It’s the only way – Characters, Tragedy and Success

Murder In The Front Row – The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story (2019)


Many myths are told around the roots of Extreme Metal and many legends were there and were very young, when it all began. And some those stories behind the origin and the people, who inveted it all, are told in this documentary.

Murder In The Front Row“ is based on the book of the same name, that already gave a deep insight with rare pictures and comments on the scene of the San Francisco Bay Area, the broiling birthplace of a phenomenon they named Thrash Metal. It is a history with a lot of values and messages, a history of family, friendship and music.

Before there were Diamond Head, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden or the Scorpions. But the youth at the westcoast was longing for more. And so the demonstrate something very important: If you want something to happen, you have to do it on your own. Like this, Kirk Hammett tells, that he basically had two things in life: the music and friends. And they were there for each other.

So we learn a lot about the main actors of Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica, where Cliff Burton holds a special place and his parents and girlfriend have their say. Another big part is the influence of Exodus and other bands like Testament and, what Robb Flynn entitles the Third Wave like Death Angel, Possessed, Vio-lence or Forbidden.

New music is spread at stores like the Record Vault, via tape trading, the fanzine Metal Mania or the radio KUSF. The protagonists share their experiences from gig venues, a first festival featuring likes of Suicidal Tendencies, partying at the parking lot, fist fights, photo shootings in the backyard of the Metal Mum who payed guitar lessons by Joe Satriani and much more.

Spots like this the community counts as a safe place, where differences are non-relevant. The documentary of course shows pictures from the book and includes animations with toy cars and drawings. Where other films like „A Headbanger’s Journey“ give a great overview, here you get a really fascinating, inspiring and touching insight into the scene that started everything.