Nuclear Blast

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Nuclear Blast
Logo of the label
Logo of the label
Active years since 1987
founder Markus Staiger
Seat Donzdorf , Germany
Label code LC 07027
Sub-label SharpTone Records
distribution Warner Music
Genre (s) especially metal , as well as hard rock , hardcore punk and alternative rock

Nuclear Blast is a German music label based in Donzdorf , Baden-Württemberg. It was founded in 1987 by Markus Staiger. Worldwide distribution of the label takes place through Warner Bros. Music .

The label's focus is on heavy metal , with all metal sub-genres covered, from modern , power , thrash and death metal to black metal . With 90 employees at the Donzdorf location, a further ten employees in the USA, a head of the South America office in Brazil and over 100 bands under contract, Nuclear Blast holds the status of the global market leader in the independent heavy metal sector.


Around 120 bands are currently under contract with Nuclear Blast. Currently the most successful engagements include Accept , Anthrax , Avantasia , Belphegor , Blind Guardian , Dimmu Borgir , Doro , Edguy , Epica , Gotthard , Korpiklaani , Kreator , Meshuggah , Nightwish , Testament , Sabaton , Slayer and Sonata Arctica . The label also has its own mail order company under the name Prophecies Publishing, operates a shop attached to the company building in Donzdorf, as well as adapted shops in several major German cities, and publishes the music magazine “Blast!” Every quarter with a circulation of 200,000 Piece.

In mid-2015 Markus Staiger and Tobbe Falarz founded the subsidiary label Arising Empire, which specializes in metalcore , punk and rock . Warner Music is responsible for distribution . The first four groups to be signed include Imminence and GWLT .

In addition, the sub-label SharpTone Records u. a. Miss May I , We Came as Romans and Attila under contract.

There is an exclusive distribution agreement with Infinity Entertainment for sales in Greece and Cyprus .

Company history

The founding years (1987–1989)

Born in Donzdorf, Markus Staiger, not to be confused with Marcus Staiger , a former label owner for Berlin rap, developed a predilection for punk and hardcore in his youth , which prompted him to found a fanzine called Graffiti . Building on this, the operation of a small mailorder followed; Based on the location of the company's headquarters in its own garden, first dung heap distribution , later called Core .

After Staiger returned from a trip to the USA in 1987 to deepen his knowledge of the music scene he preferred, he made the decision to set up a label in addition to the mail order, which he to pay homage to baptized his then favorite band Blast , Nuclear Blast. In the same year, the US sampler Senseless Death , the Condemned? Album Humanoid or Biomechanoid and the Impulse Manslaughter debut Who Laughs Last… Laughs Alone released the first three albums. They were followed by other punk and hardcore releases, until the end of the 80s with the grindcore band Righteous Pigs for the first time breaking new genre territory.

Breakthrough and the way up (1990–1999)

At the beginning of the new decade, the releases of Atrocity , Master and Incubus albums garnered multiple press reviews and made Nuclear Blast internationally known. In the course of the growing interest in Death Metal, the band catalog was expanded to include groups such as Pungent Stench , Disharmonic Orchestra and Benediction . The mail order area also flourished, so that Staiger was able to employ two permanent employees and a few temporary workers at the beginning of the 1990s, although the company premises were still on the upper floor of the parents' house and the shops had not made much money to date. The breakthrough came in 1993 and 1994 with the help of the signings from Hypocrisy , Dismember , Kataklysm , Therion and Amorphis . As a result of the great popularity that these bands found in the metal scene, the number of employees grew to 15; the establishment of a branch in the USA under the name Nuclear Blast America became possible.

In 1995 the first Nuclear Blast Festival tour with Amorphis, Benediction, Dismember, Hypocrisy and Meshuggah started. In the same year, Gorefest was the first nuclear blast band to enter the German album charts (# 82) with Erase . This success was surpassed in 1997 by five German chart positions in a row, achieved by Therion, Dimmu Borgir , Crematory , In Flames and Hammerfall . The latter went to number 38 with the album Glory to the Brave , which for a long time held the status of the best-selling nuclear blast debut. At the end of the year the number of employees had risen to 20 and the hundred-page mailorder catalog was sent to 50 countries every quarter. In 1998, Legacy of Kings , Hammerfall's second album, reached number 15 in the German charts, the highest chart entry in the company's history. The worldwide established sales network was supported by the new technical possibilities of the internet: a website with information about bands of the label and an online shop. The year 1999 brought 14 chart entries, further increases in staff and an associated move within Donzdorf to a larger office building - including an affiliated shop.

First gold (2000-2009)

The first major award for a band of the label was achieved in early 2000: Infinite by Stratovarius received gold in Finland . In 2002 Manowar reached number 15 in the single charts with Warriors of the World , as well as number two with the accompanying album Warriors of the World , which stayed in the German album charts for 25 weeks and was also awarded gold a short time later. As a further step in consolidating its global presence, the South American office Nuclear Blasts opened in São Paulo, Brazil , at the end of the same year .

In 2004, Nightwish signed a contract with Nuclear Blast, which as a result released their album Once , which earned it number one on the media control charts and platinum awards for over 250,000 copies sold in Germany and Finland. On the company's 20th anniversary in 2007, Sonata Arctica was able to achieve gold status in Finland with their album Reckoning Night , and the Swiss hard rock band Gotthard received airplay from the SWR 3 headphones in the commercial radio sector.

To celebrate the label's birthday, the 20-year Nuclear Blast Festival took place in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart , during which Blind Guardian , Dimmu Borgir, Edguy , Kataklysm and Subway to Sally performed. At the beginning of 2008, Nightwish were nominated as the best international rock / pop band for the German Echo , which they won a few months later; they were also given the opportunity to appear at the award show. At the same time, Subway to Sally and Auf Kiel won the Bundesvision Song Contest initiated by Stefan Raab , in which Rage took third place the following year. At the Frankfurt Music Fair 2008, the company was represented with its own stand for the first time in its history. Subway to Sally received a gold award in mid-April for their DVD Nackt, which had sold over 20,000 times, and Gotthard contributed the official fan song of the host country and their home country, Switzerland , to the 2008 European Football Championship with the re-release of their song Lift U Up .

In 2009, Flames received the P3 Award for best rock / metal act as well as the Swedish Metal Award for best death metal act and for best video in their home country Sweden ; Her compatriots from Hammerfall went gold with No Sacrifice, No Victory three weeks after their release. Numerous other bands were signed during the year, including Accept , Overkill , Symphony X , Rhapsody of Fire , Unleashed , Immolation , Sabaton , Hardcore Superstar , Suffocation , Vader , and The 69 Eyes . Furthermore, a sub-label opened under the name Anstalt Records , through which albums by Pitbull Terrorist and Milking the Goatmachine were released.

Further successes (from 2010)

The new work by the Italian symphonic metal band Rhapsody of Fire entered the sales charts in twelve countries, and the album A Way Away by the Finnish band Indica stayed in the German charts for over two months. At the Summer Breeze Festival 2010, a Nuclear Blast Label Night took place for the first time, in which Rage, Equilibrium , Unleashed and Suffocation, among others, played. The publications and successes in summer and autumn were overshadowed on October 5th by the accidental death of Gotthard frontman Steve Lee . At the end of the year the thrash metal bands Destruction and Flotsam and Jetsam were signed again. In addition, the band Condemned? Returned to the label , whose album Humanoid or Biomechanoid was released in 1987 as the second release Nuclear Blasts. Biohazard , Decapitated , Forbidden , Graveyard , Hell , Municipal Waste and Sepultura could be won as new bands. In the first half of the year, the subcontracting of the bands Tasters , We Came as Romans and Texas in July indicated that the label would strive in the future to cover the area of ​​modern metal especially by supporting young bands.

2012 Nuclear Blast celebrated its 25th anniversary and was at the beginning of Gold Awards for the Nightwish -Werk Imaginaerum celebrate in Germany, Switzerland and Slovakia.

In October 2018, the majority stake in Nuclear Blast GmbH was acquired by the French company Believe Digital .

The sub-label Arising Empire was sold to Kontor New Media, a subsidiary of Edel Music AG , on June 22nd, 2020 .

Bands and artists

Current bands and artists

Former bands and artists (selection)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Renzo Wellinger: Musikmarkt : Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ Tyler Sharp: Alternative Press : Attila, We Came As Romans, Miss May I, others leave their current record labels for new company
  3. ^ Nuclear Blast - History 2008 - 2010. Accessed February 15, 2015 .
  4. Summer Breeze Festival 2010 - Nuclear Blast Label Night. In: January 17, 2010, accessed February 15, 2015 .
  5. ^ Moritz Grütz: Nuclear Blast - Plague of locusts in Donzdorf? In: March 7, 2020, accessed June 21, 2020 .
  6. ^ Murray Stassen: Distributor Kontor New Media acquires German rock label Arising Empire. In: June 22, 2020, accessed June 22, 2020 .