When the term “thrash metal” comes up, you are likely to think of “The Big Four”. Even though Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax — the Bay Area-related bands which make up the aforementioned Big Four — were at top of the thrash genre in the commercial sense, Los Angeles was where a lot of key thrash groups originated. As the name of this documentary would suggest, Inside Metal: The Rise of L.A. Thrash Metal primarily focuses on the city of Los Angeles’ overall contribution to the genre, but also delves into the history of the genre as a whole.

Inside Metal is a well-researched documentary, as it goes straight to the source to get the overall story of L.A. thrash. Interview subjects include past and present members of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Testament, Dark Angel, Armored Saint, Body Count, Alice In Chains, Raven, Diamond Head, and Accept. Some music industry veterans — including Metal Blade Records’ Brian Slagel — are also involved as talking heads. Led by a narrator (which appears to be John Bush of Armored Saint), the documentary melds together those interviews, archival footage and all sorts of photos you probably have never seen before. Beyond the documentary itself, the DVD includes deleted scenes among its special features.

What keeps Inside Metal from being a perfect 10 out of 10 is its production. Some of the footage, including its newly-done interviews, is grainy. There is background music used regularly, but none of it is the thrash genre classics that you would expect. Furthermore, while there is participation from people who played with major bands, it isn’t necessarily the key members you would be hoping for. But all of those “complaints” are meant to be minor criticisms, because this documentary provides an original take on the L.A.-based thrash metal scene. The story flows, the subject matter is well-researched, and the content is interesting. Thus, if you know anyone that is a die-hard thrash metal fan, this is likely to be essential viewing for them.

Run Time: 90 minutes
Release Date: January 19, 2018
Production Company: MetalRock Films

Check out the trailer from Inside Metal here.