Bay Area Godfathers

The fourth release in the "Inside Metal" series and the first not about Los Angeles, this film directed by Bob Nalbandian tells the story of how the San Francisco Bay Area metal scene coalesced and flourished in its early days (the story will continue in a "Part 2" film to be released later.) The film is presented with very little narration; instead the story is told by those who were there, luminaries like Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Steve Souza and Tom Hunting of Exodus, Y&T's Dave Meniketti, David Ellefson of Megadeth, Dave Lombardo of Slayer, Eric Peterson of Testament and lots of others, including journalists, radio personalities and scenesters. Every one of these folks exhibit great enthusiasm as they reminisce; add in the fact that these clips are excellently edited and you have a film that moves quickly, leaving the viewer rapt. Viewers will hear about all the famous bands from the scene along with important lesser-known acts like Harvey, Steele, Winterhawk, Bleufood and Violation, and learn how shows at high schools helped build the nascent scene. The importance of support from college radio and record stores like The Record Vault is touched on, and the impact of label Shrapnel Records is delved into. Other segments explore the influence of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, explain how L.A. band Metallica broke thanks to Bay Area popularity, cover the rise of thrash and the battle between thrash and punk and mainstream metal, and significantly, tells how all the area metal bands of all subgenres were supportive of each other. Music is heard primarily as background but there are plenty of brief clips of bands on stage, mosh pit action and exterior shots of nightclubs like the infamous Mabuhay Gardens. If you were there this film will have memories flooding back; if you weren't this documentary does an excellent job of showing you what it was like.

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