There has been such a massive amount written about "Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal" — and the critical reaction has pretty much been raving across the board – that it almost seems anti-climatic to talk about the recent DVD release. On the other hand, the scores of folks who didn't have the pleasure of seeing the film, now get the chance to own the DVD, one that is not only essential for any fan of metal, but also an 11th commandment for thrash denizens. As for my take on the DVD, I find the documentary as stupendous as the rest of the critical world.
In countless ways, what really makes "Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal" so engrossing is the way it makes the viewer feel. Writer/director Rick Ernst has pieced it together with so many vintage — often black and white photos — and gritty live videos that one is transported back to 1985 to absorb ever sweat-drenched and bloody ounce of energy that permeated the scene. For those of us that were around when it happened, the accounts are strikingly accurate and the mood conveyed 100 percent genuine. The excitement of a style carved out of punk's speed and heavy metal's muscle is captured in tales told by the numerous scene veterans (Gary Holt, Kirk Hammett, Katon W. De Pena, Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, Lars Ulrich, Scott Ian, Mille Petrozza, etc), new school luminaries like MERCILESS DEATH, modern metal stalwarts such as SHADOWS FALL, and critics like Ian Christe. From the pit violence, to the denim-and-leather fashion, to the explosive scene pockets (L.A., New York, Europe, etc), to the pinnacle Clash of the Titans tour event, to the blistering music, the DVD is a sure bet to send viewers running for their vinyl collections.
Equally impressive is the manner in which Ernst squeezes in the most relevant commentary from the seemingly endless amount of interview footage, which must have been an absolute bitch to sort. The mission was to tell the story of thrash, which doesn't mean highlighting every musician that ever wore a patch-covered, sleeveless denim jacket over a leather coat. Obviously, it is impossible to please everyone, especially when your favorite band doesn't get the time you think it deserves, but Ernst gets around it with a bonus segment that covers damn near everyone else, albeit in briefer segments. To name just a handful: TESTAMENT, VIO-LENCE, FORBIDDEN, HEATHEN, DARK ANGEL, POSSESSED, HIRAX, VOIVOD, SODOM, AGENT STEEL, OVERKILL, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, WHIPLASH, HALLOWS EVE, and ANVIL. The bonus segment also includes examinations of scenes from other parts of the world, such as Canada and Germany. Director's commentary rounds out the bonus features.
It is unlikely I've told most of you anything that you haven't already heard. For the remaining few, your mission is a simple one: purchase "Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal" as soon as humanly possible.