Rating 9 out of 10.
A few years back Bob Nalbandian, Carl Alvarez, Joe Floyd, and Warren Croyle, began the Inside Metal series focusing on the evolution of L.A. metal, without really diving into the years all of the major media outlet have always focused on, the Sunset Strip scene from the mid to late 80s. Instead Inside Metal has been a lesson on the history of the L.A. that most of us knew nothing about, unless you lived it. I for one as a music nerd have appreciated the entire series, because there are so many things that are shared that I knew nothing about. What makes this entire series great is that the interviews conducted by Bob and his team focus on, like alluded to above, people that lived it. Artists like Lars Ulrich, John Bush, Dave Lombardo, Rocky George, Marty Friedman, Gene Hoglan, Brian Tatler, managers like Steven Craig (Slayer and Dark Angel), promoters like Gina Zamparelli, photographers like Kevin Estrada, producers like Bill Metoyer, label heads like the founder of Metal Blade Records, Brian Slagel, etc. The emphasis being on people that were there. It isn’t a hand me down story that gets tweaked a little as the story is told. And as cool as I think the Sam Dunn documentaries are, it isn’t always like that, and is sometimes tainted by the opinions of those that were not actually there when a scene or genre took off. Similar to the old Aerosmith song “Let The Music Do The Talking”, the inside metal series has allowed those being interviewed to tell their stories, without needing anyone outside of those being interviewed to become part of the subject matter.
Inside Metal The Rise Of L.A. Thrash Metal 2 is obviously a continuation of the previous volume in this series. This second volume is narrated by Megadeth’s David Ellefson, and delves deeper into what L.A. thrash bands had to endure, given the fact that most of them were being pushed from the metal music epicenter, which was the Sunset Strip, to other areas, which in some cases where much less desirable. It also reinforces the fact that bands like Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth, were actually from L.A. and not the Bay Area. This specific volume looks at those bands directly, along with Armored Saint, who skirted the line between several types of metal. Aside from that, you get to hear stories about some of the legendary venues that made up the scene, the effect of radio airplay on thrash, some of the legendary record labels, a lot of which no longer exist, how tape trading helped grow the scene, the decadence, and the ultimate impact of L.A. on thrash.
The entire series is highly recommended, if you’re a fan of 70s hard rock, 80s heavy metal, and thrash. It is a shame that this is the end of the focus on L.A., but we can all hope this is a jumping point for other volumes of Inside Metal titles that focus on other metal epicenters from around the world.