‘Slow’ your roll 

With decidedly
repulsive band names like Alabama Thunderpussy, Eyehategod and
Goatwhore, it’s no wonder that underground Southern metal remained a
subgenre largely unexamined — until the documentary “Slow Southern
Steel,” that is.

“This
was something we felt passionate enough to put out there, because there
is no comprehensive documentary about this scene, and we felt it’s a
really important story to tell,” said co-director and editor David
Lipke, who works and lives in Little Rock, Ark.

A
fan of the Southern sludge sound, Lipke shared his vision with Rwake
vocalist Chris “C.T.” Terry, who co-directed, and whose connections
enabled most of the interviews and performances that comprise the
finished work, which will be shown Tuesday night at The Conversatory.

“It
was a good team we had,” Lipke said, noting they started shooting
performances and interviews in 2008. “We’re just average guys doing it
all ourselves. We have full-time jobs. I worked on it when I could.”

Currently
on a 19-city tour spanning three weeks, Lipke and Terry are screening
their film by piggybacking live performances from Southern metal acts
Hail!Hornet and Zoroaster, whose members appear in the film. They’re
aiming to break up preconceived negative notions about sludge-metal fans
by examining their surrounding environments.

“You
start realizing the South is so enriched with musical creativity. It
was where rock was invented and country comes from it, blues came from
it, and jazz,” Lipke said. “There’s something about that area, where
music thrives from it. In our opinion, it was kind of weird that a
documentary wasn’t made about the metal scene here.”

He
said the movie isn’t so much concerned with the actual musicological
progression and development of underground Southern metal as it is with
the subgenre’s actual personalities and characters.

“We wanted to dive into how they grew up,” he said.

Raised in Arkansas, Lipke acknowledged a certain kinship with his subjects, and said he learned some important lessons shooting the doc.

“People
are a product of their earlier environment,” he said. “We’d ask these
bands if they thought they’d sound the same if they were from Toledo or
Detroit, and they all said the same thing: ‘No.’”

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