With the rock-crit establishment turning up its collective nose at thrash, the task of documenting the Bay Area’s ’80s metal maelstrom for posterity has been left to fans. Brian Lew and Harald Oimoen – two thrash survivors who snapped countless shots of the unruly, burgeoning scene – are doing just that with their recently released book, “Murder in the Front Row,” a photographic odyssey through the inception of Bay Area thrash.
“The thrash scene, as far as metal goes, is one of the most influential scenes ever,” Lew says. With its insistence on pushing metal to new extremes, thrash prefigured all the genres that would crop up in its wake, including death metal, black metal and any other style that ratchets up the revolting possibilities inherent in heavy metal. “A lot of it started here, and it’s not really known.”
With contemporary music fragmenting into ever more insular subgenres, thrash metal’s legacy seems more salient than ever. – SFGATE