|Also known as||Metal Evolution: The Series|
|Created by||Sam Dunn
|Written by||Ralph Chapman
|Directed by||Sam Dunn
|Presented by||Sam Dunn|
|Theme music composer||Steve Harris|
|Opening theme||"The Trooper" by Iron Maiden|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||11|
|Producer(s)||Banger Films, Inc|
|Distributor||Tricon Films & Television|
|Original channel||MuchMore, VH1 Classic|
|Original airing||November 11, 2011|
|Metal Evolution VH1 Official Website|
Metal Evolution is a 2011 documentary series directed by anthropologist and film-maker Sam Dunn and director, producer and music supervisor Scot McFadyen about heavy metal subgenres, with new episodes airing every Friday at 10pm EST on MuchMore and Saturday at 10pm EST on VH1 Classic. Its origins come from Dunn's first documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, which included the acclaimed "Heavy Metal Family Tree."
Metal Evolution is broken down into episodes about a different piece of metal history. The series includes interviews with and about Alice Cooper, Slash, Lemmy, Rob Zombie, members of Megadeth, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Slayer, Judas Priest, Van Halen, Def Leppard, The Stooges, ZZ Top, Soundgarden, Mötley Crüe, Poison, Rage Against the Machine, Alice in Chains, Korn, Slipknot, Lamb of God and more.
The series was created after feedback about Metal: A Headbanger's Journey debuted. "Some people said they wished that film was eight hours long," Dunn said. The "Heavy Metal Family Tree" from the documentary heavily influenced the Metal Evolution series, with the Banger Films, Inc official blog noting that using the 26-subgenre chart as a "road map, host/producer and metalhead turned anthropologist Sam Dunn, crisscrossed the globe exploring the vast history of heavy metal across its 40+ year history and beyond."
|01||"Pre Metal"||November 11, 2011|
|Tracing the origins of metal is a phantasmagoric odyssey that traverses cities and countries, oceans and continents. For Sam Dunn, stop #1 on this heavy metal pilgrimage is the birthplace of Metal's indisputable progenitor: rock 'n' roll.|
|02||"Early Metal Part 1: US Division"||November 19, 2011|
|Metal morning in America begins with the clank of cars and guitars and the burning of draft cards, Detroit Rock City being home to the likes of Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, The Frost, Iggy & The Stooges and the explosive MC5.|
|03||"Early Metal Part 2: UK Division"||December 3, 2011|
|The UK wasn't about to cede rock & roll dominance to America continuing with the success of bands that had captivated the U.S. ever since the insanity of The Beatles and the subsequent British Invasion. This documents how early blues-influenced British bands cranked up the amps and used distorted guitars to give the first pre-metal sounds from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and of course Black Sabbath who most consider the first ever heavy metal band and are recognized for laying the blueprints of what became an entire genre of music. Although these bands didn't identify themselves with the label of heavy metal, that title was later embraced and given a distinct look and sound by Judas Priest.|
|04||"New Wave of British Heavy Metal"||December 10, 2011|
|After the early metal bands Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Judas Priest had become household names for headbangers, the next major music scene in the UK to emerge was punk in the mid 1970’s. This was nothing metal fans wanted to associate with, yet there was still a small but faithful following of the underground metal scene. The movement began to grow and was spearheaded by the likes of Motörhead, Diamond Head and gained even more momentum when Iron Maiden began packing local clubs and later went on to sell millions of albums. The media and record labels could no longer ignore these bands and this became a major force in music that had to be reckoned with and was dubbed as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Other notable acts which were part of this included Saxon, Tygers of Pan Tang, Angel Witch, Raven and Praying Mantis. The candle of NWOBHM began to flicker with the emergence of the glam band scene in the US although Def Leppard thrived in this environment as they had diverged into a more mainstream radio-friendly sound. However, it had a major effect on another movement in heavy metal music that was developing across the sea: Thrash.|
|05||"Glam"||December 17, 2011|
|Purveyors of glam such as Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil and Michael Anthony of Van Halen, will divulge their side of the story, revealing the attitudes, influences and decisions which guided them during those heady days of rampant excess on L.A.’s storied Sunset Strip. Contemporary musicians like Scott Ian from Anthrax and Slash from Guns N’ Roses will discuss the reasons behind the vilification of glam—the notion that glam reduced Metal to caricature, drawing on a shallow combination of pop cliché and sophomoric sexual pandering for its inspiration.|
|06||"Thrash"||December 31, 2011|
|How could metal go so horribly wrong? These were the bitter thoughts of scruffy outsiders Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine, Gary Holt and Scott Ian, cursing as the glorious clang of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal echoed across America, only to die in LA. Ratt, Dokken, Quiet Riot – where was the power? Where was the fire in the belly? From this crucible of embarrassment, a virulent strain of metal called thrash was born, the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax wreaking vengeance on hook and melody through a rhythmic discipline of chugging palm-muted guitar riffs and screaming solos executed at breakneck tempos topped by harshly barked vocals laying bare the horrors of nuclear holocaust, drug use, war, and other forms of death. Later in this episode, it is revealed that thrash metal had a major influence on first, the Swedish death metal movement, and later, the creation of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.|
|07||"Grunge"||January 7, 2012|
|On April 5, 1994, Kurt Cobain pressed a shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger extinguishing the life of one of rock’s most enigmatic but tortured geniuses and symbolically ending the storybook reign of grunge. In Episode 7 of Metal Evolution, Sam explores grunge, a.k.a. the Seattle Sound, from a decidedly fresher approach, inspiring two fundamental questions: “Why did grunge polarize the Metal community?” and “What are the true roots of grunge?" The Melvins, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam are featured in this episode, as well as post-grunge bands Creed and Nickelback.|
|08||"Nu Metal"||January 14, 2012|
|If hair metal was the antithesis of heavy metal purists in the eighties, that was delegated to nu metal in the late nineties. Likewise, if the keyboard was an instrument that such purists felt had no place in a heavy metal band, that disdain was now held by the incorporation of the turntable. Early influences came from bands such as Anthrax and their 1991 collaboration with Public Enemy, Fatih No More, even thrashers such as Pantera whose riff-driven hooks were described as "groove metal", and Sepultura with their 1996 album Roots are given credit. This spawned the rise of a new genre of music influenced by two seemingly opposing forces: Hip Hop and Hard Rock. Nu Metal broke ground and gave way to bands like Korn, Deftones, Rage Against The Machine, and Limp Bizkit. At the height of its popularity the show documents the unfortunate events that conspired in Woodstock in 1999 which included performances by Korn, Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit leading to Nu Metal's decline soon thereafter. Yet the mantle has still been carried on by acts such as Linkin Park and Disturbed, among others.|
|09||"Shock Rock"||January 21, 2012|
|Unlike any other genre profiled on the show, Shock Rock is defined by its visuals and public image, not by its sound. The genre has roots in Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Arthur Brown. This episode focuses on metal's impact in pushing the envelope when it came to disturbing and horrific imagery and its place as Public Enemy #1 to conservative America. From its first major figure in Alice Cooper in the 1970s, to early black metal pioneers Venom and Mercyful Fate (featuring the vocal histrionics of lead singer King Diamond) in the 1980s, to Marilyn Manson, who was made a scapegoat for the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. Slipknot and Rammstein are also featured.|
|10||"Power Metal"||January 28, 2012|
|Completely alien to the genre, Sam Dunn sets off to find out what it's all about, and why it's so unfamiliar to him. Tracing its roots back to Europe, he analyzes the differences between traditional heavy metal and power metal, and identifies power metal's ties to European classical music and the way in which power metal flourishes with metal festivals such as Germany's Wacken Open Air and Slovenia's Metal Camp. Notable interviews include Yngwie Malmsteen, members of Blind Guardian, HammerFall, Helloween, Rhapsody, Kamelot, DragonForce and the band that took Power Metal to number one on the European charts: Finland's Nightwish (Tuomas Holopainen and former vocalist Tarja Turunen).|
|11||"Progressive Metal"||February 4, 2012|
|The series finale of Metal Evolution features the subgenre progressive metal. Metal was influenced by progressive rock, which used textured sounds and intricate arrangements while incorporating the rock element in its own distinctive way. Modern prog rock most often cites the influences of the percussive guitar-playing of Steve Hackett of Genesis, and the instrumentals of Yes. Meanwhile, King Crimson added much to the development of the genre. Prog rock came to the forefront with the Canadian band Rush which is profiled in one-on-one interviews with the band's 3 members, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart while on tour in Cleveland, Ohio. The nineties introduced the groundbreaking, innovative sounds of the seminal band Tool who, being the elusive group they are, declined interviews and did not permit broadcast of their music for the documentary. Interviews with members of Queensrÿche, Dream Theater, Mastodon, Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan were also present.|
Heavy Metal Family Tree
For Metal Evolution, Sam Dunn presented a new, updated version of his "Heavy Metal Family Tree," a 26-sub genre chart that mapped out metal's various subgenres that have spawned over the course of its 40-year history. This new, more elaborate version included a "Pre-Metal" field that listed non-metal musicians that had an influence on heavy metal. It also listed additional bands as examples of the various styles of metal. Some (but not all) of the sub genres were shown over the course of the series. Here are some examples of the various metal genres and bands that were shown, whether it be prominently or briefly, on Sam Dunn's newly updated metal family tree.
- Pre-history of metal
- Early Metal US
- Early Metal UK
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- Banger Films Official Website
- Metal Evolution VH1 Official Website
- Metal Evolution at the Internet Movie Database