I started writing this and abandoned it, but in order to maintain a semblance of sanity I need to write this to get it out of my head.
This concerns a documentary about Cliff Burton. His sister Connie tells stories about him.
I’m familiar with the subject. I feel that Cliff often get an uncritical treatment by fans, so knowledge about his everyday life could help to counteract this. He was a creative and unique player, but no übermensch.
I admire most things old school thrash metal and the cultures that it sprung up in. People often talk about the bands in the American big four as being of particular significance and Cliff was in one of them.
A simplified version I wish people would let go of. In short, thrash wasn’t uniquely American, even in that context thrash couldn’t be fully understood without bands like Exodus. The genre’s innovations are not exclusive to four bands.
Cliff seemed to disregard most trends. Even when peers questioned his band’s choices within the burgeoning movement. If there was a central theme to Burton honesty was probably it. There was no “image” and I don’t think that is the retrofitted rosy-eyed version. The thrash metal ethos is similar: don’t pose, hide behind an image or write songs about it. Burton became a symbol for the attitude. Exodus’ Paul Baloff was another one.
Firstly, little about the above is mentioned. It’s not a documentary but an interview with Connie coupled with Christian views of Cliff’s music. That’s fine, but presenting it as anything else is dishonest. Most people on-screen use Christ as a point of departure. It’s not an unbiased account of events. The movie was posted by a Christian pundit and the cheap landing page doesn’t provide context. “BurStock Productions” seem created for the purpose of the movie. There’s no way around it, you’re being dishonest, you’re posturing and you seem painfully aware of the fact.
Connie’s stories and views of her brother are truly interesting. I wish they were given more space. No one can deny her the right to talk about events as she perceived them. They could’ve left it at that, but Christ continuously overshadows Cliff.
Early on she says something like: “I don’t know much about Cliff’s beliefs”. Actually including that and using the remaining time to force a Christian connection is cheap. If that’s on the her or someone else is hard to tell. She’s not the editor and I can’t find any previous work of hers. I’ll cautiously assume she wasn’t editing.
“To Live is to Die”’s lyrics, which could be construed as Christian, serves as the general theme. They could be seen as Buddhist or agnostic as well. We can’t ask the author his purpose, so such claims are arbitrary.
The last 20 minutes or so completely abandons Cliff. From then on it’s about Christ. By all means, create Christian videos, but don’t force any relation or attribute events as Cliff’s death to god otherwise.
How ‘Salvation Kingdom’ was deemed proper for release is beyond me. Calling it a documentary is false. If honesty is a characteristic of thrash metal and Cliff, this movie fails horribly at honoring that. Analyze his life in any way you see fit but state your purpose clearly. Don’t hide it.
Here’s my pseudo-Christian take on it: don’t deceive people like Lucifer, bear false witness or claim to know the mind of god. If you fail at that who are you to convince me of your faith? Let somebody else do it and for god’s sake: don’t record your mess.