Label Spotlight: Metal Blade Records
At least in the United States, where there was no New Wave of British Heavy Metal happening, metal didn't seem a particularly underground music to most rock fans when Brian Slagel, a 21-year-old employee at a shop called Oz Records, started his Metal Blade label in 1982. Metal was known as music for arenas, not clubs. But Slagel knew otherwise, so he started piecing together Metal Massacre compilations of unsigned, largely Cali-based bands such as Metallica and Ratt (then still called Mickey Ratt). By the mid-'80s, Metal Blade was releasing full albums by both early thrash squads such as Slayer, Destruction, Sodom and Hirax, and more old-school platoons like Lizzy Borden, Manowar, Fates Warning, Trouble and Savage Grace.
While Slayer's early music unfortunately isn't available, Metal Blade albums by those last eight bands are all sampled on this playlist, which concentrates on the '80s, but also touches on Metal Blade releases from the '90s (Galactic Cowboys, Atheist, Channel Zero, grindcorers Cannibal Corpse, German folk-metal weirdos In Extremo, an obscure Houston band called Dead Horse who covered "Rock Lobster") and the 21st century (Amon Amarth, King's X, Japanese doomsters Church of Misery covering Sir Lord Baltimore).
Guarantee: All these songs come off albums sporting Metal Blade's logo at some time or other. Revisiting the Metal Massacre comps will need to wait for a later playlist, but this one does end with two odd '80s curios: A self-described 1987 "metal song" by the Goo Goo Dolls from long before their early semi-heavy college bar-punk sound went soft, and a urinary infected 1985 number by hood-wearing Seattle shock-rockers the Mentors, whose scatological lyrics gave Tipper Gore's P.M.R.C. the vapors.