Get Thrashed! (2006)

After spending years analyzing political propaganda and bad philosophy, you might think that manipulation reveals itself like flatus in an elevator, but it does not. You get lulled in, doze off in your inner critical faculty, and then suddenly wake up screaming once the horror becomes too real.

Get Thrashed! oozes into a smarmy nostalgic documentary about how cool speed metal (called “thrash metal” by the Hit Parader readers who wrote it) was and how it is, like, the meaning of life, broheim, but halfway through it becomes clear what is being excluded.

Most people after all hate and fear cause-effect logic, and this documentary is no different: the cause of speed metal is, well, speed metal. But it ignores the background of the music, mostly writes thrash and punk out of the equation, and ignores the great branching in the history of metal.

To recap, in the late 1960s metal formed from proto-punk, progressive rock, heavy rock, and soundtracks. Within a decade it was sold out, and people launched hardcore punk to get back on track to outsider art, or the perspective outside the bourgeois pacifistic normie view.

This perspective, after all, is necessary for seeing more of society how it is, by seeing more of life how it is and not how it is described in social situations and advertising, because that kind of viewpoint gives metal its “heavy” approach both lyrically and artistically.

In its day, Black Sabbath was like Slayer would rather be, the non plus ultra of music, and Led Zeppelin was what Pantera would be, the groove-oriented less outsider and more just good times music. Mixing the two produced radio metal, and NWOBHM reinvented that to make it good again.

By the early 1980s, hardcore punk had hit its peak with The Exploited, Discharge, Amebix, Black Flag, Agnostic Front, and the Cro-Mags. Honing in on Discharge and The Exploited, adding a little Motorhead, the next generation of metal built on Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate, and Venom.

Speed metal was thus born in in a triune manifestation of the spirit behind metal: thrash like DRI with Violent Pacification, proto-death like Slayer with Show No mercy, and galloping speed metal like Metallica with Kill ‘Em All were all birthed in 1983.

It is worth mentioning because they always get overlooked that Hellhammer, Sodom, and Bathory were also active in this time. Combined with Slayer, these became the branch that flowered into death metal and a year later black metal.

These bands took the hardcore approach that streamlined rock into guitar music. Instead of guitars as timekeepers with vocal harmony ruling, the guitars were a melodic instrument and songs were structure after the unique expression of riff and song topic.

This got music back to a clearer state of mind, where song structure was unique to each song and the music itself did the expressing instead of the constant singing like propaganda broadcast over loudspeakers in a concentration camp for alienated dissidents.

Thrash was its own thing, basically punk bands using metal riffs to make punk less droning and one-note, and experimenting with song structure to avoid the verse-chorus pop format into which punk rock (but not punk hardcore) had fallen.

Bands like DRI, Cryptic Slaughter, Dead Horse, COC, Suicidal Tendencies, Void, MDC, Fearless Iranians From Hell, and yes even MOD/SOD took this genre into a new place. It rejected the crowd-friendly aspects of hardcore and the preening, somewhat dramatic years of glam metal in the same motion.

Thrash helped inspire the rising speed metal movement and vice-versa, and both of those influenced the proto-death/black bands that spawned many subgenres in black metal and death metal. Speed metal always wanted to be cool like thrash and edgy like death metal, but not go that far.

Trying to make this complex theory into a product, Get Thrashed! comes up with its own vision of history: speed metal created itself out of a desire to be heavy, and everything else came out of speed metal, including nü-metal and maybe even hardcore punk.

The documentary specializes in stacking excerpts of very similar interviews, most of which focus on the superficial aspects of “the scene” and the fans. If it were not for Katon de Pena and Blitz Ellsworth throwing in occasional lucid statements, this would be pure drivel.

Even worse, it falls into utter Pantera-worship based on the idea that Pantera somehow stole metal back from those evil grunge guys, and yeah, it did sort of have groove like nü-metal and wail like emo, but really it was the rebirth of thrash!

Concert shots are heavily edited into short little clips, often accompanied by the music from bands other than the one being shown, and while there are lots of cool shots of memorabilia, very little is explained beyond the few points of contact that the interview subjects had with the subject matter.

In the end, the documentary trails off in a blaze of nostalgia, fratboy alcoholism, and shell game action to explain why speed metal died in 1988 and just totally disappeared until being reborn as power metal, which gets no mention in this film despite being around at the time.

Do we hear from Iced Earth? Doomstone? Even terrible garbage like Hammerfall? No, the nostalgia truck keeps on driving like the Cliff Burton death bus, headed for the black ice of cold reason, at which point it skids off and vanishes with a crash into the credits.

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29 thoughts on “Get Thrashed! (2006)”

  1. 2023 is gay says:

    I appreciated the eloquent take against this revisionist documentary. I have been reading the DLA since 2002 and this iteration of it remains one of the few lasting places to discuss metal online that is not completely ridden with AIDS. Nearly all of the good sites and forums are gone, and the few that are still enduring are populated by zoomers who are horrified and triggered with the new album of Arghoslent.

    Keep up with the good work, prozak.

    1. Thank you for reading all these years.

    2. Svmmoned says:

      Honest question: what else is there?

      1. We are men and women against time.

        1. Savitri Devi says:

          “It is a matter of shame that even today women have to secretly go to the fields in the early morning hours or wait til evening to defecate.”

          1. I will never support freedom, but I support the chronological freedom of defecation.

  2. Lemmy says:

    Aren’t bands like DRI, COC, Fearless Iranians etc usually referred to as crossover thrash? I’m actually hard pressed to find a single source online that calls Metallica, Anthrax, Exodus etc speed metal instead of thrash metal, so it seems pointless to insist on this distinction (even if it did exist at some point). Language is a form of commonality, so why not use the widely recognized definitions?

    I’m not saying this because I like the bands you call speed metal. In fact, I agree with evetything else. It’s dull music for beer-swilling bores.

    1. Why not just bend over and let outsiders redefine anything they want for their convenience? Words have life and meaning; philology is a noble science.

  3. ASS says:

    The only form of realism that is real is the one that serves yourself – true essence of metal luciferianism, free thinking & misanthropy.

    If Brettie don’t like it because it’s not selfless enough, then he can go ahead and become a pastor, and pretend that he cares about the good things in life, whatever the fuck those are.

    1. More accurately, realism says that this is how people behave, with one wrinkle: “perceived self-interest.”

      Then we have to ask how accurately most people perceive.

      “Selfless” is not the issue; focus on the whole instead of the self is. Back to Kant: act as if your behavior archetype became universal maxim.

  4. Statement of extreme importance says:

    Sweet potatoes are for hipsters – regular potatoes taste better and the nutritional differences are trivial.

    1. I had not thought about this one, but it is probably true. People like symbolic actions like eating sweet potatoes. The bigger question is why everyone is running on carbs and sugar.

    2. Black Irish Midget Leprechaun with Leprosy says:

      Wrong. Sweet potatoes are delicious

  5. travis says:

    Good article. Might check this movie out just for the hyucks.
    Can metal ever become outsider art again? I haven’t heard enough modern death or black to know if it’s even close to that anymore.

    1. Death and black metal fit into a context that does not exist today. Back then, singing about Satan and the death of Abrahamic morality was controversial. We are now in a pluralistic state where there is no culture. How does one rebel against anti-culture? It seems to me the power metal bands have half of the equation, which is idealizing the past especially medieval era, sort of like Dead Can Dance. The other half would taking the broader Slayer-style mythological/historical view and mixing in science, like genetics and thermodynamics, to not so much rebel as assert a new order based on transcendental realism or words to that effect. Until metal is actually an outsider again, it will not wield outsider status, and is going to be further assimilated by rock music.

      1. High Speed Reality Denial says:

        Going after Islam as they did Christianity would be an interesting step, but metalheads are pussies and don’t want to be decapitated.

        1. speed > except power and trad metal says:

          Yeah, metal needs to target Islam (or any other religion besides Jesusporn really) if it wants to be truly dangerous again. Wearing a pentagram shirt today is about as controversial as wearing a rival sports team shirt. Hell, even Anthrax has pentagrams these days.

          1. There was always Thor’s Hammer, but I would prefer a generalized crusade against symbolic reality and social acceptance. Only the Finns could do this.

            1. A Finn says:

              Why the Finns of all people?

              1. The Finns have preserved the original cave-dwelling Cro-Magnid outlook: antisocial, transcendental, realist, but also playful. They do this by avoiding American-style social pressures, which requires living in a frozen wasteland next to subhuman Russians.

              2. Puff Daddy says:

                Because our ideas about Scandinavia turned out to be wrong, so now we project our hopes and dreams onto an even more obscure little country before we figure out what it’s really like. Do you know what I am saying?

                1. No point projecting. There is something in the Finnish outlook that would be needed here.

              3. Enrique says:

                They’re all Marko Laiho and Antti Boman clones, you see. (Women don’t exist over there.)

                1. I was thinking more Sofia Karppi and Sakari Nurmi.

        2. Powerpuff Ghoul says:

          Christianity is part of Western culture and something everyone could relate to. Islam is still too much Other to be an equivalent.

  6. Gotcha says:

    Yeah while I’m listening to music about decapitating fetuses and mass destruction in the name of satan, I’m also talking about eugenics, politics, kittens and saving the planet.

    Brett & the gang = fucking hippie posers – you’re the opposite of true extreme metal (DIE DIE DIE!)

  7. what says:

    Murder in the Front Row is a much better documentary on the same topic.

  8. speed metal > all except power and trad. says:

    Get Thrashed is a decent documentary. I like it, but I don’t love it. It’s derailed by the from-out-of-nowhere rap metal worship, and this was in 2006 when any mention of that was supposed to get you killed. Nice job Rick. I can picture retarded documentarians pulling that shit now, but then? Ridiculous. Scott Ian sucking up to Pantera was also a stretch, but I guess it paid off for Charlie now didn’t it. BangerTV’s Metal Evolution Thrash episode was a little more logical with post-thrash, choosing to highlight At The Gates and melodic death metal as thrash’s offspring (not a fan of it, but still better than Dan Lilker going “Slipknot’s a good band too.”), but even that was ruined by Lars Ulrich’s corporate hogwash that made you wish Nathan Gale shot him in the head instead of Dimebag.

    You do make a good point about needing interviews from power metal bands like Iced Earth and Blind Guardian, especially since speed/thrash is the biggest influence on that 90s power metal scene. Much more so than mouth-breathers like Corey Taylor and Sully Erna (who was only in there for like 15 seconds, what was even the point).

    Incidentally, Hellhammer and Sodom were mention in the special features of the DVD, although not Celtic Frost.

    The perfect speed metal/thrash metal documentary hasn’t been made yet, but there have been so many at this point that I don’t want another one.

    1. It seems to me that speed metal died in about 1988, and then came back in a mellower form as power metal, probably inspired by Judas Priest Painkiller simply because it is awesome. Half of the story of speed metal then happened recently and yes, this seemed a glaring omission. Also what about all the speed metal bands that just kept barfing out material? It was not all bad. Not enough mention of Sacrifice or Fates Warning either as influences on later speed metal and power metal. I can see a lot of Swedish melodic death metal as being an extension of speed metal since most of it came from Merciless, later very heavy metal styled bands like Dissection. Somehow the first Necrophobic, Uncanny, and Sacramentum get overlooked, mainly because starting with With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness At the Gates had a much more speed metal sound, sort of comparable to Malleus Maleficarum. Everyone wanted to do what was succeeding, so bands imitated Metallica and, later, Pantera, much like too much of death metal tried to be Cannibal Corpse. I think Lilker just tries to be open-minded about music and was making the point that Slipknot are not musically incompetent, even if most of us think they are tards at art itself.

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