Released: 2008, Lightyear Entertainment
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
When producer Rick Ernst first sent me an early copy of his then-in-the-works documentary, GET THRASHED: THE STORY OF THRASH METAL, in January 2007, I was immediately blown away by the quality of the film as well as how professional, informative and chock full of testimonials it was, even at its nascent stage. I made a note that this was one of the best documentaries I had ever seen on heavy metal and having seen the final cut that is due to be released to the festival circuit (and home video markets later) this month, Ernst can hold his head—and horns—high knowing many are sure to echo that sentiment once GET THRASHED: THE STORY OF THRASH METAL reaches the heavy metal collective.
At just over 90 minutes, there is a lot of history crammed into a short time but Ernst has categorized it thoughtfully and efficiently. Broken into chapters chronicling the major forces of thrash metal in its early days, the film goes in-depth with informative historical footage and first-person accounts from members of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Exodus, Anthrax, Overkill, Kreator, Testament, Death Angel, Sodom and many others. Industry VIPs such as Metal Blade Records’ founder Brian Slagel, DJ Eddie Trunk and Ian Christe weigh in on the merits of the genre, while testimonials from dozens of bands including members of Slipknot, In Flames, Godsmack, Kittie, Shadows Fall and Strapping Young Lad display the influence thrash has had not just on their music but also on their own lives as fans. Besides the verbal accounts, rare photos, bootleg and professionally-filmed video footage has been culled from archives and fan’s collections to give an up close and personal look at what it was like for these bands playing to small but devoted crowds in bad parts of town but one thing always remained the driving force for fan and musician alike: the love of the music.
Coming at a time when a resurgence in thrash metal is at its apex, GET THRASHED: THE STORY OF THRASH METAL is striking while the proverbial iron is hot. Metallica, Testament, Death Angel and Exodus have all released brilliant albums this year and with a new crop of bands like Warbringer, Bonded By Blood and SSS paying homage to thrash metal, this documentary will be a key reference point for anyone new to the genre or grizzled veterans looking to revel in the glory days. GET THRASHED: THE STORY OF THRASH METAL is a must-see, plain and simple.