If Argentine metal isn’t on your radar, a 2014 documentary Relampago en la oscuridad from directors Germán Fernández and Pablo Montllau should have your Google to-do list stacked for the rest of the evening. Exploring the tumultuous past and uncertain present of Argentina’s first heavy metal singer, Alberto Zamarbide, Relampago en la oscuridad is a classic rock n’ roll doc that wends its way through periods of anger, substance abuse, and religious awakening.
As the lead singer of the iconic Latin American metal band V8 from 1982-87, Zamarbide brought the aggression and showmanship of bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Mötorhead to South American audiences in the midst of the country’s brutal dictatorship. Relampago en la oscuridad follows the 54-year-old singer as he attempts to make his way back into the spotlight, while incorporating interviews and archival footage to reflect on the long winding road he took, his disenchantment with the music industry, and his time spent living in exile in Miami.
Shot over four years, Relámpago is part of a growing rockumentary filmography that is solidifying Argentina’s central role in the development of Spanish-language rock. For those of us who weren’t there to see it first hand, this promises to be a fascinating introduction into a uniquely South American slice of music history.