Sandwell and Dudley celebrate their musical history

“I’m really proud to be a Brummie and to call Birmingham my home, that’s why I’m supporting the Home of Metal events and message. Your surroundings and experiences influence your music so it’s important for people to know where that music came from!” Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath.

Four decades since heavy metal was unleashed onto the world, Home of Metal arrives this summer, presenting a series of ambitious exhibitions and associated cultural programme which explore the foundations, social context and heritage of heavy metal culture, which has gone on to be a global phenomenon.

For too long Birmingham and the Black Country have failed to celebrate what is rightfully theirs to claim the city and the region as the birthplace of ‘Heavy Metal’. Curated by Capsule, Home of Metal is a celebration of the music that was created in the West Midlands, its legacy and influence across the world.

Home of Metal focuses on the Midlands born innovators of the genre and those that continued to develop it.

From Black Sabbath, unquestionably the founding fathers of Heavy Metal, Judas Priest, defenders of the faith – whose twin guitar attack paved the way for multitudes of melodic metal acts in their wake – to Napalm Death, whose first two albums introduced Grindcore to an unsuspecting world.

Over the summer a series of various events, concerts and exhibitions for all ages will take place at museums in Sandwell and Dudley exploring the musical heritage, geology and history of the area:

Metal Fatigue: Heavy Metal and Hard Times
16 July 2011 — 16 December 2011
Wednesbury Museum & Art Gallery
A look at the memories and experiences of local people and how music has acted as a tonic in their lives. Running alongside is an exhibition of photos taken in Sandwell and other West Midlands venues from the 1960s onwards. They feature Rod Stewart, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Rolling Stones.

Medieval Metal at the Manor House

Medieval Metal at the Manor House

Medieval Metal at the Manor House
Friday 15 July – 7pm- 11pm
Manor House Museum
Birmingham based Medieval Metal band Hærken, play in the atmospheric setting of the Medieval Manor House Museum, mixing metal with medieval tales and lyrics. £10 per ticket. There is a buy one get one free offer on tickets to visitors to the Sandwell Museums Facebook page who quote the code when booking. Call 0121 553 0759 to book.
A licensed bar will be available. Hærken’s performance will include smoke machines and strobe lighting.

Metal Music
Sunday 10 July 2pm-5pm
Oak House Museum
Visit Oak House Museum for an afternoon of a different kind of metal music with a fabulous steel band and also a brass band! Families can join in, have a go at playing the steel drums and learn about brass instruments. There will also be musical craft activities, quizzes and trails for children. Entrance is free but there may be a small charge for some activities.

16 July – 25 September
Dudley Museum & Art Gallery
In Metal, Dudley Museum & Art Gallery exhibition will look at the geology of the Black Country and explore how the physical properties of metal have helped to shape our wider culture. It will look at the close connection between the material and our history, looking at significant periods such as the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Industrial Revolution. The ways in which metal is linked to art is studied too, with the exhibition drawing attention to how metal helps to make musical instruments, paints and glazes.

Other highlights from the 2011 programme include:

Home of Metal – 40 years of Heavy Metal and its unique birthplace.

The core exhibition of the season at the prestigious Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, taking over the largest UK temporary gallery space outside of London from 18 June – 25 September.

Informed by original band artefacts and materials from the Home of Metal digital archive, the show is the first metal exhibition of its kind, bringing together unseen memorabilia sourced directly from the fans themselves, and placing it alongside iconic items from metal such as Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules stage cross and handwritten Napalm Death lyrics. The show also explores the ingredients that together made Heavy Metal, offering an insight into the region’s industrial history, the early blues‐rock sound, the changing music industry, DIY politics and the global impact of the heavy metal.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery will presents You Should be Living: The Visual Language of Heavy Metal, an exhibition which explores the relationship between heavy metal and artists inspired by the genre, using typography, vintage t‐shirts, sculpture and sound to explore the varying aesthetic of Heavy Metal and its relationship to contemporary art.

Thirty years after the formation of Napalm Death, French artist and grindcore fanatic Damien Deroubaix and Napalm Death founder Nicholas Bullen present their sculptural construction containing text and abstractions, referencing the work of both artists and the first Napalm Death album ‘Scum’.

In July, Walsall Leather Museum will be displaying stage costumes worn by local heroes of the Heavy Metal scene as part of the exhibition Hell Bent for Leather: Judas Priest and the Heavy Metal Look. This will be a rare opportunity to see costumes from the band’s private collection.

Manufactory: Chris Coekin at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Metal at Dudley Museum & Art Gallery both explore the links between the region’s industry and the creation of heavy metal music.

For Manufacory, Chris Coekin has produced beautifully detailed photographs and recorded sounds on the shop floor of a heavy industrial factory. The rhythmic factory sounds recorded by Coekin have been outputted onto vinyl record to capture the intensity and psychological experiences of working within an industrial environment. The exhibition invites the audience to participate by physically playing the vinyl records on vintage record players and viewing the large-scale images, which symbolise the last days of British industry.

Spanning historic times through the industrial revolution to the present day, Metal illustrates the many uses of and products made from metal, including how metal makes Heavy Metal music.

There will also be Home of Metal exhibitions at The Public, and Bilston Craft Gallery.

Bringing people together to share their passion for heavy metal music, Home of Metal’s ambitions include the development of heritage tours and ultimately a permanent collection dedicated to telling the story of Metal and its unique birthplace for fans to visit in the future.

These exhibitions form part of the 2011 programme, which will also include a touring film programme, concerts, further exhibitions and a heavy metal conference.

Information on the full Home of Metal season taking places across Birmingham and the Black

Country can be found at

Wednesbury Museum & Art Gallery
Holyhead Road, Wednesbury. WS10 7DF / 0121 556 0683

Manor House Museum
Hall Green Road, West Bromwich. B71 2EA / 0121 553 0759

Oak House Museum
Oak Road, West Bromwich B70 8HJ / 0121 553 0759

Dudley Museum & Art Gallery
James’s Road, Dudley. DY1 1HU / 0138 481 5575