The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1989)

It's more than's a way of life.

An exploration of the heavy metal scene in Los Angeles, with particular emphasis on glam metal. It features concert footage and interviews of legendary heavy metal and hard rock bands and artists such as Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Megadeth, Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne and W.A.S.P..

***Amusing documentary on the mid/late 80’s metal scene***
Released in 1988, “The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years” by Penelope Spheeris is a documentary covering the 80’s metal scene. The film includes footage & interviews of popular acts (KISS, Ozzy, Aerosmith, Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Poison), moderately successful bands (Faster Pussycat) and up-and-not-coming artists (London, Odin, Seduce).
There are obviously staged parts, like the orange juice spill, Paul Stanley in a bed with three lingerie-clad women and the drunken pool sequence with Chris Holmes & his mother. These portions were included to amuse, but they're also informative, as far as the commentaries from the actual musicians involved in the 80's metal movement go.
The rest of the movie is footage of live interviews and concerts, mostly at clubs with emphasis on bands that frequented the L.A. strip. There's nothing fake about these parts. The film covers the 87/88 metal scene and the people thereof, their ideas, attitudes, lifestyles and fronts.
It’s interesting going back in time to see iconic musicians when they were younger, like Lemmy, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Dave Mustaine and Alice Cooper. It’s also nice to hear some quality obscure acts, like Detroit’s Seduce who were surprisingly heavy and aggressive when, by their looks and name, I was expecting conventional 80’s glam metal. Even Odin and London show that they were formidable and deserved greater success.
The film runs 1 hour, 33 minutes.

I.R.S. World Media by Penelope Spheeris.
Stars: Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper.

Genres: Documentary, Music

Keywords: heavy metal anarchist anti social thrash metal metal anthropology punk rock social commentary woman director


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