Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey

DVD cover for Metal: A Headbanger's Journey

One evening last week I came home from work to discover a package waiting for me on my doorstep. “I don’t remember ordering anything from Amazon,” I said to myself as I ripped open the Jiffy® bag and pulled out a Digital Versatile Disc. It was a film called Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, a documentary by metalhead and social anthropologist Sam Dunn.

FANTASTIC! This is the film that I wanted to see when it was doing the cinematic rounds of the United Kingdom in April. It came to the Cameo in Edinburgh and I would have seen it had it not been for my sheer inability to use a calendar.

“Come on Eddie,” I said to my brother on the telephone, “let’s go see Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey at the Cameo.”

“What time is it on?” he asked me. A fair question, all things considered.

I looked up the Cameo website.

“Erm… last week.”

My move to Fife had got in the way of my REAL METAL™ film watching. How inconvenient! But here was a copy of the DVD in my hands in my hallway in Fife. The mountain had come to Mohammad. Or something.

And I was right: I hadn’t ordered anything from Amazon. This was a gift. I pulled out the postcard that accompanied the film.

Hello matey!

I don’t know if you have this, I don’t know if it’s any good, but I saw it in LA and thought of you.

It was a gift, from a friend: a friend who visits Los Angeles. What kindness!

I bounded (lolluped?) up the stairs and popped it into the DVD player.

Disc Error


It turns out that my DVD player only plays Region 2 (Europe and Neptune) encoded discs. I’d got it for Jane in Inverness before the whole multi-region players thing hit it big. This DVD player cost around £150, rather than the £20 model that plays EVERYTHING™ you can now buy in Tesco these days.

Not to worry, I bounded up more stairs (we’re now on the 3rd floor now, in case you were losing count) to my study, booted up my PC and a cunning piece of free software called DVD Shrink which you can use to … erm, ‘back-up’ DVD discs. And in doing so you can also choose to *cough* remove the rather annoying regional encoding *cough*.

So that’s what I did. It took about an hour from start to finish, and then I watched the film in all of its backed-up, region-free glory. And I loved it. This is a wonderfully and passionately made film about the alternative culture that is metal. Those are my people, my culture, my music. I had almost every track that was played on the soundtrack, and those that I didn’t have I knew.

It’s well worth watching either in the USA Region 1 two-disc special edition or the Region 2 edition out on August 7 in the UK.

Published by

Gareth J M Saunders

Hi, I'm Gareth J M Saunders, 43 years old, 6' 4", married to Jane, father to twins Reuben and Joshua, and their younger brother Isaac. I'm a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church and worship at All Saints' Church, St Andrews. I am employed as the web architect at the University of St Andrews.

3 thoughts on “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey”

  1. What you did was entirely legal… but also entirely unecessary. What you can do, is go to (I think), type in the model of your DVD player and it will give you a code to make your DVD player multi-region (unless is super old). I can’t remember exactly if that is the site, but also googling your model and “multiregion code” or something should help.

    What’s more, it’s entirely legal – it’s just you don’t get told about it so that faceless beaurocrats can make more money from you.

    I can now get region 1 DVDs all the time, which means you don’t to lend them to people who won’t return them… because these people won’t be aware of such genius!!!

  2. It worked! Woo-hoo! I had to burn some files to a CDR (well, two CDRs, because I did it wrong the first time!) and popped it into my DVD Player (Toshiba SD-125E) and it played for 5 seconds.

    And now, as if by magic, I can play Region 1 encoded DVDs. Woo-hoo!

    Thanks Neil for the advice.

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