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14 December 2018

Heavy Metal

by Alice May

Justice: “Heavy Metal” - 4 mins 26s

'Heavy Metal' isn't related to Ozzy et al in the slightest. It's more like Toccata and Fugue had a weird threesome with Gesaffelstein and mid-era prog rock, then boasted about it on social media.

We at DAVID were waiting for the intro to end until around the three-minute mark, at which point we realised intro was all there is. But it didn't matter. There's nothing wrong in embracing a bit of bombast now and again... especially if it comes with such an awesome video.

Director Filip Nilsson's clip revolves around Norfolk State University's Spartan Legion marching band in Virginia; a group of musicians and dancers 220 members strong. He'd seen a clip of them about a year previously and when he heard 'Heavy Metal' he knew they would be the perfect fit. Indeed, they are.

The sheer energy crackling off the band as they strut in synchrony is all the more powerful for the moments in between. A lone member appears still and reflective; possibly psyching himself up for the war of performance as - attired in gladiator headgear - he emerges from his thoroughly modern car.

Another gladiator marches towards us along a high school corridor lined with lockers, and elsewhere, a row of burly men blow life into the French horns coiled around their bodies like brass aliens.

It's a terrific piece, and the secret to its success is not only that the pomp and ceremony of the band is equal to the music, but that they are so eminently watchable. We might only have listened to 'Heavy Metal' once without it; now, having heard it while watching the clip two or three times, it's become a joyous addition to our Christmas Countdown playlist.

Yet even so, we can't quite shake off the persistent image of Alan Partridge rocking out to this as he drives through a much closer Norfolk on his way to present 'Mid Morning Matters'. You can see it too, can't you?

Film Production: Object & Animal Ⓟ Ⓦ
Director: Filip Nilsson Ⓟ Ⓦ
Producer: Amy Vadnais
1st AD: Jesse Brooks
Executive Producer: Dom Thomas / Justin Benoliel / James Cunningham / Morgan Clement
Cinematographer: Steve Annis Ⓦ (Lux Artists Ⓟ Ⓦ)
Editor: Andreas Arvidsson
VFX: Tina Chen (Producer)
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell Ⓦ @ 750MPH Ⓟ Ⓦ

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