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."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."
Read more: http://www.metalblade.com/us/about-us/
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