Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal and Community in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Heavy Metal Studies

Over the past couple of years I've been able to share such documentaries as "Madder Than A Full Moon Dog" and the "Inside Metal: Pioneers Of L.A. Hard Rock And Metal" series with our readers. Now it's my extreme pleasure to present "The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal and Community in Puerto Rico" to all of you. As the title clearly suggests this highly-informative (and downright entertaining!) documentary delves into the deep history of heavy metal in Puerto Rico and in turn it pulls back the curtain in order to show you the struggle and ultimately determination of metal-minded musicians. Cleverly filmed in black and white (which all but gives the film a wonderfully gritty/underground vibe) and featuring English subtitles, "The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal and Community in Puerto Rico" was directed by Osvaldo Gonzalezby and produced by Dr. Nelson Varas-Díaz, Eliut Rivera-Segarra, and Sigrid Mendoza. Dr. Nelson Varas-Díaz (who is a long-time heavy metal fan) is a Associate Professor at the University of Puerto Rico and under his direction this documentary traces the ups and downs of a largely overlook scene. Until now Puerto Rico's contributions to the fields of heavy metal, thrash and death metal have been tragically glossed over. Thankfully "The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal and Community in Puerto Rico" looks to right such a wrong and it does it in a manor that not only hits all the right notes (thrash metal band Cardinal Sin being one of many!), but actually covers a unexpected area that far too many critics and fans skip over and/or generally mock. And that would be Christian metal. Yes, that is correct. Amazingly "The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal and Community in Puerto Rico" not only acknowledges how Christian heavy metal in Puerto Rico helped out the early scene, but (rightfully so) praises their hard work and musical ability! It's weird to see a documentary that actually talks about Christian metal in such a positive light and for that I say kudos to all who were involved with this awesome documentary! My only complain in that area would be how this full-length feature film (by way of interviews with it's members) made me interested in the Christian thrash metal band Xacrosaint when I can't find any of their music online! Sure, there are videos of lives shows, but I'm dying to know if this band released any demos or what not! Any help in that department would be greatly appreciated! But anyway, Cardinal Sin was actually the first true metal/thrash band in Puerto Rico of note and it makes sense that this documentary starts with this overlooked gem of an act. Influenced by bands like Iron Maiden and the emerging thrash metal scene in the U.S. and South American, Cardinal Sin started the ball rolling with dreams of becoming the next  Metallica or Sepultura.When Cardinal Sin formed there were no clubs to play in and no real scene to speak of so this band (which incidentally formed in 1984 and released only to demos during their time together) had to make their own. Despite this the band would go on to achieve a great deal of local success with their first demo, "Infanticide" (1989), eventually influencing a generation to come! Said demo can be found on the excellent (and highly-recommended!) compilation album "Resurrection" and their song "Against the Waterfall" opens up the first CD of this DVD/2CD set. What? I didn't mention the two CDs that come with this killer documentary? How could I forget that? In addition to this informative documentaries must-see DVD (for which it's obvious a hell of a lot of research went into it's creation!) "The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal and Community in Puerto Rico" comes with two jam packed compilation CDs which cover material from the early eighties to 2014! Both CDs feature 15 different tracks from 15 different artists and with a run-time that is over 140 minutes you simply cannot go wrong with this collection! I mean we're talking 30(!) Puerto Rican metal bands which is kind of fitting as this documentary covers 30 years worth of metal! As it covers not only the music, but also the culture of Puerto Rico there is so much to love about this set and I highly-recommend it to everyone reading this review. Realistically-speaking there just isn't enough time for me to go into everything that this black and white film has to offer or even the amazing amount of information that it covers. But I will say that just between the interviews and live footage there is so much going on so you almost have to watch this one a couple of times through just to try to get a grasp on everything that "The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal and Community in Puerto Rico" tackles! For more information on this amazing (MUST-OWN!!!!) DVD/2CD set be sure to head over to the documentaries official Facebook page here.  Meanwhile be sure to check out the official trailer for "The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal Music And Community In Puerto Rico" below. While it gives you a tiny hint at to what's in store for you you'll just have to trust me here when I say that this documentary absolutely shreds!

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Blogger Big D said...

Sounds interesting. Puerto Rico is one of those places where I knew they must have some sort of metal scene but never heard anything about it.

12:19 PM  

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