Metal Evolution-Episode 6: Thrash Metal (DVD)
Released: 2012, Alliance Films
From someone who doesn't spend much time listening this subgenre, I found this episode really interesting and appreciate that there had to be a metal movement running parallel to the glam scene which shunned opulence, decadence, indulgence - everything glam metal was.
Only recently have I started to appreciate what can be considered true underground, extreme metal where aggression and anger influenced by punk music became an outlet in opposition of conservative governments and the glam scene.
I liked the description that thrash was the place for talented punk fans who were equally influenced by NWOBHM.
A really interesting part of this episode was the old footage when Lars Ulrich was describing the tape trading with penpals and how it was the catalyst to Metallica's early popularity - I did that in the 80s myself with people in the UK and the US. I wonder how many of my cowriters will have mentioned Lars's hypocrisy in light of his current views of this generation's form of 'tape sharing' and the legal actions Metallica have taken…
One thing this episode helped me understand was how and why Metallica fans felt betrayed with the release of the Black album - I just wasn't interested enough to research for myself and now I don't have to.
Thrash was the first answer from the underground repudiating Glam Metal. Introducing Thrash, Dunn again trods well covered ground, linking Thrash to NWOBHM and Punk. Sure, we still have to hear the endless stream of gibberish from Lars and the usual poster boy for thrash, Scott Ian, but refreshingly, lesser known personalities contribute like Gary Holt of Exodus and Dave Lombardo of Slayer, and some Testament guys. Lots of great bands are covered, primarily Bay Area thrash, but Dunn skips over the World thrash bands like Kreator, Sepultura, and Pantera that continued to carry the flag and keep the genre relevant through the dark grunge years. Overall, a well produce episode that fits in a lot for only a 47 minute episode.
Although I had high hopes this was one of the more disappointing episodes for me. There was a very heavy American West-Coast focus and nothing about the Germanic Big Four (Tankard, Kreator, Destruction and Sodom) nothing about the Big Four in Canada (Anvil, Razor, Annihilator and Exciter), not much of NYC scene (Overkill, Nuclear Assault) and nothing about the big Brazilian scene and nothing about the utterly massive global retro-thrash scene with dozens and doznes of bands like Evile, Municipal Waste, Toxic Holocaust, Warbringer, and all those guys. What was good was a segment on double bass drumming stemming from Motorhead and a brief but good section on the Gothenburg scene. My favourite part was the intimate and revealing interview with Lars Ulrich and the sense of betrayal many thrash fans had with Metallica when they released their 5th self-titled album. Lars to his credit says he gets that sense of betrayal. It was a brave interview on Dunn’s part.