‘Murder in the Front Row’ offers a peek at the birth of a genre
While I’ve never been much of a music connoisseur, even I went through certain phases of musical fandom. And like just about every other kid who grew up in the sticks, I went through a heavy metal phase. As with all phases, it eventually fell by the wayside and was largely forgotten, resurfacing only when a chance radio encounter brought forth some thrashy nostalgia.
Said nostalgia received an exponential bump when “Murder in the Front Row” (Bazillion Points Press) landed in my lap. It’s essentially a coffee table book devoted to the early days of the Bay Area thrash metal scene.
And it’s even cooler than it sounds.
The majority of the photos come from the collections of a handful of enthusiasts who were vital parts of the burgeoning scene back in the early 1980s. Guys like Harald Oimoen, Brian Lew and Ron Quintana were just hardcore fans that happened to be there when metal icons such as Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth first took root in the California soil and began to blossom. It’s a moment in time, preserved by a couple of kids armed with nothing more than cameras and a deep passion for the music.
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