Iron Maiden & The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal DVD (2008, Sexy Intellectual Productions)
(Region 0, NTSC, Total Running Time = 157 minutes)
When I was a kid in the early ’80s and I started getting serious about Heavy Metal, many of the bands that I started listening to were from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Samson and Girlschool were all playing on my stereo and their pictures were hanging on my walls alongside KISS, Judas Priest and AC/DC. As I got older, I discovered a lot of other new bands from the NWOBHM and older Metal bands that benefited from the movement. Judas Priest, AC/DC, Motorhead and even Black Sabbath saw a resurgence at the beginning of the ’80s due to the NWOBHM explosion.
For those not familiar with the NWOBHM here’s a quick simple explanation:
By the late ’70s, big time Arena Rock acts like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, KISS, and Aerosmith were viewed as dinosaurs of the music world and the newest musical fads were Disco and Punk. In the U.K., the Punk movement was a phenomenon and the do-it-yourself rebellious attitude influenced an entire movement of kids forming bands and trying to do something different. Taking a cue from the “dinosaur” bands, these new musicians actually learned to play their instruments well, something many Punks didn’t bother with, and set out to “make it”. The music was loud, raw and heavy and took influences from all styles of music. The biggest bands to come out of the NWOBHM were Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon but there were literally hundreds of bands popping up all over England almost overnight and the new Metal movement made it’s mark.
What this DVD tries to accomplish is to chronicle the history of the NWOBHM from interviews with some of the movement’s players and Rock journalists of the time. There are interviews with Paul Di’anno and Dennis Stratton (Iron Maiden), Brian Tatler (Diamond Head), Thunderstick (Samson), Rob Weir (Tygers Of Pan Tang), Tino & Chris Troy (Praying Mantis) and Girlschool. These are band members that lived the experience and they shed a personal light on what it was like starting out and continuing on with their careers. Other interviews come from journalists Geoff Barton, Malcolm Dome, Jerry Ewing and Joel McIver who all had a first had account of the Metal climate of the time and they add critical review to different aspects and bands of the movement. Of course a retrospective DVD on the NWOBHM would not be complete without the insight of Neil Kay, the Heavy metal DJ who formed the Soundhouse club and who almost single-handedly spearheaded the NWOBHM with his love of well-played Rock. If it wasn’t for Neil Kay, would bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon be playing to millions to this day?
This DVD packs in a ton of rare footage from newsreels, concerts and studio sessions to give an inside historical look at the beginnings of the new Metal genre. There are plenty of interviews and commentaries as well as a bonus section that includes some extended interviews, the NWOBHM and BBC Radio 1, and a interactive challenge game. Like I said, I’m a big fan of the NWOBHM so anything that gives a historical perspective is at the top of my list, the only complaint I have is that there wasn’t much said about some of the lesser known, and less successful, bands of the genre. I would have liked to hear a little more on Rock Goddess, Tokyo Blade, Angel Witch, Jaguar, and many of the rest but there’s only so much time to a DVD! Honestly, you could make a multiple DVD set, or an entire series, exploring the numerous NWOBHM bands but it would get out of focus. This DVD focuses on the more well-known bands, the most successful bands, and moves on from there. No matter what, it’s one of the best DVDs I’ve seen in a long time.
Just a quick word to the wise here: you may have noticed that the DVD title uses Iron Maiden? If you’re looking for footage of the current lineup of Iron Maiden, or a lot of Maiden footage, then I would go out and buy a Maiden DVD. There is a good size portion of the DVD dedicated to the rise of Iron Maiden, they were the biggest and most successful band of the NWOBHM, but the current lineup of Maiden, their management and their label have not authorized this DVD. There is some audio and video of early Maiden but the official stuff is under the cpyright control of the band. It’s still an awesome DVD!
If you’re a fan of the NWOBHM, then you should run right out and buy this! If you’re a Metal fan and enjoy learning about the history of Metal, then this is an absolute must! What really makes this DVD is the genuine love of the NWOBHM music that everyone involved with it has. These band members and journalists were right in the thick of the movement when things were new and ideas were fresh and their enthusiasm in talking about it all makes it genuine. For me, this DVD was a great companion piece to The NWOBHM Encyclopedia (by Malc MacMillan) reference book. I’ve had that book since it was published in 2001 and it has been an invaluable resource in my quest for picking up NWOBHM albums, I recommend finding that too!
For more info on the NWOBHM, check out these websites:
The Old School Metal Show
Encyclopedia Metallum: The Metal Archives