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|Distributor(s)||RED Distribution (US)
Fontana Distribution (US)
Universal Music Group (CAN)
eOne Music (Worldwide)
|Genre||Heavy metal, Hardcore punk|
|Country of origin||Germany|
Nuclear Blast is an independent record label and mail order record distributor with subsidiaries in Germany, the United States and Brazil. 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 was formed in 1987 after founder Markus Staiger travelled throughout the United States 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 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 1990s, black metal became more popular in Europe, and Nuclear Blast signed many bands. Some of them, such as Dimmu Borgir, 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.
Swedish band Meshuggah became the first band in the history of Nuclear Blast Records to crack the Billboard 200, landing at number 165 with their 2002 album, Nothing. Meshuggah also became the first Nuclear Blast band to be reviewed in Rolling Stone magazine.
In 2004, Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish released Once on Nuclear Blast, which rocketed to the top of the charts in multiple countries, including Finland, Germany, Norway, Greece, Sweden, Austria, and more. It became the first release in the company's history to reach number 1 on the German charts.