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Unknown (Director)
Aural Amphetamine-Metallica and The Dawn Of Thrash (DVD)
March 2015
Released: 2008, Chrome Dreams
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

In my mind this documentary is easily paired with another very similar documentary, IRON MAIDEN AND THE NEW WAVE OF BRITISH HEAVY METAL. Both are produced by Chrome Dreams. Both came out in 2008. They both have the same running time. Both are unauthorized, fairly low budget, and have the same leisurely pace. As the film unfolds there are clues that this was filmed drawing on the same sources. At one point there is an interview with Brian Tatler of Diamond Head in the exact same room, pose and outfit as an interview in the Iron Maiden documentary I mentioned in the introduction.

Regardless, AURAL AMPHETAMINE stands on it’s own merit and is a very decent documentary. In terms of presentation there are not many frills, cheap packaging, no booklet, very few visual effects, a simplistic menu and the whole thing is unauthorized. In terms of content, the documentary is very well done. The producers recruited a number of high profile British journalists to add weight to the discussion and they also tracked down some interesting characters from the original thrash scene.

The main narrative follows the evolution of Metal and into the thrash movement with a heavy emphasis on Metallica of course. It was nice to see some footage of Lars to add a bit of credential to the film, but many of the players were admittedly second and third string in the development of the genre. The documentary is mostly archival footage and talking heads but there are some great old photos and live clips nicely edited together. It is quite a scholarly treatment and evenhanded in tone and presentation, some might even say a little dry. There are a few bonus features, a quiz some extended interviews and so forth.

There have been a few documentaries about thrash created and this is as good as any of them. It is a good primer for fans who may not have heard these those over and over and the British perspective of a lately American phenomena is interesting as well. This DVD is still in circulation and pretty inexpensive so it is worth adding to your video library.

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