Century Media

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Century Media Rec.
Logo of the label
Logo of the label
Parent company Sony Music Entertainment
Active years since 1988
founder Robert fight
Seat Dortmund , Germany
Website http://www.centurymedia.com/
Label code LC 06975
Sub-label Century Black, CM Distro, Olympic Recordings, King Fisher
Genre (s) Power Metal , Deathcore , Death Metal , Black Metal , Gothic Metal , Metalcore , Hardcore

Century Media Records is a German music label . It was founded in 1988 by Robert Kampf in Dortmund , because he wanted to market his own band Despair himself, and is one of the largest and best-known in the scene. Century Media currently sells around 75 bands from various metal and hardcore areas. The label has been part of Sony Music Entertainment since 2015 .


Century Media specializes in power , death / black metal and gothic metal as well as metal / hardcore .

In addition to Nuclear Blast and Napalm Records Century Media is one of Europe's largest and most well-known Metal - Label with many internationally successful groups. The head office is in the port of Dortmund ; There are further branches and field offices in the USA , Great Britain , Italy , Sweden , the Benelux countries, France , Spain , Brazil and Australia .


Robert Kampf, the singer of the band Despair , “met with many representatives of record companies at the time, but found no approach satisfactory [...] Even if some were better than others, I didn't trust them [...] on the whole we preferred to follow ours Gut feeling and went our own way ”. After Kampf met Markus Staiger, who founded Nuclear Blast in 1987, this Kampf band supported Despair with the release of their album and helped found Century Media in 1988. The label's first release was Despair's debut album History of Hate .

When Kampf had to choose between the band and his record company, his choice fell on the latter. Within a year he was able to build up a sales network in almost 30 countries. Instead of relying on heavy metal and hard rock bands, which were enjoying great success at that time, he decided to devote his work to death metal and so in 1990 more albums by Unleashed , Grave , Asphyx and Iced Earth were released . He is convinced that "thanks to bands like Tiamat , Samael , Unleashed, Grave, Moonspell or The Gathering, we were able to lay the foundation for long-term success early on". Because of the increasing sources of income, Robert Kampf rented office space and hired his first employees. The band Tiamat achieved great success in 1994 with their album Wildhoney , which is still one of the best-selling albums on the scene.

In the following years Century Media managed to achieve great successes with bands like Lacuna Coil , The Gathering or Paradise Lost , which have made the label one of the most successful to this day.

The book Century Media , written by Christian Krumm , was published in 2012 on the history of the label . Do it yourself, the story of a label in the publishing Nicole Schmenk . Century Media also sued about 7,000 users of file sharing portals who allegedly downloaded Iced Earths Dystopia and Lacuna Coils Dark Adrenaline illegally. Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth emphasized that his band was unaware of the lawsuit and had not been asked for permission. The band is aware that “it is becoming increasingly difficult for record companies to sell our music”, but they consider this “the wrong way” and want “to let the fans know that we have not given our consent”.

On January 20, 2014, co-owner Oliver Witthöft died at the age of 49. In August 2015, Sony Music Entertainment took over the record label for a purchase price of $ 20 million.


A very successful release from Century Media was the album Comalies by Lacuna Coil in 2002. It reached 178th place on the American Billboard 200 with over 250,000 copies sold and 45th place in the German album charts . Previously, albums by the Swedish band Tiamat had chart successes in Germany since 1994. Century Media released an album with Hate Crew Deathroll by the band Children of Bodom, which is otherwise released via Spinefarm Records . This album reached the chart position 45 in Germany.

The 2004 album The War Within by the band Shadows Fall, no longer distributed by Century Media , even reached number 20 in the Billboard Top 200 with over 300,000 copies sold. The next Lacuna Coil album, Karmacode , reached number 28 in the US charts, number 43 in Germany and number 47 in the UK. In Italy, Lacuna Coil received the silver record for over 20,000 copies sold by Karmacode. The commercially very successful band Arch Enemy has been publishing on Century Media since 1998. Her 2005 album Doomsday Machine reached number 81 on the Billboard Top 200 and number 23 on the Swedish album charts.

Since 1999, the Dark Tranquility releases have been distributed by Century Media. The album Character from 2005 reached number 3 in the album charts in Sweden and number 83 in Germany.

In 2006 the reunited band Celtic Frost released their comeback album Monotheist on Century Media, which reached number 41 in Switzerland and number 67 in Germany.

The American deathcore band Suicide Silence released their debut album The Cleansing in 2007 on Century Media, which entered the US Billboard 200 at number 94 and is still the band's best-selling debut album on Century Media. Her second music album was similarly successful. No Time to Bleed rose to number 32 on the US Billboard 200 and lasted for 7 weeks.

The German metalcore band Heaven Shall Burn reached number two in the German album charts with their album Veto at the end of April 2013. As early as 2010, the band was able to post ninth place in the German album charts with their album Invictus .


King Fisher

King Fisher was a sub-label for hardcore based in Dortmund. Among other things, it released the second album by Sick of It All , Blood, Sweat and No Tears in Europe in 1989 .

CM Distro

In addition to its own bands, the American sub-label CM Distro also sells other bands for smaller European record companies and works in a joint venture with Nuclear Blast. CM Distro has distributed extremely successful bands such as Blind Guardian and Nightwish , which are distributed in Europe by other labels. In addition, many newcomer bands appear under the label.

Abacus Recordings

At the end of 1998 the US American Century Media came up with the idea of founding an imprint for metalcore and hardcore . In 2000, Abacus Recordings was founded with two employees in Hawthorne , California. Abacus Recordings sold bands like Caliban and Sick of It All . Abacus Recordings has not been part of Century Media since 2005. In July 2007 it became known that the label has since been closed.

Century Black

The Century Black sub-label was founded in the mid-1990s. It was specifically intended to distribute black metal albums in the USA that were only released on smaller labels such as Malicious Records or Candlelight Records . In 2000 Century Black was dissolved, as most of the bands had switched to other labels, often Century Media.

Century Black released albums by Emperor , Gorgoroth , Mayhem and Opeth , among others .

Olympic Recordings

Olympic Recordings was an American sub-label for extreme metal . It released albums by Aborted , Behemoth , Immolation , Incantation , Swallow the Sun and Vital Remains , among others . In September 2005, Olympic Recordings was dissolved due to legal problems with the United States Olympic Committee due to the name .

Bands and Artists (selection)




  1. a b c d e Tom Küppers: If so, then also correctly! . Hard labels from the Ruhr area . In: Metal Hammer , September 2010, p. 53.
  2. a b c d Kumpels in Kutten - Heavy Metal in the Ruhr Area - Portrait of Century Media Records, p. 76f.
  3. Jon Schaffer comments on Century Media Records lawsuits , September 19, 2012, accessed October 21, 2012.
  4. Sebastian Kessler: Century Media co-owner Oliver Withöft has passed away. In: Metal Hammer, January 22, 2014 (accessed January 22, 2014).
  5. ^ Ed Christman: Sony Music Acquires German Hard Rock Label Century Media Records. In: billboard.com. August 24, 2015, accessed August 25, 2015 .
  6. http://www.beowolfproductions.com/LabelsContacts.html ( Memento from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  7. IndieHQ 2.0 "Interview with Ray Harkins of Abacus Recordings - indiehq.com, 14 Sept 2007
  8. http://www.lambgoat.com/news/view.aspx?id=9155
  9. http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=15536


Web links

Coordinates: 51 ° 31 '56.9 "  N , 7 ° 26' 46.5"  E