Reviews: One Man Metal

We review the metal documentary, OMM

Look! We finally found the
Blair Witch!
Black Metal has seen its ups and downs in the over thirty years since its true inception with the like of old Gods such as Bathory, Celtic Frost, and Venom. It had its time where mainstream success was in its corpse painted sights, but aside from a few bands that adapted to a more mainstream sound (Cradle of Filth for example), Black Metal would rather crab walk its way back into the shadows. This is even more exemplified by a sub-genre of Black Metal, ‘One Man Black Metal’, as in a one man Black Metal band.

You can feel the isolation and awkwardness coming from the three subjects of One Man Metal, Jef Whitehead (a.k.a. Wrest of Leviathan) from Oakland, Tasmania’s Russell Menzies (a.k.a. Sin Nanna of Striborg) from Tasmania, and Scott Conner (a.k.a. Malefic of Xasthur) from Los Angeles. Their art is a perfect reflection of their personalities, perceptions, and feelings towards society and people in general.

Each subject is looked at equally during the documentaries forty-five minute running time and you get a very deep look (considering how hard these people are to contact and speak to) into the homes, lives, and even personalities of the three subjects in this documentary. The most prolific of the three, Jef Whitehead (a.k.a. Wrest of Leviathan) is the really gem in this film. With almost three dozen releases under Leviathan, we get a glimpse into what has motivated him to keep working and what put him where he is now. For a fan such as myself, this documentary could be done with that.

I think black and white is so much
more artistic. So much more. 
There is a feeling of discontent through this entire documentary, an eeriness with each subject once you understand their stories and hear their music. I once thought that Black Metal was and would always be the most extreme music I would ever hear, with its over the top satanic imagery, aesthetic, and overall jaw dropping abrasiveness. But when an artist takes the reigns all their own, removing the collaborative aspect of creating music, their vision can be achieved much easier. This is the most disturbing aspect of One Man Metal to me, because the output of these three bands is far more extreme than their Black Metal counterparts. It is obvious, that all of the involved subjects in the film are dealing with mental issues every day of their lives, and One Man Metal is a shining example of a constructive use of an artist’s inner turmoil.

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Watch One Man Metal here


-Scott W. Lambert