideration the two accompanying discs. And this is definitely its main selling point. Together, the 3 discs are over 7 hours long in total. So, for fans who want to get to know the band better or even anyone simply interested in a great success story…the documentary provides hours of compelling viewing. It could have been better edited but that’s only a minor snag. And keep an eye open for the hilarious bloopers toward the very end.

“Centuries of Torment” was released in 2008 to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s existence so there are…at the time of writing this…five albums and over a decade of events that aren’t covered. When the “Centuries of Torment” DVD package was released, the band had sold a total of one million albums. Since the documentary’s release they have sold more than two million. Clearly the band’s appeal shows no sign of abating. It would make sense, therefore, to have a second documentary chronicling the last 15 years or so. The blood still flows…

Centuries Of Torment – The First 20 Years Trailer


Cannibal Corpse 2021
Cannibal Corpse 2021

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage

Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage
Directed And Co-Written: Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen
Produced by: Banger Films
Review by Chris Galea

“I always like to consider us the world’s most popular cult band.”

(Geddy Lee in “Beyond The Lighted Stage.)

Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen have produced a string of documentaries related to Heavy Metal, such as “Global Metal” and “Iron Maiden: Flight 666”. The two are Canadian so it was no surprise that at one point they would make a feature on one of the biggest bands to emerge from Canada: Rush. The duo’s knowledge, passion and dedication for the band helps make “Beyond The Lighted Stage” an engrossing account of the history of this longstanding power trio.

The documentary starts by looking at the band’s roots in Toronto and Ontario. Geddy Lee (bass/keyboards/lead vocals) and Alex Lifeson (guitars) visit the school basement where they first performed live together and where they formed a friendship that would last a lifetime. At the same time, we get to hear audio clips of some very early recordings of Geddy and Alex, which I thought was all quite fascinating.

Both their mothers reminisce on their sons’ first steps into learning their respective crafts. They admit being befuddled as to why young Geddy and Alex were giving music so much attention but ultimately both were quite supportive of their sons’ endeavours. We learn from the documentary that both their families came from harsh background. For example, Geddy’s parents were WW2 holocaust survivors….perhaps that was partly why the band endeared itself to Kiss’ Gene Simmons (Gene’s own mother was a concentration camp survivor).

“Beyond The Lighted Stage” provides quite a comprehensive insight into the band. Amongst other things it discusses the tenure and dismissal of Rush’s first drummer, John Rutsey. Then it focuses on each band member individually in an attempt to learn more about their personalities, motivations and salient memories. The documentary then moves the spotlight onto Neil Peart who, on being recruited as Rutsey’s replacement, had just 2 weeks to learn Rush’s existing repertoire before that line-up’s first gig: in front of 11000 people supporting Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann. Of course, since then, Peart has become a benchmark for aspiring drummers around the world as well as a highly respected lyricist.

The documentary shares lots of amusing stories about life on the road with Rush. Of course it also sheds light on the band’s repertoire, such as “2112”, the crucial album that cemented Rush’s credibility with music industry boffins as well as asserting the band members’ reputation as musicians in the eyes of die-hard fans.

Meanwhile the band is forthright enough to acknowledge that fans don’t always react positively to their albums but this to be expected because Rush never repeated themselves, musically speaking. In fact, as one journalist puts it: “Nobody could really put a finger on what they were.” Curiously that same journalist – who used to host a 1-hour Heavy Metal radio show back in the early 1980’s – is today chief White House Correspondent for Fox News.

Numerous personalities and well-known musicians offer their take on the band and its music….fans, journalists, Rush’s manager, Mick Box, Mike Portnoy, Trent Reznor, Gene Simmons, Sebastian Bach and Billy Corgan amongst many others. Extensive trivia…whether sad, funny or tragic…is balanced with lots of live music and a good deal of insight.

Along with triumphant moments, “Beyond The Lighted Stage” also covers some dark periods in Rush’s history, chief of which was when Neil Peart lost two members of his family in a short space of time. The way the trio handled that situation contextualises the endurance of the band’s line-up. On his subject Les Claypool, Primus bassist, says, “It’s spectacular to see 3 guys tolerate each other for all these years and still make good music.”

While providing convincing arguments on the influence of Rush on contemporary music, “Beyond the Lighted Stage” is primarily about the three down to earth and open-minded musicians that lay behind the music. Neil Peart confesses that Rush was never so arrogant that the guys wouldn’t allow themselves to be influenced by other musicians and by other music. Indeed, he says: “There was no such thing as ‘that didn’t suit Rush’. Those words have never been uttered.”

Another thing that I observed is that Lee, Lifeson and Peart never expected success to fall into their laps. They all seemed to have an ingrained attitude that ambitions could only be attained through hard work and a steadfast determination. In all honesty I found it very hard to pull myself away from the screen, so intriguing is this documentary. And excellently edited too.

The ending of “Beyond The Lighted Stage” is a very endearing and befitting way to round off the documentary. Since its release, Neil Peart has passed away (in January 2020) and Rush is no more but the band’s legacy endures…a factor which might validate Geddy Lee’s description of Rush as a ‘cult band’.

Watch the trailer here:

The 40th Anniversary Edition of “Permanent Waves” by Rush is available now:


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Super Duper Alice Cooper

Super Duper Alice Cooper
Directed And Written: Sam Dunn, Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen
Produced by: Banger Films
Review by Chris Galea

A film documenting the life, career, trials and tribulations of one of the founding fathers of Rock and Metal is certainly something to look forward to. “Super Duper…” starts by focusing on the upbringing of Vincent Furnier before he adopted the stage name of ‘Alice Cooper’, on his first forays into music, on meeting bassist Dennis Dunaway at school and revealing the origins of the band moniker.

More than half the documentary consists of voices speaking over photos and archive footage both of which are not necessarily directly linked to what is being said. It’s a very strange approach not to mention that it’s also very frustrating that you’re not actually seeing the speaker/s and sometimes it’s not even clear who is speaking.

For many years and seven albums into the band’s existence, Alice Cooper the band and Alice Cooper the frontman were two distinct entities and the film dedicates a hefty focus on the former. It tells about the band being discovered by Frank Zappa, who really got the ball rolling for the band. We get to know about a handful of crucial performances that significantly elevated the band’s status, such as a 1970 festival with John Lennon also on the bill.

Even after those shows, radio stations kept ignoring the band but that all changed when famed producer Bob Ezrin (Kiss, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd) was roped in and Alice Cooper finally had their first hit single: ‘I’m Eighteen’. Since its inception, the band kept honing the theatricality of their live shows and “Super Duper Alice Cooper” makes this patently clear. Speaking of which, the film mentions some truly bizarre anecdotes about their gigs, one involving a chicken (think of it as Alice Cooper’s version of the infamous story concerning Ozzy and a bat). No less bizarre is footage of a live show involving panties…lots of panties.

The documentary then covers the divorce of Alice Cooper the singer from Alice Cooper the band. Around the same time, Alice/Vince suffered a mental breakdown. Upon emerging from that precarious mental state, one of the first things Alice did was collaborate with songwriter Bernie Taupin, famous for writing the lyrics to almost all of Elton John’s songs (incidentally Elton John is said to be a big Alice Cooper fan). The result of the Cooper/Taupin collaboration was for me Alice Cooper’s magnum opus, the album “From The Inside”, released in 1978 and recorded with the help of a large number of session musicians.

We are also told that Alice Cooper had to deal with a crippling cocaine addiction, from which he eventually recovered and returned to the stage in 1986 after an absence of 4 years. And in fact the documentary clocks off somewhere in the mid-1980s.

So, if Alice Cooper meant nothing to you beyond the albums, videos and concerts, “Super Duper Alice Cooper” certainly provides a revealing background about the band and showman. Sadly, though, the documentary is conspicuously lacking in any depth whatsoever. It mentions a number of stepping stones in Alice Cooper’s career but there’s very little insight in terms of how, why, who, when….etc. On the other hand, a lot of important events, albums and musicians are wholly overlooked. So, for example, we have nothing about the “Easy Action” album of 1970. And guitarists Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce, two musicians so crucial to the band, are almost completely ignored.

To that add what I mentioned earlier about invisible persons speaking over photo and video montages and in the end the prevailing feeling I got of this film-doc is one of a missed opportunity.

Interesting? Perhaps. But certainly not super duper.

Watch the trailer here:

Alice Cooper’s new album “Detroit Stories” will be released on February 26th, 2021 via earMUSIC.


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Heavy Metal In Baghdad

Heavy Metal In Baghdad
Directed and Narrated: Suroosh Alvi & Eddy Moretti
Produced by Vice Films
Review by Chris Galea

As this documentary starts rolling, we see the producers being forced to wear bullet-proof vests. Straight away it’s clear that this is not going to be your average music documentary. Sure enough…

“Heavy Metal in Baghdad” is about Acrassicauda, allegedly the only active Metal band from Iraq (then…and probably also now). The documentary uses interviews, commentaries, live performances and other original footage to reveal what it is like to be a Metal band in a war-torn country. Consequentially we are enlightened on much more than the band’s history.

The members of Acrassicauda initially come across as young and naïve but in reality Saddam Hussein’s tyranny and the war that followed his murder seem to have instilled in these Iraqis a sense of maturity far advanced for their age.

One thing that struck me was that in general Heavy Metal tends to use a lot of gory imagery, violent song-lyrics and horror theatrics but for Acrassicauda reality is far worse than all that. There’s a scene when one of the band’s members looks at the artwork of Iron Maiden’s “Death on the Road” CD and remarks that that artwork looks like daily life for him. And yet Heavy Metal gives the band members and their local fans a sense of purpose in life.

Marwan, the band’s drummer, sums up what Metal means to him: “If you can teach every prisoner to play drums…smash drums…they are going to be good citizens.” During that same interview, the band members are sometimes forced to talk louder when sounds of bombing and gunfire outside the building drowns out their voices.

The social climate within which Acrassicauda are immersed is incredibly tough. When the camera shoots (no pun intended) the street of Baghdad, everyone seems to be holding guns. So when the band members receive death threats for plying the ‘devil’s music’, their genuine concern is understandable. Power cuts during a live performance is the least they’d come to expect and you can’t help share their heartbreak when they discover a rocket has hit their rehearsal space and in one stroke destroys their gear which lay inside. Acrassicauda’s guitarist tells the interviewer: “It’s like a nightmare but the problem is that you cannot wake up from it.”

Eventually the band members manage to travel to Syria via Turkey as refugees, and even manage to organise a Metal gig in Damascus, the biblical place where millennia earlier St Paul is alleged to have converted to Christianity. The gig kicked off with a cover of Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’ and, besides some original numbers, also included a cover of Metallica’s ‘Fade To Black’. The positive reaction to that gig seemed to reinvigorate the band.

Another memorable moment is when the chain-smoking band did their very first recording, a demo of 3 original numbers. The narrator makes the interesting observation that while Iraq seemed bent on either destruction or on rebuilding the ruins, Acrassicauda had actually created something from nothing with that first recording. And clearly that made them proud.

The band interviews tend to be frank and honest. In a particular one, a band member even calls the producers mad for showing an interest in the band and for travelling to Baghdad to meet them. In other interviews you can really sense the band members’ implied feelings of desperation and helplessness. It would have been interesting to hear more about their childhood and how they first came across Rock and Metal. On the other hand, the narrator/interviewer keeps the documentary flowing with his commentary and pertinent observations.

The film-doc concludes with a caption stating that the band was forced to return to Iraq from Syria.

Two years after the documentary’s release, the band managed to settle in New York and other parts of U.S.A. They also managed to record a full album in a proper studio, meet Metallica and tour North America. Life still remains a struggle for the guys of Acrassicauda but they have already rebuilt their lives several times so I’m sure they’ll keep overcoming the odds that life throws at them.

“Heavy Metal In Baghdad” is insightful, unique and, in my opinion, represents essential viewing. In particular, any band disheartened by the prospect of a decimated post-coronavirus live-scene should check this out.

Watch the trailer here:


Acrassicauda Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Death – Death By Metal Documentary

Death By Metal
Directed by Felipe Belalcazar
Produced by Mental Pictures
Review by Chris Galea

Consisting almost entirely of interviews, “Death By Metal” is an engrossing documentary that tells the story of Chuck Schuldiner and Death, the band Chuck spearheaded, and which was fundamental in spawning an entire Metal sub-genre…Death Metal.

The interviews gather testimonies and thoughts of persons closely associated with Death…persons such as family members of Chuck, band members, journalists and Death’s band manager. Although the documentary was produced after Chuck’s death, there are even archival interview excerpts with him.

What emerges is that Chick was yes a musical genius but also a flawed one with his own idiosyncrasies such as impulsivity, paranoia and susceptibility to mental exhaustion. In fact, while director Belalcazar’s admiration for Death and Chuck is obvious throughout, “Death by Metal” is more than a eulogy to the USA musician. For example the documentary reveals the extent of Chuck’s tantrums and his inability to pin down a stable line-up. It reminiscences on the numerous European tours, including some crucial ones, that Chuck cut short…and consequently alienated several people.

“Death by Metal” is a treasure-trove of trivia that will delight the most hardened fan but even viewers unfamiliar with the band or the music genre should find it quite interesting. For at the end of the day this is the story of a human being’s pursuit of his dreams and the importance of a loving family in providing an environment conducive to those very dreams. These are factors anyone can relate to. When Chuck’s sister recalls that the day Chuck was told he had a brain tumour was also his birthday, you can’t help feel a tinge of sorrow.

As far as being a musician was concerned, Chuck Schuldiner was the epitome of avant-garde in the sense that his mindset was constantly aiming to be creative besides cultivating musicality and technique. This sometimes conflicted with market demands and is another factor the documentary tackles.

Towards the end Glenn Drover (guitarist who played with bands such as Death, Megadeth, King Diamond and Testament) shares a reflection that’s actually a good summation of Chuck’s raison d’etre. Drover said “[Chuck had…] the balls to do something that he wanted to do and not conform to what everybody else though he should be. That is the testament to a true musician….somebody who follows his own path and not caters to what he thinks other people expect from him.”

“Death by Metal” is about life as much as it is about Death.

Watch the trailer here:


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Death Angel – A Thrashumentary

Death Angel – A Thrashumentary
Directed by Tommy Jones
Nuclear Blast
Review by Chris Galea

As Metal evolved beyond the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) into something rawer and more visceral, several young bands on Los Angeles’ Pacific coast embraced this embryonic sub-genre dubbed ‘Speed Metal’ or ‘Thrash Metal’. Testament, Metallica, Exodus and Forbidden were a few of the emerging crowd-pullers. Death Angel was another…notable for having within its line-up a family of cousins and brothers of Filipino descent. The members of Death Angel were young (their drummer was just 11 years old when the band recorded their seminal debut album) but they were bursting with energy and determination.

“Death Angel – A Thrashumentary” is a documentary chronicling the band’s history via interviews with its members and acquaintances, numerous live excerpts and candid footage. It takes a look into the very beginnings of Death Angel, the band’s first live performance (supporting Megadeth), their first demos (produced by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett) right up to the writing and recordings of their recent albums. And it revisits all the joys, tragedies and notable live shows in between all that.

By 2001 Death Angel had already been laid to rest for about a decade when a benefit show was put together for Chuck Billy (Testament) and Chuck Schuldiner (Death), who had both been struck by cancer. Death Angel were invited to play and the crowd reaction to their performance convinced the band to reunite. Chuck Billy later recalled: “I had to go and get cancer to get Death Angel back together. See how much I love you guys.” Of course, he said that jokingly, but it illustrates the bond and respect that Death Angel enjoyed amongst its peers…something that emerges from this documentary.

“Death Angel – A Thrashumentary” is at once hilarious, sad, intriguing and exciting. The regret of Death Angel’s band members when recounting the departure of previous members highlights their internal bond. But they’re not always so staid…the same guys prove to have a wry sense of humour, such as when their two guitarists ‘complain’ (tongue in cheek, of course) about being harassed by fans.

At over 2 hours’ duration the documentary is quite long. Sometimes it meanders….it becomes a little repetitive. Fans of the music genre and of the band, however, are bound to enjoy it. I know I did. Doubtlessly it provides quite a comprehensive insight into the life of Death Angel.

“…Thrashumentary” ends with Death Angel performing the song ‘Thrown To The Wolves’ in the Philippines and shows the band’s willingness to interact with fans. An appropriate conclusion to this very interesting documentary.

Watch the trailer here:

Death Angel’s latest Acoustic EP “Under Pressure” has just been released digitally via Nuclear Blast!


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Date From Hell – Indie Horror Film

Date From Hell Poster

Date From Hell
Indie Horror Film
Release Date: 2019
Running Time: 11:36
Review by Rick Tilley

Two years ago, Dawn and I teamed up to bring Ever Metal to a wider audience in the hope that we could promote some of the smaller bands, labels and PR companies and get a few more of you to realise that there is a whole world of fantastic Metal & Rock music out there that deserve serious attention. If you had told me back then that I would be sitting at my desk with three independent short horror films to review (all with a metal music connection) I would have laughed at you, but I have!
First up is “Date From Hell” the directorial debut of award winning, Texas Heavy Metal vocalist Ven Scott (Runescarred, ex Dead Earth Politics). Not only am I a fan of both those bands but I’m a Horror/Sci-Fi book & film nutcase and have been for about 40 years.
There has always been a strong link between Metal and Horror/Fantasy/Sci-Fi so to receive these to watch and review is something of an honour and a bit of a no-brainer!
“Date From Hell” runs at just under twelve minutes and has the following synopsis; “Bobby and Susie find themselves on the worst date ever, pursued by a lone drifter with murder on his mind. The drifter is unrelenting, relishing the hunt and claiming his victims.”
My initial thought was “yeah okay, it’s been done a thousand times before” but, almost immediately, two things happened which made me forget my reservations about the plotline. Firstly, it is very apparent, that the two lead actors Ava L’Amoreaux (Susie) and Samuel Brett Howard (Bobby) have great on-screen chemistry and, considering the short running time and low budget of the film, it is also apparent that Ven Scott is extremely assured behind the camera. This all looks and feels a lot more polished and expensive than it should do.
I then found myself smiling, not because it’s funny, but because I was being pulled into the story. There is a definite homage to 80’s horror/slasher movies on the screen and by the three-minute mark I was hooked and sat back in my chair perfectly willing to accept a ‘seen it before plot’ because of the performances and directing.
I started to get the feeling there was going to be a twist and, in that respect, I was correct… BUT when it arrives, bearing in mind I’ve watched thousands of horror and slasher films over the years, it is a refreshing and unexpected one that makes you look at the lead characters in a completely different light! On top of that the make-up, special effects and lighting are very good!
Currently being submitted to Film Festivals in the U.S., Canada and beyond, Scott hopes to make the film available for public viewing late in 2019 and I very much hope that anyone who has a love of horror/slasher films gets a chance to see it because “Date From Hell” is well worth twelve minutes of your time!
Runescarred are currently writing a new album but believe me when I say that Ven Scott certainly has a future career as a film director if he wishes to continue down this path!
Check out the trailer to “Date From Hell” below:

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