Get Thrashed (2006)

Mitchell

directed by Rick Ernst
With members of Overkill, Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus, Anthrax, Slayer, and a bunch of other bands.

One of the best music documentaries I’ve seen. The film-makers really hit the major themes and they got ahold of some great footage from the early days of thrash metal. The interviews are the highlight, and while some of the major players’ memories seem a bit exaggerated (especially Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine), hearing the story of this underground music from the mouths of those who created it and lived it is very, very cool. One funny moment: throughout the film, reference is made to the Big Four, which any metal fan will tell you is Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax. One guy, in telling a story, makes reference to the Big Five. Big Five? Who the heck is the fifth? I’m thinking Exodus, if anyone, but I think he meant Overkill, which is pretty dang funny. But you see? That’s what we’re dealing with here: The kind of adoring fandom that marks this kind of music. What I love is that bands tended to be each other’s hugest supporters; they were the biggest fans of the music.

Two highlights for me were hearing about the Clash of the Titans tour (Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth with Alice and Chains as the opener) from the guys who saw it, and the really cool section about life on the road. These bands were struggling to make it in a completely non-lucrative genre, and the way they describe what they had to go through just to get in front of audiences is heart-breaking. You realize that it’s just love of the music that kept the survivors going. People say grunge killed thrash, but from the sound of things, maybe it was life on the road.

It was cool hearing from Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, and I liked what the guys in Death Angel had to say. There wasn’t enough mention of Dark Angel (one of my faves) for my tastes, but that doesn’t keep this from being a terrific chronicle of a scene so many people don’t know (or care) about.

8/10 and probably in my top 10 documentaries of all time.

Forgot to add another highlight: Hearing from the founders of Metal Blade and Megaforce records was really cool. They were just fans of the music, record-store owners and tape-traders, but they believed so much in the music that they each (one on each coast) put their money where their mouth was and got these bands recorded. I’d never really considered the role of these record labels on the whole scene, so it was cool to hear about it from them and from the musicians who are clearly grateful for them.

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