Wolverhampton Art Gallery Launches First Heavy Metal Archive

By Freya McClelland | 22 October 2008
A photograph of Napalm Death © Courtesy of Earache Records

Napalm Death, Courtesy of Earache Records

Forty years ago the Black Country spawned a new sound. The loud, theatrical, macho (did we mention loud?) genre soon made a indelible mark on the rest of the world and heavy metal was born.

This weekend, to commemorate its early roots in the Black Country, Wolverhampton Art Gallery celebrates all things Heavy Metal in an archive launch called Home of Metal.

Metal fans are invited to the special open day, which will take place on Saturday October 25 between 10am - 4.30pm. Organisers hope fans of metal music will unite and contribute their memories and memorabilia to form the very first digital archive of metal music.

A man wearing a Led Zepplin T-shirt &169; Steve Gerrard

A Led Zepplin. © Steve Gerrard

Metalers are asked to bring their Black Sabbath T shirts, Metallica records, photos of the heady, testosterone-drenched gigs with the prerequisite moshing and headbanging.

Organisers also hope the event will yield collections of death/metal/thrash metal/progressive metal/glam metal/power metal/black metal and of course, spandex and a healthy disdain for anything inauthentic.

The day will offer the chance to share with fellow enthusiasts iconic stories, perhaps of Ozzy Osbourne, himself a Brummie, biting the head off a furry creature. These will be digitised to help create an online digital archive of memories, images and pictures to tell the story of this unique moment of Midlands musical heritage.

A man with long hair wearing a Black Sabbath T-shirt © Steve Gerrard

A Black Sabbath fan © Steve Gerrard

"We are working with Capsule and other art galleries in the region to collect as much information as we can from Metal fans to be stored for future generations," said Marguerite Nugent Head of Curatorial services.

"The development of Metal music owes much to the scene in Wolverhampton and the Black Country and we want to celebrate that."

Images of devoted fans of Judas Priest, Napalm Death, Godflesh, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin will be on display on Saturday, taken by photographer Steve Gerrard, who has been capturing bands in action for over 20 years, and has photographed some of metal’s biggest names and artists.

Radio DJ Johnny Doom will host the day and will interview special guests from the heavy metal industry including Digby Pearson, Earache Records boss and label founder, responsible for releasing the early Napalm Death and Godflesh records.

A woman wearing a Judas Priest T-shirt © Steve Gerrard

A Judas Priest fan © Steve Gerrard

Film screenings will include the first airing since 1992 of the documentary Motor City Music Years. Produced by Roger Shannon and Jonnie Turpie, the second part of the documentary focuses on heavy metal in the 1970’s showing interviews and music clips, with Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Magnum and Slade.

So calling all Metal fans, for one day only, it's time get your leathers and jeans on and make it to Wolverhampton for a unique event that could see you contribute to metal music history.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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