Metal Blade Records And Me

Posers Must Die!

I have been reading the book based on the Metal independent record label Metal Blade by Brian Slagel. The book, ‘For The Sake Of Heaviness: The History Of Metal Blade Records’ by the aforementioned Slagel is certainly hitting close to home on many levels.

For one, it is fascinating learning about the formation of a label from scratch. Over 30 years later, I can see familiar traits with what is happening at Rue Morgue Records The Label as we try to grow and learn this caper.

I am old enough to remember the formation of Metal Blade and the scene around those exciting times. In fact, I contacted Brian Slagel just as he was releasing his first records on his new label. The ‘Metal Massacre’ compilation LP I had purchased from an import store way back in 1982. It is this very compilation LP that inspired me to do the same with Rue Morgue Records. The singles we are releasing throughout the year, will be compiled into an annual compilation LP entitled ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’. Same idea. Same concept. Just nearly 4 decades apart!

Back in 1982 I was a young lad ingesting anything Heavy Metal. The NWOBHM had taken over the world (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) and record stores the world over were proliferated with records by Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Angel Witch, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Savage et al. It was never ending and as a young Metal head it inspired me enough to create my own fanzine.

The ‘zine was a bunch of photocopied paper with reviews of the aforementioned acts and the local Metal scene in Melbourne which was thriving at the time with such amazing bands as Ion Drive, Nothing Sacred, Axatak, Blackjack, No Class, Escape and in due course, my own band Knight just a couple of years later.

Metal Pussy was the title of the mag (don’t ask!) and I sent a few copies to Metal Blade’s Brian Slagel. A couple of weeks later, a letter arrives from Brian who commented he liked the zine and the title! Along with his letter, was a huge package containing records from Trouble, Bitch, Omen, Hellhammer, Fates Warning etc. He informed me that he would send me every single Metal Blade release on LP for review purposes in the ‘zine! Without fail, almost monthly, my mailman would deliver all sorts of goodies from Metal Blade as well as the usual tape-trading which was the in thing at the time. Hey, this is years before the internet existed. You wanted new music? You traded demos and live tapes with people all over the world!

That’s how I discovered Metal Blade Records and the association continued to when I was writing and designing another zine called Heavy Duty which was run by friends at Melbourne University and yours truly. Heavy Duty was a fine vehicle for us to get face to face interviews with the likes of Blackie Lawless of WASP who we interviewed in his hotel room when he did a promo tour back in the 80’s.
Still, Brian would periodically send out records for us to review. A bunch of us had to fight over the Nasty Savage stuff he sent as we fucking loved that band!

All good things must come to an end. The zine died off. Our association waned but over the course of so many years, I’ve always had nothing but the fondest memories of this association with Brian and Metal Blade.

Now that I am reading the book, it brought back so many memories of the time.

With myself running my own label now, many of the methods described in Brian’s book on releasing product still hold true to this day. The book is serving as a main source of inspiration as the Label side of Rue Morgue Records is beginning to grow at a healthy and steady pace.

It is an absolutely fascinating insight into a record label that never gave in even when threatened by all sorts of musical changes and trends.
The calibre of work Metal Blade produced over the years throughout the formative years of Slayer and Metallica is something to behold.
If you have any sort of memories from the time, or want to read how it all got done back in the early 80’s, this book is absolutely for you. It has rekindled so many memories and caused me to load up the playlists with plenty of Trouble and Fates Warning this past week! I think I had Fates Warning’s Awaken The Guardian on constant repeat over this time!

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