Released: 2018, Metalrock
Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
This is the next documentary film in the series about the LA Metal scene. I’ve been following this series with much interest fro a few years now and it keeps growing. Feel free to check out any of my previous several reviews of documentaries in the series or my April 2017 interview with director Bob Nalbandian.
THE RISE OF L.A. THRASH METAL is in itself an interesting title. For decades people have associated the Bay-area (Oakland/San Francisco) with the rise of Thrash Metal. However, that is not quite the case and when you look at the reality, it is actually quite obvious that L.A. was the source of thrash. Three of the ‘Big Four’ came from Los Angeles, not San Francisco! Sometimes someone has to say something out loud about what is right in front of your face before you actually see it for yourself. Director Nalbandian, has done just that with his documentary.
In terms of a film, the inside Metal series has always been solid, certainly not and high-budget production, but commendable. The production quality is decent and it is largely filmed with a mix of talking heads and historical archives. The soundtrack is a bit mixed but only because it is hard (and damned expensive!) to get the rights to use music in a movie so instead of many of the most iconic thrash songs of that era, we settle for a decent mix of second and third tier L.A. bands and some new, original compositions. The whole thing is well narrated by David Ellefson (Megadeth) and runs about 90 minutes.
Through the interviews with dozens of musicians, producers, managers, journalists, agents and so on, the film follows, as you might expect, the rise of Thrash Metal. The list is pretty massive, the back cover of the DVD lists almost 30 people, including big names like Lars Ulrich and Brian Slagel and a few cool, maybe lesser known people like the ex-manager of Slayer from the early days.
Each chapter touches on certain components of the scene for example ‘Glam vs. Thrash’ or Punk vs. Thrash’ or ‘Crossover’ or even regional differences such has the Orange County scene differing from the LA scene. This struck me as interesting coming from an extremely homogenized scene (in one huge city) to see different communities have different territories and clubs, even though they were very close geographically, they could be miles apart in style and attitude. The chapter on ethnicity was interesting as well but thankfully avoiding being too politically correct or preachy.
There are a few bonus features, just a few minutes worth but they have some fun stories and insights of some stuff that didn’t make the final cut. If you don’t want to buy the DVD like I did these films are not various streaming and/or PPV services, but keep in mind, only hard copies are real. In true thrash fashion…buy or die!