Get Thrashed:
The Story of Thrash Metal


"GET THRASHED is a must see no matter what kind of music you’re into.”

Scott Ian / Anthrax 

About the Film

GET THRASHED: THE STORY OF THRASH METAL is the award winning documentary film which traces the rise, fall and impact of thrash metal; from its early years, through its influence on grunge, nu metal and today’s heavy metal scene. It is the story of the heaviest, hardest music of the 80s and early 90s as told by the bands that lived it, the fans and bands that grew up on it and the artists that carry the “thrash metal” flag today. 

The GET THRASHED journey begins in the early 80s, where Metallica and several other bands laid the groundwork for what would become a lasting impression on the face of heavy metal music. These bands helped ignite local scenes in Los Angeles, the Bay area of Northern California and New York City, which helped fuel a worldwide, thrash metal movement. By the dawn of the 1990’s, thrash bands had gone from playing backyard BBQ parties to headlining arenas and Metallica were on their way to becoming one of the biggest metal acts of all time. But as legions of headbanging, stage diving and moshing metalheads were flocking to see their favorite bands, the musical tides had begun to change. In the early 90’s, an evolving musical landscape sent thrash metal spiraling back into the underground. Some bands broke up, some artists returned to their day jobs and some passed away. While the music lived on, the scene was forever changed. 

Slayer plays in the basement of Metal Joe from the Old Bridge Militia in NJ

The Soundtrack

GET THRASHED throws new light on an overlooked, yet incredible music scene and how it went from a simple rumbling in the underground to a loud, obnoxious roar in the (almost) mainstream.

GET THRASHED features the music of and interviews with members of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Slipknot, Pantera, Exodus, Anthrax, Lamb of God, Testament, Overkill, Godsmack, Municipal Waste, Kreator, Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed, Killswitch Engage, Sepultura, Shadows Fall, Nuclear Assault, Death Angel, Vio-lence, Destruction, Sodom, DRI, In Flames, Chimaira, Biohazard, Hirax, Meshuggah, The Haunted, Kittie, Heathen, Ulysses Siren, Warning SF, Soilwork, Dark Angel, Strapping Young Lad, Brian Slagel (Metal Blade Rcords), Jon & Marsha Zazula (ex-Megaforce Records), DJ Will (KNAC), Eddie Trunk (VH1 Classic), Ian Christe (author - Sound of The Best), Steven Blush (author - American Hardcore), Ron Quintana (Rampage Radio) and introducing the music of The Fall, Steve Cone, Concrete Coffin, Osmium, Kaos, Viscid, Kron, Exit to Eternity, Urto, Response Negative and Nocturnal Fear.

*Brilliant soundtrack. GET THRASHED: THE STORY OF THRASH METAL is a must see!

Marcel / Metalstorm Magazine


*The film offers a glimpse at a vibrant, sometimes violent subculture, that, for a moment in time, appeared ready to take over the world.

Jon Wiederhorn / Revolver Magazine


*Rick Ernst manages to not only capture the excitement of the thrash metal scene, he also finds a unique way of breaking the film up that will give those not familiar with thrash metal the chance to understand it.

Iann Robinson / MTV News

* **** 

*The viewer feels actually thrashed, totally beaten up, steamrolled and willing to immediately form a metal band after watching the film.

MOX - Germany - City Magazine

* **** 

*Rick Ernst has managed to capture the spirit of a metal phenomenon while addressing its influence on today’s metal scene. I for one could not be more fired up!

Gary Holt / Exodus 


  *This is mandatory viewing.

Danny Lilker / Nuclear Assault


  Wow! What a kick ass effort! This is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen on heavy metal.

Sean Cowie /

The Photographers

800 photos

 The driving "visual force" in the movie are the approximately 800 photos that were used in GET THRASHED: THE STORY OF THRASH METAL. The photographers who put aside their headbanging, moshing & stage diving tendencies to document the burgeoning thrash scene in the 1980's deserve a lot of credit. Without their pictures and desire to be a part of heavy metal history, GET THRASHED may not have been possible.
The work of some of the photographers who contributed to the film appear here. 

Ron Akiyama

 RON AKIYAMA - For over 25 years, Ron Akiyama has found the perfect combination of photography and music. What started as a hobby to provide a visual reminder of sitting close to his favorite rock bands eventually became much, much more. “I always felt there was a major difference between just taking pictures of a concert and “capturing” the feeling of actually being there” says Ron. “The results of a great shot should make anyone feel like they are right there, front row center, enjoying the show the way I did. This also means the performer must also look like they are giving 110%. It should be the way they see themselves. It is a tough combination. Not as easy as it seems. In the age of digital, everyone takes pictures. This to me is only half the story. You should also have a business sense, patience, timing, be able to adapt and adjust in seconds, a little luck, and most of all, know your subject. My hats off to all music photographers who continue to capture these images throughout the years, and to the photographers starting out who want to do the same.”

In his 25 year career, Ron Akiyama has shot for Bruce Springsteen, Megaforce Atlantic, Epic Records, Overkill, Anthrax, Ace Frehley,  Danzig, MOD, SOD, Prong, Testament, Megadeth, Kings X, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and many more. 

Harald Oimen


HARALD O - If you attended a thrash show in the Bay area in the 80's, you probably know the name and/or face of Harald O. He was the unofficial photographer of the scene back in the day and took hundreds of photos of Metallica, Megadeth and others. His photos have appeared on albums like Exodus' Bonded By Blood, Slayer's Hell Awaits, Metallica's Ride the Lightning and others. His name was even immortalized in song by the Metallica side project/bastard child band Spastic Children. The sights, sounds & stories he has about the early years of the thrash scene are the stuff books are made of ... and one was! Harald was co-author of the awesome book, "Murder in the Front Row".

Harald also played bass for DRI from 1999-2017. Much thanks to him for BEING THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHER to sign on and to allow us to use his photos in the documentary. I am eternally grateful!

Frank White


FRANK WHITE - When he started taking photos at shows he attended as a teenager in the mid 70's, Frank White couldn't have imagined he'd eventually be called "The Legend" by his comrades in the photo world. One of the most prolific

photographers from the NY/NJ area, Frank taught himself the business and turned his hobby into a career. He started shooting thrash bands in 1982 and continues to travel the world shooting metal bands. His photos have appeared in magazines like Guitar World, Circus, Kerrang, Hit Parader, Kick Ass Monthly, Cream, Revolver and others. 

Kevin Hodapp


Kevin Hodapp is a NJ based photographer who was one of the few East Coast guys to snap pics of Metallica when they first came to NY/NJ.

The Old Bridge Militia

At the forefront of the East Coast thrash movement, the Old Bridge Militia were simply a group of kids who loved heavy metal. They opened their homes to bands like Metallica and Slayer as they toured the East Coast for the first time and are immortalized in many album credits. Check out their website by clicking on the link below.

Growing up Metal

Rick in the MTV2 Studio with Martin Ain and Tom G. Warrior from Celtic Frost.

A note from Director Rick Ernst ... 

As a teenager growing up on Long Island in the 1980's, I spent most of my time listening to heavy metal. Bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and others introduced me to a world of long hair and leather jackets. Then along came thrash metal, which was heavy metal taken to the next level. When I first heard it, I was repulsed. The music was SO FAST, the lyrics were unintelligible and the stuff you could make out was downright frightening. Bands like Metallica, Slayer, Overkill and Exodus were singing about Satan, death, destruction, nuclear war, killing and mayhem. Their live shows, filled with headbanging, stage diving and mosh pits also added to the danger .... and allure of the music. Like so many other kids from the suburbs who grew up on Sabbath, Priest and Maiden, I fell in love with this angry, aggressive and 'ugly' music known as thrash metal. Why?

That’s the question Get Thrashed sets out to answer. For me, it was important to document this incredible scene to show others who missed out and to highlight thrash metal's influence on grunge, death metal and many other new forms of music. For thrash fans, it’s hard to put into words what the music means to us. I hope Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal provides the words, the sounds and the pictures to explain to the world how all us fans feel.

Filming Get Thrashed

Rick with Bobby "Blitz" Elsworth from Overkill. One of the first interviews conducted for Get Thrashed, and the only one to be conducted in the artist's home!

Wildwood, NJ 1990

Stylin' in my Destruction shirt which I still have today!

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