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Nuclear Blast is an independent major record label and mail order record distributor with subsidiaries in Germanymarker, the United Statesmarker and Brazilmarker. The record label was founded in 1987 by Markus Staiger in Germany. Originally releasing hardcore punk records, the label moved on to releasing albums by melodic death metal, grindcore, power metal and black metal bands, as well as tribute albums. Nuclear Blast is widely respected as the top label for the melodic metal scene, along with fellow non-RIAA label Century Media. The label's main office is in Donzdorfmarker, Göppingenmarker. Nuclear Blast America is distributed through Century Media, as part of a strategic partnership between the two independent metal labels. Their most successful artists include Mnemic, Blind Guardian, Soilwork, In Flames, Meshuggah, Therion, Dimmu Borgir, Nile, Anthrax, Death, Behemoth, Sonata Arctica, Epica, Eluveitie, Wintersun, and Nightwish.


Nuclear Blast was formed in 1987 after founder Markus Staiger travelled throughout the United Statesmarker for four weeks and saw a gig of his favorite band BL'AST!. The label was originally titled simply "Blast", but this was soon changed to Nuclear Blast. The label's first release was a vinyl compilation called Senseless Death (NB 001) featuring US Hardcore bands like Attitude, Sacred Denial, Impulse Manslaughter and others. The first edition of 1000 copies was sold out after one year.

Nuclear Blast started signing grindcore acts after Staiger discovered Las Vegas' Righteous Pigs. This followed with releases by Atrocity, Deathstars, Master and (Incubus) Opprobrium, which all sold over 30,000 copies. The grindcore explosion is considered a landmark in the label's history, gaining it worldwide attention.

In the early nineties, black metal became highly popular in the European underground, and Nuclear Blast signed many bands. Many of them, such as Dimmu Borgir and Dissection, are still signed to Nuclear Blast. The black metal trend became increasingly popular, and by 1996, several Nuclear Blast-signed artists were entering European charts. By the end of 1997, Nuclear Blast had 20 employees and mailed out a 100 page catalogue quarterly to 50 countries.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, they expanded into a direction of power metal, promoting bands such as HammerFall and the German power metal innovators Helloween. During the 2000s, Nuclear Blast started promoting some Finnish bands, such as Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, and the German band Blind Guardian, expanding their style further into different subgenres of metal.

Swedish band Meshuggah became the first band in the history of Nuclear Blast Records to crack the Billboard 200, landing at #165 with their 2002 album, Nothing. Meshuggah also became the first Nuclear Blast band to be reviewed in Rolling Stone magazine.

The Label was featured in the 2006 German movie Heavy Metal auf dem Lande.


In 2007, Nuclear Blast released two discs to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a record label. The discs are intended to showcase the talent on their roster. The albums are much in the same vein as Roadrunner United. The first album, Into the Light features songs composed and written by Rage guitarist Victor Smolski with singers Tobias Sammet (of Edguy), Peter "Peavy" Wagner (Rage), Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), Mats Levén (Therion), Marcel "Schmier" Schirmer (Destruction), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Andi Deris (Helloween), Oddleif Stensland (Communic), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), and Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish). The second disc, Out of the Dark was written by former Soilwork guitarist Peter Wichers and features the drumming of former Soilwork drummer Henry Ranta and current drummer Dirk Verbeuren and also includes ten tracks with Anders Fridén (In Flames), Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy), Jari Mäenpää (Wintersun), Christian Älvestam (Ex-Scar Symmetry), John Bush (Ex-Anthrax), Björn "Speed" Strid (Soilwork), Maurizio Iacono (Kataklysm), Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), Richard Sjunnesson (Sonic Syndicate) & Roland Johansson (Ex-Sonic Syndicate) and Guillaume Bideau (Mnemic).

Nuclear Blast All-Stars: Into the Light (Album) - June 7, 2007

Nuclear Blast All-Stars: Out of the Dark (Album) - September 21, 2007

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