Inside Metal The Rise of L.A. Thrash Metal
June 5, 2018, a year ago
Divided into two parts, narrated by Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), part one released in January on DVD and digital, Part 2 in April, The Rise Of L.A. Thrash Metal is a documentary about just that. Beginning at the start of the '80s, the movie is pieced together with live clips, interviews with the bands, journalists, DJs, etc. Part one focuses on several things…those who influenced thrash music - the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, to of course Maiden, Priest, Sabbath, AC/DC, Purple, Scorpions, Accept (“Fast As A Shark”) to early black metal from Mercyful Fate and Venom. The challenges of being a thrash band in LA amidst the growing popularity of glam metal, and the thrash bands who moved on to the Bay area. Also, how punk influenced the attitude and energy of thrash, yet, the two styles of music in had two separate crowds at shows regardless of crossing over with the rise of Suicidal Tendencies and D.R.I.
Of course all the big bands are talked about – the early beginnings of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, and later Testament, to names more underground like Hirax, Death Angel, Dark Angel, and Agent Steel. Lars from Metallica (also Lloyd Grant their first guitarist), Frank Bello (Anthrax), Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel) all speak, among others. Katon from Hirax talks a lot and has a great story where Roxx Regime (who later became Stryper) headlined a show where LA Kaos (later Hirax), and Metallica opened. While Michael Sweet (Stryper) goes into how Mustaine use to sell drugs to Stryper’s bassist at the time, and had interest in investing in the band but was turned off by the yellow and black costumes.
Part 2 is another 90 minutes, continues the story and struggles being a thrash or speed metal band finding an audience and venues to play live in the city on the Sunset Strip. How the harder faster bands branched out from the more popular venues like the Troubadour, Whiskey A Go-Go, Roxy, and Rainbow. Interviews include Brian Slagel (Metal Blade records owner), Joey Vera and John Bush (Armored Saint), Juan Garcia (Agent Steel, Abattoir), DJ Will Howell, Ernie C (Body Count), and others. Topics discussed include how the mosh pit began and all the violence that came with it, (independent) radio exposure, indie labels, underground fanzines, and tape trading (Metallica’s No Life Till Leather) importance to the scene. And of course the rise of Metallica’s popularity and the impact Cliff Burton had on the music, Slayer, and Megadeth.