Metal Blade Records Celebrates 40 Years

Marking its 40th anniversary this year, Metal Blade Records is proud to present its debut release, Metal Massacre Volume One, for the first time since 1984 on limited-edition vinyl. Originally released on June 14tg, 1982, Metal Massacre showcased the best of Los Angeles’ unsigned acts of the time such as MetallicaRatt and Malice, and has since become a cornerstone of Metal Blade Records. This special release will be available worldwide on April  22nd.

The 40th anniversary reissue track list includes all songs originally featured on the first and second pressing of the iconic compilation. This limited-edition Ruby Red vinyl variant will be available to 5000 copies worldwide at Metal Blade Records, and 2,000 copies pressed on clear vinyl exclusively available at

The first 250 US pre-orders at Metal Blade Records will receive an exclusive patch:

Founded by Brian Slagel, this special re-issue marks the first of many Metal Blade Records activities happening across the world to celebrate the labels 40th year as a pioneer and champion of heavy music.

Multiple events throughout the US are scheduled including the Metal Blade Records sponsored tour featuring Cannibal CorpseWhitechapel and Revocation. The tour is currently hitting all four corners of the US through March 26th. All cities and dates here:

Regional events across the US have begun, starting with Chicago’s favorite metal kitchen Kuma’s Corner celebrating the label all year long with a unique, hand-curated menu including the Slagel-style burger, Hit The Lights Mac N Cheese, the Metal Massacre burger and the Eric Wagner/Trouble burger ($1 of every Metal Blade-related burger will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis societies of Illinois and Colorado).

The Metal Blade Museum will open its doors in Las Vegas later this year where fans can see memorabilia and artifacts dating back to the label’s inception.

On June 10th-11th, Metal Blade Records will act as Presenting Sponsor at Decibel Magazine’s Metal & Beer Fest in Philadelphia, headlined by one of label’s most controversial acts, Cannibal Corpse.

Until more events are announced, head to and stream a special 80’s-inspired playlist, personally selected by Brian Slagel, featuring some of the era’s hottest bands including Armored SaintD.R.I.Flotsam & Jetsam and tons more. One-of-a-kind, exclusive designs helmed by the masterful and malevolent minds of metal’s most sought-after artists will be available for a limited time – Ed Repka (MegadethVenomNuclear Assault), Elinor Kantor (TestamentSoulflySodom), Travis Smith (OpethOverkillSlayer), Sam Didier (HammerFallAmon Amarth).

At the brink of the 80’s, LA was cementing itself as the rock ‘n’ roll nucleus of the United States. A longtime fan of the local rock scene, Slagel spent many nights inside LA’s locales seeking out the most authentic, heaviest, unique bands to hit the West Coast. Alongside friend John Kornarens, the two split the Metal Massacre project in half – Slagel responsible for artwork and mastering facilities, while Kornarens secured a studio to make the record. “We were using the Yellow Pages a lot, total amateurs navigating the record like a high school project,” adds Kornarens. And that compilation was the foundation of Slagel’s Metal Blade Records, one of the premiere heavy metal record labels of all-time.

The first pressing of Metal Massacre contained 10 tracks, with the closer Hit The Lights by Metallica. This was the first song drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist James Hetfield wrote together. “When I was putting together the compilation, he called me up,” Slagel recalls of his conversation with a teenage Ulrich. “He was jamming with James and a couple 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.”

“On the day of mastering, Brian and I had all of the songs ready except for Lars’ new band called Metallica,” Kornarens explains. “The session was to start at three o’clock and 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.”

Future installments of the Metal Massacre franchise would help boost SlayerOverkillPossessed and countless other artists to legendary status. Metal Blade Records, home to current acts Amon AmarthKillswitch EngageAllegaeonCannibal Corpse and WhitechapeL, is still considered one of the most powerful forces of modern heavy metal.

Metal Massacre Volume I Track Listing 2022 Re-Issue:

Side One:
1 – Steeler – Cold Day In Hell
2 – Bitch – Live For The Whip
3 – Malice – Captive Of Light
4 – Ratt – Tell The World
5 – Avatar – Octave

Side Two:
1 – Black ‘N Blue – Chains Around Heaven
2 – Cirith Uungol – Death Of The Sun
3 – Demon Flight – Dead Of The Night
4 – Pandemonium – Fighting Backwards
5 – Malice – Kick You Down
6 – Metallica – Hit The Lights

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2 Responses

  1. Awesome! I love Metal Blade bands!

    I’ve still got my three versions of the original Metal Massacre release, and earlier today I pre-ordered both the red and clear versions of this 40th Anniversary repress!

  2. Wow time flies… I was in 9th grade. My buddy got this record and said if you pay attention to anything on here, it’s this song, and played Metallica. Remember your very first thoughts and reaction to the first time you heard Metallica? I’ll never forgot what I said, because I ended up being the most wrong about a band in my history of loving music. I said “they’re kind of like hardcore punk like GBH meets Motorhead. Cool combination, I dig it, but they will never be known by the masses, it’s too loud and too fast”. I’m more into early Metallica, I pretty much stop after Master Of Puppets, but I was very, very wrong lol

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