Metallica Thrash on Film

New documentary shines light on Eighties metal

Interviews with members of Metallica, Godsmack, Disturbed, Anthrax, Slipknot, Kittie, Meshuggah and other hard rocking bands past and present will be featured in the upcoming documentary Get Thrashed. Director Rick Ernst, a long-time freelance producer for MTV, conceived of the idea to profile the thrash metal scene of the early Eighties and its impact on the music since, using interviews, live performances and archival footage. Ernst expects the film to air before year's end.

"You had Metallica, Megadeth and Exodus in San Francisco, Slayer in L.A., Anthrax in New York," says Ernst. "These bands took it to the next level in terms of extremes. They played faster, heavier and louder than anybody had before, and they were trying to play faster, louder and heavier than each other."

Slayer singer Tom Araya vividly recalls the time before metal became mainstream. "What I remember most about the early days was that we did a lot of things ourselves," he says. "We were very independent. We drove in a car or a van, with a U-Haul. We had two people working as a crew. Everybody worked. Everybody drove. Everybody did their share."

While it's clear early mixed-genre pairings such as Anthrax and Public Enemy's version of "Bring the Noise" helped spawn the rap-metal of recent years, Ernst is keen to point out thrash metal's impact on grunge as well.

"People seem to forget that one of Alice in Chains' first national tours was the Clash of the Titans, opening up for Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax in '91," Ernst says. "That was at the height of the whole thrash scene. I remember going to Madison Square Garden and it was sold out and Alice in Chains was opening. Everybody was like, 'What the fuck? Why isn't Testament or Suicidal Tendencies on there?' The first time I saw Soundgarden, they were opening for Voivod. The thrash bands took out the grunge bands and exposed them to a larger audience."