JANUARY 15th 2018


Throughout history, the San Francisco Bay Area has long been deemed as the epicenter for thrash metal, whereas Los Angeles has invariably been considered the stomping ground for glam and hair metal. True, San Francisco has birthed many exceptional thrash bands since the early ‘80s, but the fact remains – Los Angeles is the rightful birthplace of three of the “Big 4” thrash bands and is the breeding grounds for unconventional thrash/punk-metal bands. From legendary thrash icons Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth, to punk/metal renegades Suicidal Tendencies and combative thrash stalwarts Dark Angel and Hirax, they all generated from this pretentious, megalopolis hellhole we call Los Angeles.

MetalRock Films is thrilled to release a new two-part Inside Metal documentary DVD series exploring this topic, entitled The Rise of L.A. Thrash Metal. The first DVD in the two-part set is set for release on January 19, 2018. Directed by Bob Nalbandian with narration by David Ellefson of thrash legends Megadeth, the documentary focuses on the Los Angeles thrash metal uprising of the early/mid ‘80s and acts as a follow-up to the first two Inside Metal titles, The Pioneers of LA Hard Rock & Metal and LA Metal Scene Explodes.

Interview By: Metal Mom

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Music Entertainment Worldwide, we are here today with director, Bob Nalbandian, to chat about the first of a two-part DVD and the third installment in the Inside Metal series, which could be the most compelling, to be released January 19th titled “The Rise of L.A. Thrash Metal”

The obvious first question, what made you decide to do a documentary on Thrash Metal out of LA, based on the early/mid 80’s?

Well “The Rise of L.A. Thrash Metal” is the 3rd title in the INSIDE METAL series. We did this based on the ‘80s L.A. Metal scene. We decided to do L.A. because that’s where I was born and bred but also the fact that the thrash bands in L.A. during the ’80s I feel were sorely overlooked. Our next INSIDE METAL title will on the S.F. Bay Area scene.

Was it easy to have these artists on the DVD, since you previously did a lot of interviews in the past?

Yes, I’ve been doing interviews with rock/metal bands since 1982 so I had already known most of the artists and industry people involved in the movie so It was really just a matter of calling them up and arranging the interview.

With all the thrash bands these days, do you think you could possibly tell the story of all Thrash bands? Or is it more important to reflect on bands that influenced the genre?

We realize there’s no way I, or anyone for that matter can tell the story of “all” thrash bands in a single movie or even series of movies. Our focus for this film obviously was to reflect on who we felt were the most influential thrash musicians and supporters (the fanzine journalists, indie record execs, radio DJ’s etc) of the L.A. thrash metal movement during the early/mid ‘80s. Of course back then the term “thrash metal” was never used. Back then it was referred to as “Speed Metal.”

How did you pick David Ellefson over others to narrate? (great choice by the way)

I’ve been good friends with David for many years, ever since he first joined Megadeth. And David was one of the key musicians during that scene, not to mention he has a great speaking voice and is very well versed in doing narration.

Now you have some pretty impressive names on this DVD, like Brian Slagel (Metal Blade Records), Chris Poland (Megadeth) Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Eric Peterson (Testament), Frank Bello (Anthrax) Marty Friedman, Lars Ulrich (Metallica), and so so many more, how do you manage to get all these artists and have a sit down to chat?

Again, most those artists I’ve known or have been friends with for years. And some of the latter interviewed artists that I didn’t know were familiar with the previous Inside Metal movies and really wanted to be a part of it. I’ve known Lars before he actually formed Metalica and I knew Brian Slagel before Metal Blade and also knew all the Slayer guys when they played local Orange County Clubs and I actually managed Marty just prior to him joining Megadeth (in fact, I was the person responsible for getting Marty in Megadeth). I’ve got a long history with the L.A. Metal community from my early ‘80s metal fanzine “The Headbanger”.

How long did it take you to put this DVD together, from your first thought to the final product?

Well, we started doing interviews for the INSIDE METAL project in 2012, and we already released the first two Inside Metal titles, and we’re releasing this third title, “The Rise of L.A. Thrash Metal”, on January 19th. Part two of the movie will be released on April 3rd (all of the Inside Metal titles are two volumes each).

What was the most difficult thing about putting this together?

I would definitely say the editing process. Going through hours upon hours of footage and editing out the best quotes and then having to sequence them so they properly flow in the movie. Thankfully, I had some great people involved in this process, the co-producer Carl Alvarez helped me greatly on this as well as the editor Curtis Don Vito.

You must have a great response to these DVD’s otherwise you wouldn’t do it, but what gives you the push to keep going, to give us these inside looks?

Yes, the response to all the titles thus far has been really positive and we are so overwhelmed by the support we’ve received. What really keeps us going and excited is the fact that we’re documenting a huge part of American cultural history, and that’s really an honor to do. We, the Inside Metal staff, have a great deal of integrity when it comes to Inside Metal and we all grew up and were a part of that era it’s about the love and dedication.

Thrash these days is a big genre, and fans love it, do you personally enjoy the thrash scene?

Yes I still love it. The thrash scene has changed immensely over the years but the music and the attitude from both the artists and fans has changed very little. It’s still a very exciting scene and is thriving now more than ever before.

Now this is a 2-part DVD, is that because there is just so many bands to talk about? I am sure there is more, so how do you pick the bands to concentrate on?

Yes, that’s basically the case. These titles weren’t originally planned to be two volumes, but after Carl and I started to edited all the quotes and piece them together we realized that we just couldn’t fit them all in a single movie or DVD as it was running close to three hours. So rather than editing the movie down to 90 minutes and losing some crucial interview footage, our executive producer Warren Croyle suggested we make it a two-volume movie. So all the Inside Metal titles are two-volumes which I think was a great suggestion from Warren.

You say that the big 4 originate from LA, true, but what about the people who feel San Francisco is the originating city?  

What is stated in our press release is that “3 of the Big 4” originate from Los Angeles, that of course being Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth (as we all know, Anthrax are from N.Y.). This is the band’s origins, Metallica did several shows in Los Angeles before migrating to SF and Slayer are still based in L.A. So we’re not saying that the “thrash scene” originated in L.A., just that 3 of the Big 4 bands originated in Los Angeles.

Is there anyone that you would like to have had on this DVD, but it just didn’t work out for whatever reason?

So many of the thrash bands from the early ‘80s are still active today and touring more than ever before so it was hard to get certain artists or band members do to their busy schedule. It would have been great to get some other big name thrash artists like Kerry King, Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield, but of course they are incredibly busy and we were fortunate to get other key members from those bands so it all worked out great.

You have done this DVD on Thrash, so please define, in your opinion, what makes thrash metal, “thrash?” Since there are some bands out there categorized as thrash, but I personally, don’t hear it.

Well, I think “thrash metal” music may have changed a bit over the years, especially when it comes to the younger bands. Now there’s so many sub-categories like Death Metal, Black Metal, Grind-core, Melodic Thrash, Progressive Thrash or Math Metal, etc… and they all derived from “thrash metal.” Back in the early ‘80s when bands like Metallica, Slayer, Suicidal, Megadeth and Anthrax first started out, the term “thrash metal” hadn’t yet been coined. It was all considered “Speed Metal” back then, and that included a lot of NWOBHM bands and European bands like Motorhead, Tank, Raven, and Accept, as well as certain songs by Saxon, Iron Maiden, Diamond Head etc. And then you have Venom and Mercyful Fate come out that took the music to another extreme, which was coined “Black Metal.” This all came about in Europe before any of the Big 4 of US thrash metal was conceived. So you can say these European bands were the true pioneers of what became thrash metal. Yet many today would consider bands like that as thrash. So it’s all a personal choice of “what is thrash and what isn’t.” This movie concentrates on the “birth” of thrash metal which is why we interview members of Raven, Diamond Head and Accept in this film, as they inspired all the US thrash bands who would form a year or two later.

What do you think makes Thrash a strong genre in metal? It has been popular for years.

It’s an aggressive form of music with a lot of attitude. And people are always looking for that and that’s why this genre has survived for nearly 4 decades. Not many music forms have not only survived that long, but are now bigger than ever before. Thrash Metal was super underground when it started in the early ‘80s, none of the bands got any mainstream media attention (until years later when Metallica broke). You take a look at the most popular mainstream musical genres of the late ‘70s and ‘80s, whether it be Disco, New Wave, Mod, Ska or whatever? They all died out within a few years yet thrash as has survived and thrived 35 years later and is stronger than ever before!

Do you have plans to do more of these metal genre DVD’s?

We’re currently editing the S.F. Bay Area Inside Metal documentary and that should be released later in the year. As for others, we’ll have to wait and see. I would love to do an Inside Metal title on the NWOBHM!

Remember, January 19th is the release date for part one of The Rise of L.A. Thrash Metal and will be available at record stores, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, PPV and most other digital outlets.

Pre -Order Link Here: