Skates and Ernst
Get Thrashed: The Story Of Thrash Metal
7/17/2009 - Review by: Eric Compton
The metal community has had plenty of DVD candy of late, from Maiden's "Flight 666" to documentaries about Anvil, Metallica, and various sub-genres. In late 2008 Lightyear Entertainment released this mandatory DVD entitled "Get Thrashed: The Story Of Thrash Metal". It took me a few months to catch up with it and now with the full 90 minutes of viewing behind me I will say that this one absolutely smokes from start to finish.
The movie was put together by ex-Overkill drummer Rat Skates, the band's skinsman from '80-'87. This genre veteran teamed up with a TV producer in Rick Ernst. With countless hours of television production on his resume, including the beloved "Headbanger's Ball", Ernst really brings a professional feel that most metal DVDs is lacking in. Skates and Ernst collaborate well to bring the dirty, abrasive, and in-the-gutter feel of thrash metal's decade of aggression to the screen via interviews with the pioneering bands, DJs, label moguls, and celebrities.
With any documentary on thrash metal most of the material will start with Metallica. "Get Thrashed" is no exception, explaining the band's early beginnings in the San Fran area to the firing of Dave Mustaine and the rise to fame of both Metallica and Megadeth. To the newer metal alumni this may be an interesting fact finding session, however after VH1's "Behind The Music" features on both Metallica and Megadeth I did not find that portion to be very interesting. After the first ten minutes the film started to get down and dirty with some of thrash metal's other pioneers.
The film is broken down into segments, with the first two segments obviously the two big Ms mentioned above. The following segments were absolutely brilliant, focusing on Exodus and their exploits in and around the LA area and their influence on a number of up-and-comers. Metallica's Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich talk in depth about the band's underground aspirations and reckless behavior. Exodus themselves are on camera and contributing tons of interview time, concentrating on Gary Holt's commentary of his band conceptions and rotations as well as the hordes of thrash bands that he performed with.
Slayer gets plenty of screen time as well with commentary from both Kerry King and Tom Araya. It was interesting to hear Dave Mustaine's comments about Kerry King's participation in Megadeth and how he (Mustaine) influenced three of the big five bands. King and Araya talk about the early days of Slayer, make-up and of course the proverbial "posers".
The film spends a great deal of time talking about the differences between the LA and San Fran scene including tons of home video and concert footage with interviews from acts like Death Angel, Testament and Vio-lence. At that point it switches to the East Coast and goes in depth with how the hardcore and punk genres defined the New York thrash sound. The cameras spend about twenty minutes on Overkill and Anthrax with commentary from Rat Skates, Bobby Gustafson, Bobby "The Blitz", Scott Ian and Charlie Benante. It was really interesting to hear from some of the newer bands coming out of the northeast like Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage and how the New York and Jersey scene influenced them.
The crossover scene is segmented briefly with D.R.I, Bio-Hazard and the various crossover acts like Suicidal Tendencies. At that point I really thought the film would wrap-up but it went even further into the thrash molding with a trip to Germany. The big three (Kreator, Sodom, Destruction) are examined with the bands talking about the US scene and the obvious influences. I thought it was very intriguing to hear from all of the genre vets both in America and Europe weighing in on the importance, talent and influence that Kreator brought to the dance. Furthermore, it was really cool to see bands like Soilwork, In Flames and Meshuggah talk about the German scene and how much it has affected their styles.
The DVD spends some brief time in Canada (no Jeff Waters or Exciter mention damnit!) before finishing up with the year 1991 and what genre professionals defined as the end of an era, culminating in Clash Of The Titans. Ian and company pounce on the grunge movement and how they were so supportive of bands like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden when it came to touring and providing opportunities for those acts to be heard. Ian made a very good point in condemning those acts for not returning the favor once they got huge.
This DVD is absolutely mandatory viewing for any heavy metal fan. It is loaded with the new, old and hot bands of metal and tons of music, footage and rare facts about the scene and its rise to glory. Get it today!!!
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