Score: 9 out of 10.
The music nerd in me has always loved a good music based documentary, even if I’m not into a type of music or band, I can still appreciate seeing all of the behind the scenes footage. Over the last few years the team of Bob Nalbandian, Joe Floyd, Carl Alvarez and Warren Croyle have brought us the Inside Metal series, and they are about to spring the final two chapters on us. The Rise Of L.A. Thrash Metal (Part One) will be released on DVD on January 19th, 2018, while part two will be out in the spring. If you’re familiar with the series, you’ll know that they always go way behind the scenes, yes you have big names like Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Frank Bello of Anthrax, former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Testament/Dark Angel’s Gene Hoglan, and David Ellefson of Megadeth interviewed, the latter also narrates the film. But you also have former Suicidal Tendencies guitarist Rocky George, former Slayer Manager Steven Craig, MX Machine’s Negrete, Greg Durschlag of The Weasels, photographer extraordinaire Kevin Estrada, current Body Count guitarist Juan Garcia, who also played in Agent Steen and Abattoir, and the list goes on and on.
The cool thing about this series is it doesn’t delve deep into things that are well publicized, it talks about how thrash came about in L.A., and why three of the big four had to migrate to the San Francisco Bay Area. It touches upon the rivalry between the L.A. and Bay Area scenes, the rivalries between metalheads and punks, the crossover phenomenon, ethnicity in the L.A. metal scene, etc. And it dives in deep with musicians, journalists, photographers, and managers recounting stories, giving their take of what transpired from their point on view. So many of these other documentaries the host needs to be the focal point, they need to be the center of attention. Thanks to them you’re watching, in a lot of cases, a scripted set of heavily edited interviews to sell themselves, or the controversy they have created to sell you, instead of the subject. That’s what I love about this series, the team that put it together stays for the most part behind the scenes, letting the people that are interviewed tell their stories. And in the process, you get to hear stories from the likes of Testament guitarist Eric Peterson discussing how the band began looking for a new singer after Steve “Zetro” Sousa quit the band. What influenced Erie C. when writing the self-titled debut by Body Count, Lloyd Grant recounting how he met Lars Ulrich, and subsequent jams with him, Katon W. De Peña best known for fronting Hirax, talks how he pursued former Metallica bassist Ron McGovney to form Phantasm, and a ton more.
This is a must see of anyone that has enjoyed any of the other volumes in this series, or is even remotely into music documentaries.
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