The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story

Murder in the Front Row

Take a trip to San Francisco in the early 1980’s for the premiere of the wide release of Adam Dubin’s uncensored and boisterous documentary chronicling the rise of Bay Area thrash metal. Featuring interviews with Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament and Death Angel, Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story vibrantly documents a musical genre and counterculture in its embryonic stage while utilizing powerful first-person testimony, stunning animation,  and narration by comedian Brian Posehn.

In the early 1980’s, a small group of dedicated Bay Area headbangers shunned the hard rock of MTV and Hollywood hairspray bands in favor of a more dangerous brand of metal that became known as thrash. From the tape trading network to the clubs to the record stores and fanzines, we see how the scene nurtured the music and the music spawned a movement. Based on the 2012 photo-journal by Harald Oimoen and Brian Lew, Murder in the Front Row not only pays tribute to the titans of thrash metal, but also sheds light on the musicians who did not achieve similar success but influenced the genre nonetheless.


“In The mid-Eighties, as hair metal was taking over MTV, a new breed of faster, louder, angst-ier, hard rock exploded out of the Bay Area, led by poseur-hating acts like Metallica and Slayer. Featuring new interviews and classic live footage, this is a fun history of a tight-knit scene that birthed scads of followers.”Rolling Stone

“In his new documentary, Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story, filmmaker Adam Dubin revisits the earliest days of a genre that would permanently alter the course of heavy metal.”Billboard

“Narrated by comedian and metal-head Brian Posehn, the rockumentary contains interviews from almost every living major player from the Bay Area thrash metal movement— Metallica’s James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, Testament’s Alex Skolnick, Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine.”Playlist Review