Sacrificial Starter Kit: 10 essential Metal Blade Records releases for newcomers

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 10:57 AM (PST)


The Devil's Blood by Sandra Ludewig

The Devil’s Blood by Sandra Ludewig

Perhaps every Juggalo is birthed in a spray of Faygo and every hipster born with a tiny man bun or perfect spectacles, but not all metalheads are fully formed like the evil baby on the cover of Sabbath’s (in my opinion rad) Born Again album. We all had our gateway moments before we found out about Onward to Golgotha or the excellent sleeper Cold Redrafted or whatever floats your goat.

I think if metal is gonna grow and stay rad and not be replaced only by pig squealy deathcore or other forms of music entirely, it needs to find a way to be inclusive. That goes for continuing the awesome trends of shattering the gendered cis metal stereotypes, understanding being trans in metal, being open to intersectional feminism and all sort of other topics, but we are gonna further the cause with this little list today that you can show your little brother to make them cool like little Kevin with his Kiss make up in Natural Born Killers, dig? Except we want them wearing an Abnormality hat.

Anyway, Metal Blade is a great label to start with for newcomers as it isn’t too obscure, they have released such a wide range of great shit over the years and most titles are semi-easy to find. There are honestly many great releases to choose from, but here are some classics, some newer releases and a few randos to get your circle pit Padawan learner pumped and ready to embark on a lifetime of riff servitude.

Granted, most of this list admittedly works for people who already are at least down with the sickness but curious about something more extreme, cuz some of this shit is broootal or too weird for your average hard rock fan, but let’s assume people will be hooked with the claws of evil like we were and drawn in further, muhahahahaha.

Check the list BELOW.

The Devil’s Blood – The Thousandfold Epicentre.

While most kids won’t be getting “Within The Charnel House Of Love” lyric tats before they learn about Korn or mall punk, the melodic occult majesty of The Devil’s Blood might appeal to horror fans in for a little witchy dabbling before they get hooked and realize this is the most ingenious, evil listen full of seductive riffs, bluesy vocals and a respect for the dark lord that puts Ghost to shame. This much missed act was fucking amazing.

The Crown – Crowned In Terror.

This Swedish beast is a perfect record to make someone into thrash and punk get into something a bit more obscure and extreme, as this Tomas Lindberg helmed era of the band was super fucking exciting, often fast and full of slick little lead work as well. The Crown could have been Lamb Of God if the timing had been right for them, but their records nonetheless smoke. Crowned In Terror for sure will make people nod in appreciation while still being full of not only technical prowess but some seriously heavy moments that could lead to people discovering a whole new world of different sub genres if it gets their blood boiling enough.

Cannibal Corpse – Gallery Of Suicide

There are MANY other Cannibal records that are considered more classic, but this remains my favorite. I think anyone who has wrestled with depression can appreciate the complete morbid outsider feel of this record and that gives it also an ability to attract new fans who might stumble across it like an ominous tractor beam. It is one of Cannibal’s more underrated moments and full of some really ill melancholic and twisting corridors of self disposing madness. Way better to find an outlet this dark than to actually kill yourself. Hails.

Gwar - Ragnarök

While it will be impossible to fully impart to future generations just how awesome Oderus was, the “Meat Sandwich” video featuring our departed lead Scumdog dunking on Jesus is a pretty accessible and eternal horns throw worthy place to start. This is one of Gwar’s best good time records (“Dirty, Filthy”comes right to mind) but also has some of their heavier moments like “Whar Goul” and “Crush, Kill, Destroy”. It also is a little less shocking than an album called America Must Be Destroyed, even though that is a superior classic. I saw Gwar soooo many times during the Ragnarök era and those memories will keep me invested in metal until my own meager cuttlefish squirts a final cloud of desperate chili powder against the dying of the light. 

Abnormality – Mechanisms Of Omniscience 

Honestly this is probably way past the extreme threshold for beginner’s but you never know. Abnormality’s ridiculous drumming, completely conv and the ferocity of Mallika Sundaramurthy might just win over some tepid kids who grow tired of pop metal. This is by far the newest release on this list and it is because people are going to look back on it much sooner than later and just go ,”Daaaaamn!”

Trouble – Psalm 9

Trouble might come off too much like grandpa music for kids used to over compressed mall emo, but hopefully if they are not losers and have respect for their elders or a Sabbathian worm in their DNA they will be open to the leaner more vintage production and get pulled in by the sheer awesomeness of the songs and slow riffs. Trouble are as true as a classic band gets and this record always deserves to get more love as well as serve as an important history lesson in the development of its genre. Plus the leads are absolutely kiiiiller and if you aren’t into Satan this band will still give you refuge…or at least try.

Labyrinth – Return To Heaven Denied

Ok, it is not bloody likely any person will discover Labyrinth unless they are already researching metal or get told by an older hairy Guitar Center type guy, but this album rules. Maybe they will see it on YouTube by mistake and think “Ooooh, purple!” or find it because they are looking for clips of the Bowie movie. Who knows. But the songs are elaborate, dramatic, feature catchy as fuck power vocals and it’s a little more kvlt than Rhapsody or whatever. I seriously suggest you surrender to the awesomeness.

Omen – Warning Of Danger

I believe Metal Blade main man Brian Slagel actually produced this heavy metal classic, but yeah…Omen. J.D. Kimball’s vocals on this album are the epitome of heavy metal. The passion and full on feeling is there like in early Saxon or Candlemass or Priest or any other great record of yesteryear, but Omen are sometimes forgotten about. The guitar work here is also truly bad ass, just some jaw droppingly great unified power paired with a D&D looking evil snake cover that will appeal to nerds and stoners of any age. Listening to the title track after a loooong time is getting me really pumped I remembered and included this. It’s so fucking solid. These guys really sound like they live for metal on this album and it will make you want to as well. Their current lineup has a new record called Hammer Damage, btw.

 The Black Dahlia Murder – Deflorate

This one makes the cut because it is, IMO, the record where this band started to become truly great. The cover art is trippy as fuck and the album is tight, nasty and will injure your neck unless you are a serious snob. This is also a band still active and big enough to have many more potential years and thus be a band kids can keep following who aren’t a hundred years older than them yet. At the same time, TBDM are veterans enough at this time that they are super dialed in to what they do and even newer material is only getting better.

God Dethroned – Passiondale

While like Abnormality this band (their name alone!) are already probably too extreme for casual metal fans, there is something about Passiondale that captures the imagination. Perhaps it is the WW1 theme or the fact that it totally fucking kills, but this makes the list. The playing is so inspired and severe, the production is fucking awesome as far as all individual levels go, the artwork is vivid and the band are a take no prisoners rapid fire killing machine in no uncertain terms. If you sell a newcomer on this you are making an extreme metal fan likely for life who will soon be gulping down records by Witchery, Dark Funeral and who knows what else! In a perfect world everyone’s 8th fucking record would sound this inspired.




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