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

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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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ginger GINGER WILDHEART ANNOUNCES "SONGS & WORDS TOUR" APRIL/MAY 2015
"This is a tale of redemption, self discovery and, ultimately, battling the odds and winning on my own terms..."

megadeth ANGRA GUITARIST KIKO LOUREIRO JOINS MEGADETH
He will be Megadeth's tenth guitarist in the band's thirty year history and he replaces the departed Chris Broderick...

odium CANADA'S ODIUM ISSUE STUDIO UPDATE AND OFFER FREE SONG DOWNLOAD
As the album comes together in the studio, Odium have no plans to slow down on the live performance front...

videscape VIDESCAPE IS THE NEW WAY FOR MUSICIANS TO MAKE MORE MONEY FROM VIDEOS AND AUDIO
VidEscape is perhaps not a site many musicians and bands are familiar with but all that could change in the coming months...

van halen VAN HALEN SHUT DOWN HOLLYWOOD BLVD FOR SPECIAL JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE PERFORMANCE
The band performed a forty five minute set to fans who were given free tickets to attend the outdoor event...

status quo STATUS QUO TO ROCK ROCHESTER CASTLE FOR A RECORD FIFTH TIME
The Quo will perform at the picturesque Norman castle grounds on Wednesday July 15th with support from Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel...

skarlett riot SKARLETT RIOT ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
Dubbed the 'We Will Rise' Tour to promote their new EP, 'We Are The Brave', the band will be joined on the trek by The Raven Age...

whitesnake BREAKING NEWS: DEF LEPPARD/WHITESNAKE/BLACK STAR RIDERS ANNOUNCE DECEMBER UK TOUR
Tickets go on sale at 10.00am on 1st April from Live Nation UK with pre-sale and VIP ticketing information coming soon...

doro DORO CONFIRMED FOR ROCK IN RIO AND ANNOUNCES HUGE EUROPEAN TOUR
"This is amazing and a dream coming true. I think that we might also play my hymn 'All We Are'."...

wasp W.A.S.P. SIGN TO NAPALM RECORDS WITH NEW ALBUM SET FOR RELEASE THIS AUGUST
Almost six years have passed since the world saw a new studio album from Metal icons W.A.S.P...

evil scarecrow EVIL SCARECROW SET OFF FOR 'ROAD TO DOWNLOAD' TOUR
Grab the chance to catch the Nottingham maestros of Metal around the UK before their appearance at Download...

bruce dickinson IRON MAIDEN ISSUE BRUCE DICKINSON HEALTH UPDATE AS NEW PHOTOS OF BRUCE EMERGE
Things are looking very positive concerning the Bruce Dickinson cancer situation...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN TO RECEIVE O2 SILVER CLEF AWARD
The iconic band have won the Outstanding Contribution To UK Music category...

the darkness THE DARKNESS REVEAL FIRST SINGLE 'OPEN FIRE'
The single and the forthcoming album 'Last Of Our Kind' promise an explosion of rock following the band's break ...

thunder THUNDER APPEAR ON WEEKEND WOGAN BBC RADIO SHOW
Thunder's new album 'Wonder Days' went straight into the Top Ten of the UK album charts and they have just completed a highly successful UK tour...

aj pero BANDMATES AND STARS PAY TRIBUTE TO TWISTED SISTER AND ADRENALINE MOB DRUMMER AJ PERO
Pero was on tour with Adrenaline Mob when members of that band were unable to rouse him on their bus on Friday morning...

red dragon cartel RED DRAGON CARTEL NAME MICHAEL THOMAS BECK IN LEAD VOCALIST CHANGE UP
Darren James Smith is out, and a new era begins. The saga continues...

walls of jericho WALLS OF JERICHO ARE ENTERING THE STUDIO
The band will start work shortly on their first full length album since 2008...

beyond forgotton shores DORMANT INFERNO & DIONYSUS ANNOUNCE SPLIT RELEASE 'BEYOND FORGOTTEN SHORES'
India's Transcending Obscurity label produces a Doom Metal double...

icon I.C.O.N SIGN TO METALBOX RECORDINGS
With a follow up album to 'New Born Lie' on the way and an extensive touring schedule, 2015 sees I.C.O.N in full flow...

soldierfield SOLDIERFIELD RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'THE ONLY WAR'
The video is from the latest acclaimed release 'Catharsis'...

serpentine SERPENTINE ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF THEIR ALBUM 'CIRCLE OF KNIVES'
The new studio album contains ten brand new songs from the melodic rock quintet...

rival sons RIVAL SONS HAVE RECORDED EXCLUSIVE RECORD STORE DAY TRACKS
The limited edition 7" contains two previously unreleased songs...

styx STYX RELEASE 'LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS'
The definitive live show is available on DVD, CD, Blu-ray and digital formats...

electric wizard ELECTRIC WIZARD CONFIRM FULL SUPPORTING CAST FOR HEADLINE SHOW AT THE ROUNDHOUSE IN LONDON
The Cosmic Dead, Purson and Moss are added to the May 15th bill...

mike porcaro MIKE PORCARO OF TOTO DEAD AT 59
The rock world was shook again on Sunday morning, March 15th 2015...

sick of it all SICK OF IT ALL LAUNCH NEW VIDEO FOR 'GET BRONX'
"This video serves to show people across the world that as gritty and unpretentious as hardcore music is, it still translates to the big stage and doesn't need a tiny, intimate atmosphere to work..."

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT LAUNCHES 'THE WHEEL'S TURNING' LYRIC VIDEO
"In contrast to the primal and gothic nature of much of the album, 'The Wheel's Turning' has a fun and nostalgic vibe..."

corbitt WARBEAST'S BRUCE CORBITT ISSUES UPDATE FOLLOWING HIS HEART SCARE
Bruce has been undergoing tests and has an important message to share...

enter shikari ENTER SHIKARI ANNOUNCE INTIMATE DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL WARM-UP SHOW
Catch the band at Bristol in June before their slot headlining Download's second stage...

tony iommi TONY IOMMI, NAPALM DEATH AND LAMB OF GOD APPEAL TO INDONESIAN PRESIDENT FOR BALI NINE DUO CLEMENCY
All artists are hopeful that their words will be persuasive and encourage President Widodo to grant clemency...

serpentyne MEDIEVAL FOLK ROCKERS SERPENTYNE UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'VALKYRIES'
Over the last few years their live show has become quite the spectacle...

tank TANK REVEAL ALBUM ARTWORK FOR 'VALLEY OF TEARS'
"He's injected so much new energy and inspiration into the band since joining us in 2013..."

mike portnoy MIKE PORTNOY IN MEGA "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM" MOMENT AFTER HAVING TO WAIT AT HOSPITAL
However well intended, the post comes across as though he is expecting to jump the queue due to his "status"...

armored saint ARMORED SAINT TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM THIS SUMMER
"There's everything from classic Armored Saint rocker songs to epic songs and we all dug deep deliver something special..."

david gilmour DAVID GILMOUR ANNOUNCES 2015 SHOWS
The dates will coincide with the release of his as yet untitled fourth solo studio album...


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