Thumbs up: +2
Love them or hate them but there is no denying that record labels are the driving force behind a lot of our favourite bands.

After all without the labels, many bands would remain unknowns languishing in small clubs and garages.

In the old days the labels used to specialise in specific genres. So for example, if you liked Death Metal then Nuclear Blast and Earache were a safe bet. Made shopping easier!

Anyhow here's my top 10 heavy metal labels.


I know there's some big 'uns missing ala Candlight, Relapse, Willowtip but this is a list of my favourite labels.

Created by: deadone | 20.03.2014



1. Noise Records - Germany (Home to such awesome Thrash/Speed bands as Kreator, Celtic Frost, Helloween, Coroner, Grave Digger as well as the awesome Skyclad. Unfortunately the label died in 2001 when it was brought out by Sanctuary Records Group whose claim to fame is it was started by Iron Maiden manager, Rod Smallwood.)
2. Roadrunner Records - Netherlands (Sure they helped fuel the Nu-metal craze but Roadrunner's origins are in Thrash and Death Metal. The roster has had some phenomenal names on it - King Diamond, Annihilator, Sepultura, Deicide, Pestillence, Artillery, Death, Obituary, Machine Head and Fear Factory. The label may have diversified but it's still a powerhouse in Metaldom. Some of the older stuff has the Roadracer title.)
3. Earache Records - United Kingdom (- a true pioneering force in extreme metal in the late 1980s and early 1980s with such pioneers as Napalm Death, Carcass, Godflesh, Entombed, Bolt Thrower and Morbid Angel all featuring in this period. Unforutnately in later years they have stagnated a bit.)
4. Century Media - United States of America (Home to some of my favourite bands - Iced Earth, Nevermore, Dark Tranquillity as well as such faves as Strapping Young Lad. Along with Nuclear Blast, these guys were a real driving force in more underground forms of metal in the late 1990s. This paid dividends in the 2000s when "true" metal came back into popularity.)
5. Nuclear Blast - Germany (Another big player, these guys started off with Death Metal ala Pungent Stench, Dismember, Atrocity, Incubus (the original Death/Thrash one) and Monstrosity. They then went more melodic with In Flames, Pegazus, Dimmu Borgir and now are extremely diversified. I don't think the modern roster matches the older ones though.)
6. Razorback Records - United States of America (Home to a couple of my favourite Death/Thrash acts: Ghoul and Frightmare. Not sure if they're still around though as Ghoul is now on Tank Crimes.)
7. Steamhammer/SPV - Germany (These guys are known more for their distribution but they do maintain a proper roster. They seem to be a bit of "reject bin" operator in that bands tend to sign to SPV after they've been in their prime and have since declined and been booted off the others. Iced Earth, Sodom, Destruction, Gamma Ray, Kreator, Overkill and others have all been on the roster at one time or another.)
8. Combat Records - United States of America (Another of the early Thrash Metal labels with a roster that is a whose who of Thrash/Speed/Crossover/early Death - Megadeth, Agent Steel, Dark Angel, Helstar, Forbidden, Nuclear Assault, Possessed, Death and Exodus. It was gobbled up by Relativity Records whose parent company is Sony.)
9. Metal Blade - United States of America (- One I always discount as a more second tier player. And then I remember that Slayer, Bolt Thrower, Amon Amarth, D.R.I., Cannibal Corpse and Flotsam and Jetsam all released awesome albums on Metal Blade.)
10. Megaforce Records - United States of America (How could one not love the label that brought Anthrax, Metallica and S.O.D. They're relatively inactive but still carry Anthrax.)



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by deadone ]



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deadone - 20.03.2014 at 02:09  
A somewhat different list dedicated to the powers behind the music.
Apothecary - 20.03.2014 at 03:21  
Nice list. Svart has probably become my favorite as of late though, what with all the weird Finnish bands signed to it
tea[m]ster - 20.03.2014 at 03:50  
Great idea for a list and well executed.

For obvious reasons some of my favorite labels right now are Translation Loss, Throatruiner, Slow Burn, Profound Lore, Century Media and Metal Blade.
deadone - 20.03.2014 at 04:11  
Written by Apothecary on 20.03.2014 at 03:21

Nice list. Svart has probably become my favorite as of late though, what with all the weird Finnish bands signed to it


Great example of how a label can champion a certain genre or style.
Apothecary - 20.03.2014 at 04:22  
Written by deadone on 20.03.2014 at 04:11

Written by Apothecary on 20.03.2014 at 03:21

Nice list. Svart has probably become my favorite as of late though, what with all the weird Finnish bands signed to it

Great example of how a label can champion a certain genre or style.

Yep, lotta doom and stoner on it in particular
terrorist - 23.03.2014 at 15:47  
You wrote this at the beggining :"Love them or hate them but there is no denying that record labels are the driving force behind a lot of our favourite bands."

I think so too but the problem is when new bands come to light they are oftenly said to play one type of music because it is business today. Metal Labels are doing business today and they want to earn money, not to create some very good bands, but to satisfy market. All bands that we like to listen which are old bands who have reputation remains untouched, and they can play their own style, their own songs. Dave Mustaine said in one of his interview similar thing i said here.
mz - 23.03.2014 at 16:33  
I'd say Profound Lore , Debemur Morti, Southern Lord and Candlelight Records are the best records at the moment. Dark Descent Records also looks very promising, considering the number of quality death metal albums they put out.
Inside Out Music is also very good.
!J.O.O.E.! - 23.03.2014 at 17:58  
Written by mz on 23.03.2014 at 16:33

Southern Lord

Southern Lord are a label I should love in theory, as they have that cool-factor like Profound Lore, but really their roster when looking at it never really has much to offer me. Not sure why. They have the right styles, just not the right bands for most part.
Karlabos - 24.03.2014 at 02:42  
Even with the augmented version of your picture here I can't read what is written on it. =P
deadone - 24.03.2014 at 02:54  
Written by Karlabos on 24.03.2014 at 02:42

Even with the augmented version of your picture here I can't read what is written on it. =P



"Am I nothing?"

It's from a wierd avant garde comedy sketch show called Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy. It's the comedic equivalent of a bad acid trip.

Noel Fielding is originally from The Mighty Boosh.
Karlabos - 24.03.2014 at 03:09  
Written by deadone on 24.03.2014 at 02:54

Written by Karlabos on 24.03.2014 at 02:42

Even with the augmented version of your picture here I can't read what is written on it. =P



"Am I nothing?"

It's from a wierd avant garde comedy sketch show called Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy. It's the comedic equivalent of a bad acid trip.

Noel Fielding is originally from The Mighty Boosh.

Oh. Before I even tried a google image search but all I found was your profile here on MS haha. I can sleep in peace now.
deadone - 24.03.2014 at 03:24  
Written by Karlabos on 24.03.2014 at 03:09
Oh. Before I even tried a google image search but all I found was your profile here on MS haha. I can sleep in peace now.

Try searching for Spoonsnake.

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