MUSIC REVIEW: THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION PART II: THE METAL YEARS (1988)

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THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION PART II: THE METAL YEARS (1988)

Pretty much the best documentary ever on the 80s heavy metal scene that centered in L.A. and ran roughshod for over a decade till Grunge took over in the early 90s. Penelope Spheeris (Suburbia, Wayne’s World) tells the story using the voices and music of not only some of the top bands like Poison, Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Motörhead and one of the godfather’s of heavy metal, Alice Cooper. We also get interviews with fans and wannabe stars like members of Odin, who never got signed, members of Vixen, whose star shown briefly and members of London, who had bandmates that went on to join some of the most famous bands of the era, but never found fame themselves. As nostalgia, it gives one a perfect feel for the music, outrageous fashions and the decadent lifestyles that came with it. It’s all the hair spray, mascara and glitter you could want with some refreshingly honest feedback from the people whose music created the scene and those who lived as part of it. We get some outrageous interviews such as KISS’ Paul Stanley, who delivers his words of wisdom from a bed filled with gorgeous women, Ozzy Osbourne, as he makes his breakfast of bacon and eggs and the most notorious segment with W.A.S.P.’s Chris Holmes, giving his interview piss drunk while fully clothed in a pool and with his poor mom sitting in a chair right there the whole time. It’s a lot of fun and in Holmes’ case, makes you cringe a few times. We also get the opposing viewpoint of this whole scene from some hilarious interview segments with a parole office who talks about “de-metaling” the kids under their charge and the demonic influence of the music and it’s makers. Spheeris basically let’s it all speak for itself and we are all along for the wild ride.

As a metal head myself, who was in clubs here in New Jersey and NYC almost every night during the 80s, seeing bands like the ones here, this documentary is a wonderful and nostalgic look at a time sadly gone forever. Even if some of the interviewees induce giggles today, at the time, they were people who were simply passionate about the music and life that went with it and this documentary captures it all at the time it was taking place…though sadly right before it’s fall. If you were a part of that scene, as I was, this is a wonderfully nostalgic look back at a one of a kind decade in music. If you are someone interested in what it was like back then, this is a fun and sometimes rib-tickling look at the lunacy and decadence that swept the music industry during this incredible period in music history.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 guitars

guitar rating

Track Listing from the Soundtrack CD

1. “Under My Wheels”- Alice Cooper  3:22

2. “The Bathroom Wall”- Faster Pussycat  3:54

3. “Cradle To The Grave”- Motôrhead  4:12

4. “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide”- Armored Saint  3:03

5. “Born To Be Wild”- Lizzy Borden  4:52

6.”In My Darkest Hour”- Megadeth  6:27

7.”Prophecy”- Queensryche  4:02

8.”The Brave”- Metal Church  4:28

9.”Foaming At The Mouth”- Rigor Mortis  3:48

10.”Colleen”- Seduce  3:24

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