7 Essential Metal Documentaries to Stream Right Now Friday July 2 2021, 7:59 AM
7 Essential Metal Documentaries to Stream Right Now

There was a time that when we wanted to see our favorite heavy metal band in concert, we had to wait for them to come to town. Thanks to technology however, we can now stream great shows and heavy metal concerts from the comfort of our own home whenever we feel like it. Here are some of the best heavy metal documentaries available on streaming services that are a must-watch!


“Black Sabbath: Up Close and Personal”


When most think about the beginnings of heavy metal, they usually think of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. The documentary is a mix of live concerts through the years with radio and television interviews with Black Sabbath members Tony Iommi, Glenn Hughes, Geezer Butler and some of their musical peers.


Some call Black Sabbath the Godfather of heavy metal, along with Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Black Sabbath was formed in Birmingham, England, in 1968 and released their first album in 1970. The documentary chronicles how the band inspired heavy metal fans for over 30 years. It also discusses how the band got through drug and alcohol abuse, changing band members, and industry problems they encountered for so many years. "Black Sabbath: Up Close and Personal" is available on Amazon Prime and Vudu.


“Metal: A Headbanger's Journey”


“Metal: A Headbanger's Journey” is an in-depth look at the history of heavy metal. The documentary's producer, Sam Dunn, is a lifelong heavy metal fan and an anthropologist that has studied different cultures. The documentary examines the heavy metal music culture, explaining the popularity of the music and why its fans are ridiculed for their love of this music.


The documentary has numerous interviews with heavy metal artists like Alice Cooper, Vince Neil, Tony Iommi, Tony Morello, James "Munky" Shaffer, and Dee Snider. There is also plenty of music detailing the history of metal, starting with the early metal bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The documentary goes through the evolutions of the genre that include shock rock, punk rock, power metal, new wave, pop-metal and hard metal. "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" can be streamed on Apple iTunes.


“Metal Evolution”


Another Sam Dunn production presents 11 episodes of the evolution of heavy metal. Using his familiar family tree of heavy metal first shown in “A Headbanger’s Journey”, Dunn takes us from early metal through all phases of the musical genre. Season 1 can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video and Apple iTunes with the following episodes:


  • Pre-metal
  • Early Metal: US Division
  • Early Metal: UK Division
  • New Wave of British Heavy Metal
  • Glam
  • Thrash


Season 2 can be streamed on Apple iTunes with the following episodes:


  • Grunge
  • Nu Metal
  • Shock Rock
  • Power Metal
  • Progressive Metal


“Metallica: Through the Never


“Metallica: Through the Never” is a live concert by Metallica that takes place in 2013. It was originally a 3-D film that first came out for IMAX Theaters and there is a theme or a story that takes place throughout the live concert. The story begins with Trip, a roadie who has been sent on an urgent mission to meet a disabled truck and find an item of importance. The mission that Trip is sent on turns into a bizarre adventure.


The story can be confusing to follow, but the live concert is excellent. The film includes 15 songs performed live that include “For Whom the Bell Tolls," “Ride the Lightning," “The Memory Remains," “Wherever I May Roam," “And Justice For All," “Nothing Else Matters," and “Enter Sandman.” "Metallica: Through the Never" can be streamed on Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.


“Anvil! The Story Of Anvil”


Released in 2008, “Anvil! The Story Of Anvil," is a documentary about the Canadian heavy metal band ANVIL. The documentary begins in the 1970s when two Jewish teenagers, Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner, meet at their Toronto high school and start the band ANVIL. During the 1980s, they did gain a loyal following of fans but never made it as big as other heavy metal bands.


Among their fans were Metallica and Guns ‘N’ Roses, who credited ANVIL as their inspiration. Even though they never made it as big as some of their peers, they never gave up. After the success of their 1982 album, “Metal on Metal," things went downhill. The documentary finds the two men as they work day jobs while continuing with the band. “Anvil! The Story Of Anvil” can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.


“The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years”


The Decline of Western Civilization Part I” was filmed between late 1979 and early 1980 and focused on the Los Angeles punk rock scene. Part II focuses on the Heavy Metal scene of the mid to late 1980s, and how the music changed in Los Angeles when glam metal was popular.


Some of those interviewed include Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Lemmy and WASP. Watching both parts is an interesting documentary about how the decade of the 1980s began and ended. The documentary can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Tubi.


“Super Duper Alice Cooper”


Alice Cooper fans will enjoy this 2014 documentary that chronicles the history of what some call the father of shock rock. Alice Cooper and his high school friends started playing together around 1967. They got their first big break in 1969 when they opened for John Lennon at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival.


Shortly after, in 1971, they recorded their first big hit “I’m 18” followed in 1972 with “Schools Out.” The documentary features plenty of interviews along with still photos and vintage video clips. “Super Duper Alice Cooper” can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.


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