Metal. Part 2: The Companies

Clarification about Part 1; Medias for Centuries and Nuclear Blasts.

Ultimate Guitar
Alright... there were lots of good comments about the first part of the Guide. I deeply thank everyone for their support. It feels REAAAAAAAAL good! About some things I said: Dream Theater, in the reedition of their first CD, When Day And Dream Unite, were described as a crossbreed between Metallica and acts in the likes of Yes, Rush and Pink Floyd. I hope you understand that Metallica is Metal. As I also hope you understand Rush and Floyd are ProgRock acts. One of Dream Theater's most renowned assets is drummer Mike Portnoy. I sincerely hope you agree that Mike could easily fit in any Metal band. As we also know that Mike is a great addition to many ProgRock musicians (Neal Morse, TransAtlantic, OSI). John Petrucci: Duh... he riffed his way through "Train Of Thought" as Jani Liimatainen riffed through Sonata Arctica's "Winterheart's Guild". Heavy, hard, fast. Power chords. Lots of palm muted E-String between short three-fingers Power Chords. Dream Theater played complete Iron Maiden and Metallica records before recording "Train", and they have "Master Of Puppets" covered from "Battery" to "Damage Inc." on their bootleg list. They played the latter with Napalm Death's Barney Greenwald. You can even see James LaBrie sporting a Napalm Death t-shirt in the videoclip for "Pull Me Under". If these guys aren't Progressive Metal... I fuckin' don't know what they are. To my man Prospect: I agree. Jazz is a great style, and has its bunch of excellent musicians. I, myself, am a fan of the late Shelley Manne. Damn, that man drummed something! But still, Jazz has some basic concepts and limits you don't want to cross, or else you're not Jazzy anymore. A Michael Angelo solo in a Jazz song, it doesn't fit. A Jazz touch in a Metal song though... About age ranges: Common sense has it that the average Metalheads really gets into by 14-15. There are of course many exceptions. With that cleared, let us move to the 2nd part of the Guide:

Record Companies

Ask any metalhead who knows enough about today's Metal to tell you where most of his CD's come from: The names Century Media, Nuclear Blast, Spinefarm, Elektra, Sanctuary and newcomers Roadrunner might be the ones you'll hear the most. So I decided to talk a little bit about these companies: Their history (shortened, of course) and the most important players in their rosters.

Century Media (USA)

Century Media is a true American success-story. Century Media started in 1988, in San Francisco, California (Duh... every good Metal thing that came out of U.S. came out from 'Sisco.) They started with a small, yet powerful roster, and throughout the years gained huge importance by becoming the most important distributor for EuroMetal around North America. They distribute, most notably and ironically, artists registered under the Nuclear Blast US banner (Nuclear Blast Euro is Century's most dangerous enemy.) Their main guns: Arch Enemy, Blind Guardian, Children Of Bodom (US Endorsement), Cryptopsy (Canada's Own!), Dark Tranquillity, Finntroll, God Forbid, Jag Panzer, Lacuna Coil*, Nevermore, Shadows Fall, and I'm not talking about their Alumni Roster...

Nuclear Blast Records (Germany)

When you think Metal in Europe, automatically you think Nuclear Blast. They are the most important Metal in Europe, and are fighting for the #1 spot with Century Media. Nuclear Blast was founded in 1987 as a hardcore / punk / grindcore label by Markus Staiger. The label soon evolved into an extreme Metal label, and then started signing Melodic Metal acts. By 2004, they had a couple of hundred chart entries everywhere in the world. They are one the most important show contributors in Europe. Their Cruise Missiles: Anthrax (For Europe), Children Of Bodom (Euro Endorsement), Death Angel, Dimmu Borgir, Edguy, Emperor, Exodus, Hammerfall, In Flames, Katakylsm, Meshuggah, Mnemic, Nighwish, Satyricon, Soilwork, Sonata Arctica, Thunderstone.

Sanctuary Records (USA)

Sanctuary is not an all-Metal company, but they hold major players of the business. I have to mention Sanctuary because of those guys: Anthrax (US), Dokken, Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Motorhead. Apart from those guys, Sanctuary is all around.

Spinefarm Records (Finland)

Spinefarm is Universal's Finnish division. They are basically distributing Century Media and Nuclear Blast material in the Metal Motherland.

Elektra Records (USA)

Another band I have to mention because they have some powerful Metal acts under their sleeve: Metallica*, Dream Theater, Pantera and Damageplan (R.I.P. Dimebag...) *Be warned, 'cause Metallica is strongly rumored, if not confirmed, to be signed under Warner Bros. for their next album.

Roadrunner Records (USA)

These guys have my total respect. They came out of nowhere and immediately gained huge popularity thanks to their punchy and modern roster. Roadrunner is mostly a metalcore / Death Metal label, but they are also distributors for Nuclear Blast's biggest act. Their Boys: 36 Crazyfists, Chimaira, Cradle Of Filth, Deicide, Killswitch Engage, Machine Head, Nightwish (US Distribution), Slipknot, Soulfly, Type O Negative. This article is a nice breather between my last article and the next, which will be a bit more biased (I loooooooove this word!): Watch out for Part 3: Power Metal!!

59 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i swear i will never throw the 'horns' again in my life. it's bad enough when even hip-hoppers and white-trash-wannabe-cowboy country music fans throw horns, but now that they've made their way onto the internet, we can rest assured that the horns are dead.
    Are you saying that Pettrucci is not good??? Anyway, you forgot a major band with Nuclear Blast : Death!! And I thought Megadeth is or has been with them also for a moment, no?
    I think everybody missed this, but you said "Everything good metal thing came out of the U.S." which isn't true. Two words: Black Sabbath. But other than that, you're completely right. hes referring to every metal act in the us.. I.E. Tallica and other bay area thrash acts for instance... BLACK SABBATH IS FROM BRITAIN U COCK!
    Alright..... Petrucci is great, as Liimatainen is arguably one the best new guitarists in the world right now... IT'S TRUE!!! I'm a complete dumbass... I forgot Metal Blade, Earache, Relapse, Noise.... I can't really make a paragraph for each and every significant Metal label... there are too many of them. I never said that every good metal came out of the U.S. I talked about every good metal thing THAT came out of the U.S.... Why I didn't put Blade, Earache and Relapse? Check out Part 3, I explain it. STAY HEAVY!!!!
    Everybody who knows about metal knows about Symphony X. And I missed out on that stuff about all the best metal comes from the US. Thats a lie. The best stuff these days is all European. Some good American stuff, but all the good shit is European. And DaveDaThrasha, your a moron. You completely missed out on what spoonman017 was trying to say.
    EDIT: sorry I misread I with draw my statement, but DaveDaThrasha is still a moron.
    great article, have a few little problems though: first, where's 3 Inches of Blood's name on the Roadrunner list? These guys are mixing old school and new and making something unique that almost everyone can enjoy... i think they deserve some attention. second, definitely should have mentioned earache (decapitated, and a loooong list of classic death, such as at the gates, from the past) and metal blade (amon amarth, vader, cannibal corpse, etc) otherwise, very good article. i hope some more spinefarm artists, particularly Norther, get more recognition in the US \m/
    I've always been a bit clueless when it comes to record companies, so thanks for this. I'll give it 4 stars.
    kennasty- i dont like rap or country but who cares if they throw horns are you some sort of elitist jerk
    Metal Daze
    I have said it before and here it is again... u cant write a metal article without mentioning MANOWAR! who is actualy recorded by Nuclear Blast...
    Ncie article for the roots and background on Metal Labels. I agree with MetalDAve though. How come MANOWAR was not mentioned? The Most Hated and Most Loved metal bandto grace our presance.! They deserve alot of repect for there pst and future work. KEEP THE FISTS IN THE AIR AND THE NECK SORE..... ROCK ON!
    is good charlotte metal?...cause they got realy nice shoes and stuff
    but in all seriousness, like said before earache and metal blade should have been mentioned...but there are so many record labels out there these days, now just about every other band has their own label. I guess its a way to save them from getting screwed by big time labels and lawyers in the long run.
    About age ranges: Common sense has it that the average Metalheads really gets into by 14-15. There are of course many exceptions. HUH?!
    Use of your time was direly wasted on listing Roadrunner as a major Metal company. They've treated their true-metal acts like dirt since the nu-metal wave became popular, and only pick up on the extremely popular metal acts through much deliberation. And you have the angst to leave Earache...EARACHE out of your oh-so-defining list.
    This article is quite cool... a lot of I didn't know tbh
    yeah this article really cool.. but i think i prefare earache and nuclear blast they got really blast band comin right away
    Pennyroyal Tea
    About age ranges: Common sense has it that the average Metalheads really gets into by 14-15. There are of course many exceptions.
    Heh.... i was 17 when i really got into it... late starter i guess.
    I think everybody missed this, but you said "Everything good metal thing came out of the U.S." which isn't true. Two words: Black Sabbath. But other than that, you're completely right.
    Cool, nice to know if you wanna go into the business side of some mainstream metal acts.
    Alright i guess, you just spent more time ranting in the first part then acually getting to your point, so next time more information, less going off. Its pretty good i guess, i like the first alot better, this one is kind of pointless.
    1, elektra are signed to warner anyways, warner is the parent company to atlantic/elektra and others. 2, there are no palm muted E strings inbetween 3 finger powerchords for dream theater considering they tune to C
    John Petrucci uses 6 string and 7 strings and can beat the hell outta any guitarist today, maybe ever, he can beat the hell outta anyone on rhythm and lead today.
    The Oceanborn
    not bad, looking forward to power metal (probably not going to be some "power metal is all gay and weak" shit)
    also OSMOSIS records,JAGERMEISTER records. nuclear blast rule though and so do spinefarm..i think the last bodom album was on WARNER though
    this is like totally off topic but its good to know the labels , and where the hell do you get all that info?
    im not mental
    Century Media started in 1988, in San Francisco, California (Duh... every good Metal thing that came out of U.S. came out from 'Sisco.)
    there are a bunch of metalcore acts on trustkill and victory records, but you know more then I do on the subject, and you probally know this already.