‘Murder In The Front Row: Shots From The Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter’

By on 16 April 2013

Murder In The Front Row

‘Murder In The Front Row: Shots From The Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter’

Harald Oimoen & Brian Lew


Wow! Just ‘Wow!’ Yes, it seems a tad hysterical, but there’s not many other ways to react to this book if you’re a fan of Eighties thrash metal; it will drop through your letter box (well, it probably won’t fit, because it’s so damn big) and you will vanish behind a closed door with it and no one will see you for weeks. This is a gift from the metal gods themselves, I shit you not.

Authors Harald Oimoen and Brian Lew were fortunate enough to be hanging around the Bay Area when some of the most influential American metal bands ever were in their formative years, and not only did they witness their early shows, hang out with them and party with them, they were great photographers and captured it all on film. And finally those pictures see the light of day; this book really captures the camaraderie, the chaos, the excitement, the whole crazy vibe of the metal scene in the Bay Area.

Please note it’s not a book of photos of only Bay Area bands, but also bands that came and played there regularly, hence the inclusion of Slayer and Megadeth and DRI etc. The images are all wonderful quality, and the production values are high, and you can totally immerse yourself in 280 pages of classic evocative moments out of time: Metallica’s first rehearsal with Cliff Burton in the front room of their communal house, Cliff’s first bass solo with the band, Mustaine’s last San Francisco gig with them, Megadeth when Kerry King was playing with them, Anthrax’s disastrous first San Francisco show, Paul Baloff going nuts with his head in a PA stack… Paul Baloff going nuts everywhere actually… an underage Death Angel gurning from the front row of the crowd in Ruthie’s Inn, Slayer playing an aquatic park with Suicidal Tendencies, behind the scenes on a Possessed photo shoot, Testament when they were called Legacy, Dave Lombardo shouting all the words from the pit of a DRI show (now you know why Slayer were so fast…), a drunk Jaymz Hetfield on the toilet – with guitar!, Lars Ulrich gurning, of course (but before we all got annoyed at the twat), and Heathen and Vio-lence and Spastik Children and Blind Illusion, and more hanging-out-drinking-backstage photos, spandex trousers and empty beer bottles than you can count… but every single page is a delight regardless.

And if the pictures weren’t enough, you get revealing recollections from Ron Quintana, Gary Holt, Robb Flynn and Alex Skolnick. It’s basically a total thrash metal overload, and if you’re a fan of the genre you need this book in your life right now.



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