Watch the Trailer for Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story

  • Axl Rosenberg

It’s only March, but 2019 is already shaping up to be a particularly metal year at the movies — more than that, it’s shaping up to be a year in which a lot of cool books about metal get the cinematic treatment. Lords of Chaos, a biopic about the early days of Norwegian black metal based on the book by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind, came out in February; this Friday, March 22, Netflix will debut The Dirt, the long-anticipated movie adaptation of Mötley Crüe’s infamous memoir; and 4/20 (giggle) will see the premiere of Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story, based on the Bazillion Points photography collection by Brian Lew and Harald Oimoen. (If anyone feels like buying the screen rights to Hellraisers, drop me  a line.)

Fortunately, none of these movies actually overlap in subject matter. Still, Murder in the Front Row immediately sets itself apart from the pack in one regard: it’s a documentary, not a fictionalized retelling of a true story. This being the case, it includes interviews with a who’s who of Bay Area thrash legends: all four members of Metallica, all three surviving members of Slayer’s original line-up, the Megadaves (Mustaine and Ellefson), Gary Holt, Alex Skolnick, Chuck Billy, Mark Osegueda, Rick Hunolt, Robb Flynn, Phil Demmel, Steve Souza, Paul Bostaph, Larry LaLonde… shit, they even have Charlie Benante in there, and he’s not even from the Bay Area! (I assume he’ll be talking about how that scene influenced/interacted with East Coast thrash.)

Of course, endless talking heads can be boring as fuck, even with archival footage tossed in. So it’s encouraging that Murder in the Front Row was Adam Dubin, who made 1992’s A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica. Every metal fan I know who was of age when that documentary first came out (on VHS!) has watched it so many times that they can recite it from memory; it’s a true cinemetal classic. So Dubin has cred.

The trailer for Murder in the Front Row has now debuted online, via Rolling Stone. You can watch it below. It looks entertaining as fuck. But even if for some reason you have no interest in seeing this movie, you should watch it for Kerry King’s introduction alone (I won’t spoil it here). Although there’s still no word on a general release date, the film is scheduled to premiere, as I said, on 4/20 at San Francisco’s  in AMC Kabuki 8. It will be followed by a special performance by Metal Allegiance at the nearby Fillmore; Gary Holt is scheduled to join them, with additional special guests expected to appear as well.

Also, if you’ve never seen this before, you need to remedy that immediately.

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