Saturday 5 August 2017

THE DOOM DOC (Film Review)

The Doom Doc is a new documentary focusing primarily on Holy Spider Promotions and the local Doom Metal Scene in Sheffield. The documentary has interviews with bands and artists from across the globe. As the film makers interview Kirk Windstein, Bill Ward, Vinny Appice to name just a few. The film gives a brief history of the Doom Metal scene in general with the Sludge and Stoner scenes getting a worthwhile mention. The documentary struck a chord with myself personally as I've met some of the individuals featured on this documentary. I respect and admire the people featured on the film.

The film begins with a creepy and funny story of how Holy Spider promotions received its name. The film then moves onto Wet Nuns and the work of their drummer – Alexis Gotts aka Leki. Leki was instrumental in starting off the DIY Doom Scene in Sheffield and actually booked some great bands to perform in Sheffield. Sadly, Leki passed away in 2014. 

I met Leki twice when he was performing with Baba Naga, the band he was performing with at the time. I had a very cool discussion with the band back then when they supported HARK/Ken Mode in Sheffield and Brant Bjork the following night in Leeds. I went to both gigs and he was an immense talent behind the drums.

The Doom Doc explains the local Sheffield scene suffered as there were no people putting gigs on that time. Though that inspired Joe from Kurokuma and Craig from BA'AL to form Holy Spider Promotions and to kick-start the Doom Metal scene in Sheffield. The documentary focuses on Holy Spider Promotions daily struggles putting on the second annual Doomlines festival. A Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal festival that the guys put in response to the more mainstream Tramlines festival.

Craig and Joe from Holy Spider Promotions

Before we get to see their struggles putting on the festival, the documentary showcases some great live venues in Sheffield such as The Lughole and The Mulberry Tavern which Holy Spider Promotions promote bands regularly. Credit should go to the filmmaker Connor Matheson for trying to include as many important members of the UK Doom Metal scene into this documentary. CONAN receive their fair share of the attention here. As they're arguably the biggest Doom Metal band the UK has to offer at the moment.

The Doom Doc does show you the nitty gritty in running a promotions company and the consensus of heavy metal music in general. Our style of music is not the most widely known of the different subgenres within the world of Heavy Metal. Though you can tell from this documentary that it has some of the most passionate people trying to create new music and to keep the scene alive. The interviews with Kirk, Bill, Vinny and CONAN do offer bleak and truthful moments of what influences them and performing on stage. Bill Ward is brutally honest and it's refreshing to hear one of the greats tell people the struggles he went through many years ago.

The film does include some funny real life moments that I won't spoil for you. The Doom Doc's main subject is Holy Spider Promotions and how they sometimes struggle to bring Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal gigs to the local masses. A lot of awesome bands are featured such as Primitive Man, CONAN, Mower and Slabdragger, all playing heavy riffs and intense live performances.

You cannot deny the passion and involvement that Joe and Craig put into running Holy Spider Promotions. The guys had a major hiccup last year when the original venue meant to host Doomlines II cancelled on them at the last moment. The guys do manage to find another venue for Doomlines II, which was a massive success.

The film shows why our music will never be accepted by the commercial masses and how the Doom Metal scene will remain remotely unapologetic for this as well. The live footage scenes are superb with excellent live performances from the wide range of bands that appear on the documentary. The audiences’ reaction is there for everyone to see. As they live and breathe not only the bands themselves but the scene overall.

The Doom Doc maybe set in Sheffield but it's message and appeal is universal for almost every underground metal scene worldwide. The Doom Doc is a celebration of what is great within the Heavy Metal underground scene. Holy Spider Promotions are the stars of this film and I hope it gives them more exposure and even the bands featured.

The film is superbly well made from start to finish. Director Connor Matheson has put together an exciting, raw and very honest film. The film is indeed grimy in parts but that matches the tone and atmosphere of the Doom Metal world in general.

The Doom Doc can be ranked alongside classic Doom/Stoner documentaries such as Such Hawks, Such Hounds.

Words by Steve Howe

All photos kindly provided for promotional purposes by Connor Matheson.


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