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  METAL BLADE 30th ANNIVERSARY: BAND GREETING VIDEO AND NEW COMPANY HISTORY RELEASED
12th April 2012

metal blade



Metal Blade Records is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, marking 1982 as the official beginning with the release of the first 'Metal Massacre' compilation. In a fitting tribute, writer Dan Slessor (Kerrang, Outburn, Alternative Press) has penned a new company history, which includes quotes, anecdotes, and praise from members of Metallica, Slayer, GWAR, and more. The new history can be read in its entirety below.

Metal Blade Records has been celebrating in various ways in 2012, including a showcase at SXSW that featured Job For A Cowboy, Cancer Bats, Battlecross, Pilgrim, Early Graves, and Gypsyhawk. Also, 30 different albums are on sale EACH MONTH throughout 2012 on iTunes, Amazon, and in stores with participating retailers. The current list of releases with buy links, as well as a new video featuring greetings from Metal Blade artists, can be seen by clicking here.

Article continues below...



That is not all, though, as more plans are in the works for 2012, so stay tuned to metalblade.com for updates.

Metal Blade Records history by Dan Slessor:

Founded upon owner Brian Slagel's enduring drive to find great bands and get their music out to as many people as possible, since 1982 Metal Blade has brought wave after wave of powerful, innovative, and often genre-defining music to the ever-hungry Metal masses. It is this ethos that has seen Metal Blade build up a stunning and diverse catalogue, weather the various storms facing any independent label, and in an age of declining record sales boast the most successful years of its existence as it strides into its fourth decade.

What perhaps makes this achievement all the more notable is the fact that Slagel never even intended to start a label. Working in an LA record store and writing for various publications, Slagel was acutely aware that many great bands in the local Metal scene were being ignored, and he decided to release a compilation of tracks drawn from these ranks.

"There were a lot of really good bands and I was just bummed out that nobody could hear them. It just seemed like I could help them out and have some fun at the same time, and that compilation was the first 'Metal Massacre'," he states.

Collating tracks from then unknown bands including Ratt, Bitch, Cirith Ungol, and Metallica amongst others, the compilation sold out immediately.

"How important is Metal Blade to our career? They're only the reason we are enjoying the worldwide success we have today," states Metallica's James Hetfield. "Without Brian's openness to some raunchy teens with a crap sounding cassette tape we would be who knows where, and playing who knows what!"

With the popularity of the tape spurring Slagel on, the first seeds of Metal Blade were sown. "After the success of those compilations I just started putting out records of bands that I was friends with, but without ever really intending it to be a label at all," he explains. "After I put out four or five releases I started to feel like something was happening, and I decided to quit the record store and quit college and see where it went."

Battling through the first few lean years, when the label consisted solely of Slagel working out of his mom's poorly ventilated garage in the San Fernando Valley, it gradually grew in both revenue and stature. Within a few years Metal Blade would go on to release the debuts of Slayer, Armored Saint, Trouble, and Corrosion Of Conformity amongst others, fanning the flames of the burgeoning Metal scene and launching careers of bands that would go onto reap global success.

"Without Metal Blade, there is a damn good chance we never would've made it out of L.A," says Slayer's Kerry King. "That was the one bit of luck we needed. You can be the most awesome band on the scene, and if no one notices you, you don't catch on. And Brian Slagel is still one of the biggest Metalheads I know!"

This genuine love and devotion to Metal is central to the relationship many of the artists have with Metal Blade, and King Diamond credits much of its relevance and strength to this passion. "I refer to it as having 'boots on the ground'," the mighty Dane states. "It's not like a major label where some people might be into what you're doing but a lot of them just see it as a job – there's a genuine love for Metal there. Through staying true to that and doing their own thing they've carved out a very specific niche that they control, and as an artist it's wonderful to be a part of that."

Integral to the label's strength and longevity is Slagel's open-mindedness when it comes to heavy music, and his refusal to work to any kind of criteria as to what makes a 'Metal Blade band'. Albert Mudrian, editor-in-chief of Decibel magazine admires this about the company. "Rare is the label that can discover the cornerstone of a subgenre. Between Slayer (thrash), Cannibal Corpse (death Metal) and GWAR – whatever cosmic plane they occupy – Metal Blade has accomplished that feat multiple times. And with the likes In Solitude and Ghost on their current roster, the label is poised to do it again and again."

This capacity for staying ahead of the game is one of the cornerstones of Metal Blade's success, though Slagel asserts that there is really no science to it. "To this day if I really like a band and if the staff really like it then no matter what they sound like we want to work with them," Slagel explains. "I've always liked a wide variety of sounds in Metal, which I think is reflected in our roster, and I've never gotten into trying to sign a lot of bands that sound the same. I would personally rather find something that nobody else has heard of before, something that's really different from what's going on, and put that out."

Equally, the label has built a strong reputation for nurturing and developing the artists they sign, embracing a mentality common to the music industry in the 1970s but sorely absent in recent years. For As I Lay Dying, who have been with the label since 2003s crushing Frail Words Collapse, this kind of support – and the belief Metal Blade have in their bands based upon the sounds they build themselves – has been invaluable.

"For years Metal Blade have helped guide us in our career, building us up as a band while never once forcing their hand on us creatively, as some labels do in the hope of selling a few more records," states drummer Jordan Mancino.

Alex Wade, guitarist for Knoxville bruisers Whitechapel, concurs, appreciating the integrity of the label and the down-to-earth approach the staff bring to bear. "I admire how even though they are a huge label and have signed some of the biggest names in Metal that they are still all very humble human beings, and they care about seeing the development and growth of their artists, which makes such a difference."

While both of these bands signed to the label in the 00s and have since reaped great success, Cannibal Corpse, who have been one of the torchbearers for death Metal since the late-1980s, have released all twelve of their full-lengths through Metal Blade.

Their enduring relationship with the label typifies the kind of bond Slagel wants to build with all his signings, and bassist Alex Webster is proud of the alliance his band have with the label. "It's nice being with a label that lets you do what you want to do. They've always given us free reign whether it's artistically, musically or whatever, they have never tried to restrict us in any way, and they have been hugely supportive of us. The enthusiasm of everyone there for the bands they work with counts for a lot, because you really do feel this united effort behind you."

Now a truly worldwide force with offices in the US, Germany, Canada, the UK, and Japan, Metal Blade remains fiercely independent and continues to adapt to the constantly evolving music industry. This adaptability is a primary factor in why the label is currently thriving while others struggle to keep their heads above water.

"We have a lot of things on our side," Slagel says. "That there's no board of governors definitely works to our benefit – we can literally make a decision and have something happen in fifteen or twenty minutes. We can react quickly to changes in the business, and we've also really embraced those changes while a lot of people have been really resistant.

"You can't do that, the industry is changing, things are different, and you're selling records much differently now than you did before. I think if people are willing to make the necessary changes, and utilize the new technology to their benefit it will work, and clearly for us – knock on wood – the last few years doing so have been good."

Looking back on the achievements of the last thirty years Slagel is proud of the body of work they have assembled, though he remains humble when it comes to the contribution the label has made to Heavy Metal. "There are so many people out there who do so much for the music, and we play our own little part in there. That's really cool, and what makes me really proud is seeing the bands we worked with having nice long careers, and that these guys are able to buy houses and have families solely through making music."

Metallica's Lars Ulrich has nothing but admiration for everything the label has done, not only in helping launch his own band but in remaining so vital over three decades. "The fact that Brian and Metal Blade have maintained their integrity over thirty years is obviously very admirable," he enthuses. "Even today I'll call him up and ask him what bands I should be checking out, who is going to blow me away and who should we be thinking about taking on tour with us, because he knows.

"He's so connected with what's going on out there in a way the rest of us mere mortals can't quite compete with! I also love that not that much has changed over the years – when we get together we're still those enthusiastic Metalhead outcasts who got all pumped listening to all these amazing bands. Maybe we have a little less hair, and what we do have is a little grayer, but it's the same shit it's always been, and I love that."

Aware that it is only through the support of fans who share this passion that the label has been able to flourish, Slagel is equally grateful for the devotion of Metalheads everywhere. "At the end of the day I just want to thank everybody out there who has supported the label and all the bands over the years. Clearly without those people we couldn't do what we do, and to everyone out there who has helped us along by being a fan we are so very grateful to you."










 

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heavy metal HEAVY METAL HELPS PEOPLE DEAL WITH MORTALITY ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL STUDY
"Metal music can be seen as cultural good for fans and thereby can form part of their social identity."

motorhead MOTÖRHEAD STILL RUNNING DOWN THE HIGHWAY: PHIL, MIKKEY AND EDDIE ALL GEARED UP FOR FORTHCOMING DATES
"Every snare hit I do from now on until the end of my career will be a small tribute to Lemmy..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN'S STEVE HARRIS DROPS THE PRICE OF HIS ESSEX MANSION BY £1MILLION
The eight-bedroom mansion was on the market for £6.75million in 2012 but it's "guide price" is now a mere £3.95million...

hrh aor ALL GUNS BLAZING FOR NEW HRH AOR 5 ANNOUNCEMENT
Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns unite under the L.A. Guns banner once again for next year's HRH AOR 5 being held next March at Camp HRH in North Wales...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE 'LIVE AT THE NEC' DVD ON THE WAY: FAREWELL JON, WELCOME DON
The two share keyboard duties during the night in a very fitting "passing-of-the-torch" moment...

status quo ROCK 'TIL YOU DROP WITH STATUS QUO 1981-1986 VINYL BOX SET
In addition to the studio albums the box set will include an extra disc of b-sides and extended mixes...

zz top ZZ TOP TO RELEASE THEIR VERY FIRST OFFICIAL LIVE ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER
"In an abstract surrealism style, this collection is a definitive chronicle of the band hangin' together for four plus deluxe decades..."

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG "SPECIAL TIME" HAS COME WITH NEW RELEASE
"The new Tygers album is finished, done and dusted and ready to unleash on our 'Tygertastic' audience. You're gonna love this one, it's a MONSTER..."

andy fraser ANDY FRASER OF FREE'S LAST RECORDING WITH SAIICHI SUGIYAMA ONLINE HERE
"'Melting Away' became one of Andy's last recordings. He still had so much to offer and I was really looking forward to continuing to work with him."

ritchie blackmore RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW TO PLAY AGAIN BUT WITH LESS DEEP PURPLE SONGS
"I would do probably ninety-five percent Rainbow songs; that's what they seem to want to hear. And it didn't occur to me. I just naturally assumed they wanted to hear everything."

saxon EXCLUSIVE: THIS IS WHAT OUR FAVOURITE ROCKERS THINK OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Comment from Saxon, Slash, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Uli Jon Roth, Hawkwind, Cher, Johnny Rotten, Machine Head And More...

beyond the black UK EXCLUSIVE: BEYOND THE BLACK SINGER JENNIFER HABEN IS LOST IN FOREVER AS FIVE MEMBERS DEPART THE BAND
"I have enjoyed the time together with the guys very much and am grateful for everything we have achieved together in Germany. I am currently looking for new colleagues..."

cats in space CATS IN SPACE SET TO RELEASE SLADE CLASSIC WITH DANNY BOWES OF THUNDER ON GUEST VOCALS
"It's is one of my favourite Slade songs, so when they asked me to sing on their version it took me a good second and a half to say yes..."

guns n roses WAS BREAKING NEWS: GUNS N' ROSES ADD MORE TOUR DATES FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
The Gunners' newly announced dates are for South America with ten dates in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia with more to be announced soon...

keith moon YOU WON'T GET FOOLED WITH OFFICIAL KEITH MOON COMMEMORATIVE DRUM HEAD
Manufactured as a special, custom product by Remo, these 14" high-gloss drum heads are a perfect collector's item for true fans of the legendary drummer and The Who...

the answer WAS BREAKING NEWS: THE ANSWER AND THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER UK TOUR
"The fact that we get to debut this new material with our mates The Dead Daisies just adds to the rush we're currently experiencing. You really don't want to miss this one!"

ian gillan IAN GILLAN SAYS: "IT'S A WONDERFUL THING, VINYL..." WITH NEW COLLECTION ABOUT TO BE RELEASED
"You just bought something significant, not easily disposable. And look at the sleeves - aren't they cool..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY: "THE LYRICS ON THE TITLE TRACK ARE SOME OF SPIKE'S BEST EVER!"
"I approached the songwriting from a different angle and it felt good. There's a lot of passion there."

48 hours 48 HOURS TO ROCK THE UK TO A CITY OF ASHES
"We're hitting the road in September for a co-headline tour with our broseph's City Of Ashes! This will be one of the unsigned tours of the year!"

hammerfall WAS BREAKING NEWS: LIVE LIFE LOUD WITH HAMMERFALL ON 2017 EUROPEAN TOUR: NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
"We can't wait to get back on stage again to have a gigantic Heavy Metal party every night with all our Templar friends!"

joe perry AEROSMITH GUITARIST JOE PERRY REPORTEDLY SUFFERS HEART ATTACK DURING HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES GIG
"Thanks to everyone asking about our brother Joe Perry," Alice Cooper wrote. "He is stable right now, with family and is under the best care."

onslaught ONSLAUGHT, BEHOLDER AND ANIHILATED TOUR PROMISES TO BE A TOUR DE FORCE
"By the time we hit the road in November it will be well over two-and-a-half years since we did the last run and we feel the time is now right..."

arw ARW (JON ANDERSON, TREVOR RABIN AND RICK WAKEMAN) ANNOUNCE BAND FOR UPCOMING WORLD TOUR
"I have played with arguably the three greatest bass players ever and I can't wait to play with one of them again!"

marillion MARILLION UNVEIL 'THE NEW KINGS' FROM FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM 'FEAR'
'The New Kings' can also be heard on Marillion's current tour which starts on Monday 11th July in Barcelona...

michael des barres AN AMERICAN WRITER ASKS WHY IT TAKES A BRITISH EX-PAT TO ASK, "WHAT'S GOING ON?" MICHAEL DES BARRES HAS THE ANSWER
This incendiary cover of Marvin Gaye's classic confronts America's issues in an incredibly timely and head-on manner...

freedom call FREEDOM CALL RELEASE A NEW METAL HYMN 'HAMMER OF THE GODS', AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD NOW
The trademark bold vocal harmonies remain. The track is taken from forthcoming opus 'Master Of Light'...

guns n roses STEVEN ADLER JOINS GUNS N' ROSES ON STAGE IN OHIO: FOUR FIFTHS OF 'APPETITE' LINE-UP PLAY TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
"On the drums, you might know this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Steven Adler..."

ac dc AC/DC BASSIST CLIFF WILLIAMS TO RETIRE AFTER ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR: "IT'S BEEN SURREAL"
"AC/DC has been... you know, just... I don't know what else I would wanna do. I love the music and I love playing in the band, and I'm all filled up..."

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES USE THEIR ILLUSION TO SILENCE THE DOUBTERS WITH US TOUR GOING SO FINE
Axl is clearly in his element on this tour, running across the stage to jump on the monitors mid-song and displaying all the panache of a man completely on top of his game...

stray del bromham STRAY TO ROAM AROUND THE UK ON TOUR INCLUDING A RARE REUNION OF THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP
No need to move a mountain as both Stray and Del Bromham's Blues Devils are on their way to a venue near you...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOY THE NEIGHBOURS WITH RAUCOUS NEW SINGLE
'Let The Neighbours Call The Cops' was co- written by vocalist Gill Montgomery and Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick...

eagles of death metal WAS BREAKING NEWS: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL WANT YOU SO BAD ON TWO UK DATES IN AUGUST
This is EODM's first visit to the UK since the band were caught up in the terrible events at The Bataclan Theatre in Paris back in November 2015...

soil SOiL 'SHINE ON' THE UK WITH COMPREHENSIVE TOUR
"We are looking forward to seeing some new places and making some new friends this time around..."

acid reign ACID REIGN GET IN FESTIVE MOOD EARLY WITH SPECIAL GIG ANNOUNCEMENT
'Tis the season to Thrash as Acid Reign team up with Shrapnel with far from obnoxious results...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN: LEGACY OF THE BEAST MOBILE RPG GAME IS OUT NOW
"We've always wanted to make a quality Maiden mobile game as we think the combination of Eddie and the music is so well suited..."

rick parfitt status quo EXCLUSIVE: STATUS QUO'S RICK PARFITT SEEMS TO BE 'FINE FINE FINE' AS HE IS SPOTTED OUT AND ABOUT
Following the recent health scare a picture has emerged online of him taking a walk in Kingston over the weekend...

bullet for my valentine BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE TO PLAY 'THE POISON' IN FULL FOR THE FIRST EVER TIME
"We promised you something special right? See 'The Poison' played in full for the first time in Manchester! Tickets on sale now here..."

alter bridge WAS BREAKING NEWS: ALTER BRIDGE TO HEADLINE ARENAS ACROSS EUROPE THIS WINTER WITH GOJIRA AND VOLBEAT
This will be their biggest headline tour yet with twenty-four dates across fifteen countries, kicking off on November 4th 2016

the mission WAS BREAKING NEWS: BAUHAUS FRONTMAN PETER MURPHY TO GUEST WITH THE MISSION ON THEIR 30th ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR
"Peter's appearance will help make these shows the special events that we always wanted and hoped they'd be..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN ILLUSTRATOR DESIGNS SHIRT FOR ONE DIRECTION'S ZAYN MALIK, MAIDEN LAUNCH THIRD TROOPER BEER AND HI-ON-MAIDEN TO HEADLINE PICCSTOCK
A full-bodied beer using a blend of chocolate and crystal malts to give "a roasted malt and caramel backbone with hints of liquorice and honey"...

bruce dickinson BRUCE DICKINSON TO TAKE PART IN TOP GEAR STYLE CHARITY ROAD TRIP
"The enthusiasm from the group is amazing which will lend itself to making it an unforgettable trip..."

anvil WAS BREAKING NEWS: ANVIL ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Anvil will not only be playing dates in Scotland and Wales but also English towns which rarely see major international artists, such as Huddersfield, Doncaster and Grimsby.

status quo IT'S TIME TO GET 'DOWN DOWN' TO BUTLINS AS SECOND STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION IS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will feature live music from ex-Quo drummer John Coghlan and his band with long time friend of the band, Jackie Lynton also scheduled to appear...

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