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Low Culture Podcast: The Decline Of Western Civilisation Part II The Metal years

In this month's Low Culture podcast, we head back to the 1980s and filmmaker Penelope Spheeris' take on the LA hair metal scene

In this month’s Low Culture podcast, Luke Turner and John Doran neck a bottle of peroxide hair bleach and squeeze into pleather kecks for a trip back to 1987, and Los Angeles’ hair rock scene, as captured by filmmaker Penelope Spheeris in the documentary The Decline Of Western Civilisation Part II. As ever, we’re diving deep into the culture that we lov… what, what’s this? “The Metal Years is a very painful watch,” says John, “it’s pretty much everything I hate about the wider umbrella of metal culture.” Go on… This was the middle film in a trilogy in which the other films, parts one and two, largely focussed on punk rock, whereas here Spheeris faced the misogyny and wild superficiality of a load of men’s men determined to make it big by playing fast riffs in songs about speed and girls while perming their hair and sticking on a load of slap and pickling their livers with Jack Daniels. In a film that captures a genre which was in fact on its last legs, new bands like Faster Pussycat, Odin and Seduce are the very definition of young, dumb and full of cum as they hussle for a slot on stages that also host dancing contests that are best left in the scrotty minds of 1980s American teens. In the podcast, while we’ve full admiration for Spheeris’ crafty filmmaking, John’s hair stands on end and his beard nearly bursts into flame as he points out that this is not a film about his beloved heavy metal, but a particularly regressive form of blues rock. As he explains how an industrial accident gave birth to true metal in the knackered hands of Tommy Iommi, we marvel at Ozzy Osbourne cooking a fry-up in his kitchen. Then there’s sage elder statesmen of the scene Aerosmith and Alice Cooper musing on their wild pasts and originality, cringe at the suspiciously shiny Kiss, find a lot of sense in Lemmy’s words, and get pretty pretty depressed, frankly, about the state of WASP’s Chris Holmes sat in his pool in an inflatable chair drinking vodka from a Father Christmas glass as his mum watches on. Did The Decline Of Western Civilisation Part II kill hair metal? Find out with us here.

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