Veteran music photographers Harald Oimen and Brian Lew have been capturing the essence of metal bands in the Bay area for over three decades.

Getting their start alongside fledgling bands who’s names you might now recognize, Oimen and Lew were constantly in the front lines, cameras in tow. They captured early glimpses both onstage and off of the bands that forged the genre now widely known as thrash including Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, Testament, and Death Angel, just to name a few.

Chronicling the birth of thrash metal through their intimate photos, the work of Oimen and Lew takes music fans back to a time when Metallica and Slayer could play club shows to a growing, rabid fan base longing for something new in the music world. Bands like Exodus, D.R.I., Testament were reigning kings at the time, and are still heralded for their contributions to the scene.

Now, years later, when many of these bands have moved on to super stardom, Oimen and Lew are releasing a book celebrating their early years titled ‘Front Row: Shots From the Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter.’ The 272 page large-format book will serve as both a history lesson for some and a walk back in time for others.

The book features over 400 photos including some of the earliest photos on file of many of the bands from that era. Accompanying the photos are personal accounts from Oimen and Lew as well as contributions from Gary Holt of Exodus, Alex Skolnick of Testament and Robb Flynn of Machine Head.

The hardcover book will be available Dec. 13 through Bazillion Points Books and can be pre-ordered here.