Metal Blade Records to celebrate 40 years of Heavy Metal

Metal Blade Records will re-release Metal Massacre Volume One on limited edition vinyl as part of the celebrations marking the independent record label’s 40th anniversary.

First released on 14 June 1982, Metal Massacre contained the best of Los Angeles’ unsigned bands, including Metallica, Ratt and Malice. The first pressing contained ten tracks and was closed by the Metallica song Hit The Lights, the first song Ulrich and Hetfield wrote together.

“When I was putting together the compilation, he [Lars Ulrich] called me up,” label founder Brian Slagel said. “He was jamming with James and a couple of other guys in their garage playing covers of Diamond Head and everything. Lars asked me, ‘Hey if I put together a band and give you an original song, will you put it on the record?’ And I said, sure, of course. So that was basically the beginning of Metallica.”

Slagel had been hunting the LA scene looking for the most authentic, heaviest, unique bands and worked with friend John Kornarens on the Metal Massacre project. Slagel covered artwork and mastering, with Kornarens securing a recording studio. “We were using the Yellow Pages a lot, total amateurs navigating the record like a high school project,” Kornarens said.

“On the day of mastering,” Kornarens says, “Brian and I had all of the songs ready except for Lars’ new band called Metallica. The session was to start at 3 o’clock. We were standing on a Hollywood sidewalk waiting for Lars to show up with material from his new band, and moments later, he finally arrived and pulled a cassette out of his back pocket.”

There are many events planned to celebrate this anniversary. Metal Blade currently sponsor the Cannibal Corpse, Whitechapel and Revocation tour, and a number of regional US events are planned. The Metal Blade Museum will also open later this year.

Metal Massacre releases would help boost bands such as Slayer, Overkill and Possessed in the future. Metal Blade is currently home to Amon Amarth, Killswitch Engage, Allegaeon, Cannibal Corpse and Whitechapel and is still considered a powerful force in Heavy Metal.

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The limited-edition Ruby Red vinyl contains tracks from the first and second pressing of the album, and 5,000 copies are available from Metal Blade Records, with 2,000 on clear vinyl available from Metallica’s website.


01. Steeler – Cold Day in Hell

02. Bitch – Live for the Whip

03. Malice – Captive of Light

04. Ratt – Tell the World

05. Avatar – Octave


06. Black ‘n Blue – Chains Around Heaven

07. Cirith Ungol – Death of the Sun

08. Demon Flight – Dead of the Night

09. Pandemonium – Fighting Backwards

10. Malice – Kick You Down

11. Metallica – Hit the Lights

Sleeve Notes

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