Shrapnel Records

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Shrapnel Records
Shrapnel logo.png
Parent company The Orchard
Founded 1980 (1980)
Founder Mike Varney
Distributor(s) The Orchard
Genre Heavy metal, speed metal, neo-classical metal, hard rock, instrumental rock
Country of origin U.S.
Location Novato, California
Official website

Shrapnel Records is a guitar-oriented record label started in 1980 by record producer Mike Varney. 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, Justin James, Bruce Bouillet, Joey Tafolla, Jason Becker, Michelle Meldrum and Nicole Couch (Phantom Blue), Greg Howe, Richie Kotzen 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. Today, Shrapnel Records continues to provide a platform for exceptional hard rock, shred, progressive metal and heavy metal guitarists. Recent signings include: Marc Rizzo from Soulfly, John 5 of Marilyn Manson fame and the melodic speed-metal band TimeLord which features the guitar team of Matt Aub and Aaron Richert. Shrapnel Records continues to be the home of the "heavy metal guitar hero."

In the 1990s Mike Varney started the Tone Center Records and Blues Bureau International sublabels to promote fusion and blues respectively.

The label was acquired by The Orchard in November 2015.[1]

Notable Shrapnel Records Releases[edit]

Official Shrapnel Records Website[edit]