Music Documentaries: Band VS Brand (2018) - Reviewed

I have said often in previous reviews that documentaries on bands and musicians don't need to be too much to be very good.  To me, if you just tell the story as accurately as you can as a filmmaker, you have a winner.  The interest is already there from the viewers part.  Most likely we are there because we have an interest in the artist and their story.  The story of most bands with a reasonably large amount of notoriety can read like a script from The Young and the Restless and even the hardest of the hard rock bands can come of as card carrying members of a sewing circle when the story is finally presented in a linear format.

Band VS Brand tackles the after thoughts of the above mentioned after the rubble is cleared when bands lose members, split alliances, melt down, and/or go knee deep in legal battles over intellectual property.  It is a result of poor planning, and pure passion.  A lot of musicians just simply don’t think of the business side of playing in a band and just want to play music.  Band VS Brand illustrates this beautifully.  We are presented with case after case of bands trying to maintain through a variety of situations, some with positive results, but a lot that end up appearing like a dumpster fire.

Band VS Brand illustrates and paints a clear picture of the stereotype of the music industry.  It is ugly, and people are generally not very honest if they can find a way to pull some money out a brand that has been built over many years.  We see this over and over again through all of the interviews in Band VS Brand from the likes of Frank DiMino from Angel, Marc Ferrari from Keel, Mike Varney from Shrapnel Records, and manager Adam Parsons (Uriah Heep, Saxon, Europe, Thin Lizzy/BSR).  I was also pleased to see that this documentary featured interviews from the likes of some of my personal favorites like Dave Lombardo from Dead Cross, Fantômas, Suicidal Tendencies, and formerly of Slayer, and Mantas and Abaddon of Venom Inc, formerly of Venom.

Band VS Brand while a little rough around the edges, is a fantastic glimpse into the nasty side of the music industry and personally reaffirmed why I decided to just do music part time and get a day job.

--Scott W. Lambert