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|Parent company||Sony Music Entertainment|
|Genre||Heavy metal, speed metal, neo-classical metal, hard rock, instrumental rock|
|Country of origin||U.S.|
Guitarist Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth, ex-Cacophony), one of the label's most successful artists, first appeared on the album Unsung Guitar Heroes II in 1980 with the band Vixen. Vixen would later change their name to Hawaii and release the album One Nation Underground for Shrapnel. In 1981, a friend gave Mike Varney a tape featuring a 17-year-old Swedish guitarist named Yngwie Malmsteen. A year later, Malmsteen wrote to the label stating that he wanted to export his music to America. Varney, who started writing a column called "Spotlight" for Guitar Player magazine in 1982, featured Malmsteen in his February 1983 column. The record executive flew Yngwie to California and set him up with vocalist Ron Keel's new band called Steeler. Steeler's self-titled album became a best selling release for Shrapnel Records.
The Shrapnel Records label and a growing worldwide interest in virtuoso "neoclassical-fusion" guitar playing helped launch the careers of dozens of other technically adept guitarists such as David T. Chastain, Vinnie Moore, Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert, Bruce Bouillet, Joey Tafolla, Jason Becker, Michelle Meldrum and Nicole Couch (Phantom Blue), Greg Howe, Richie Kotzen, Borislav Mitic and the aforementioned Marty Friedman.
In the 1990s, established players such as George Lynch (Lynch Mob, Dokken) and Michael Schenker (MSG, Scorpions) recorded albums for the label. In the Mid-2000's the label signed Marc Rizzo from Soulfly and John 5 of Marilyn Manson fame. Shrapnel Records continues to provide a platform for exceptional hard rock, shred, progressive metal and heavy metal "guitar heroes".
In 1989 Mike Varney co-founded progressive rock/metal label Magna Carta Records. In the 1990s Mike Varney also started the Tone Center Records and Blues Bureau International sublabels to promote fusion and blues respectively.
Notable early Shrapnel Records releases
|SH-1006||Unsung Guitar Heroes (V.A.)||U.S. Metal Vol. 2||1982||feat. Michael Angelo Batio and Marty Friedman|
|SH-1007||Steeler||Steeler||1983||feat. Yngwie Malmsteen|
|SH-1009||Hawaii||One Nation Underground||1983|
|SH-1013||Unsung Guitar Heroes (V.A.)||U.S. Metal Vol. 4||1984||feat. Shawn Lane|
|SH-1014||Keel||Lay Down the Law||1984|
|SH-1018||Chastain||Mystery of Illusion||1985|
|SH-1020||Vicious Rumors||Soldiers of the Night||1986|
|SH-1021||Tony MacAlpine||Edge of Insanity||1986|
|SH-1023||Racer X||Street Lethal||1986|
|SH-1024||Chastain||Ruler of the Wasteland||1986|
|SH-1027||Vinnie Moore||Mind's Eye||1986|
|SH-1030||Joey Tafolla||Out of the Sun||1987|
|SH-1031||Cacophony||Speed Metal Symphony||1987|
|SH-1032||Racer X||Second Heat||1988|
|SH-1033||Vicious Rumors||Digital Dictator||1988|
|SH-1035||Marty Friedman||Dragon's Kiss||1988|
|SH-1036||Jason Becker||Perpetual Burn||1988|
|SH-1037||Greg Howe||Greg Howe||1988|
|SH-1038||Racer X||Extreme Volume Live||1988|
|SH-1042||Richie Kotzen||Richie Kotzen||1989|
|SH-1043||Phantom Blue||Phantom Blue||1989|