It was time for a change to my reading schedule and the change came via this book detailing the history of Metal Blade Records and one Brian Slagel. I am a huge metal fan and have purchased many Metal Blade albums so I was intrigued to read about the label’s history and its growth into the force it is today.
Slagel’s story is told in a very casual manner and it works well. First and foremost, Brian Slagel is a huge metal fan and the conversational tone to this book is one of its great strengths. From the DIY beginnings inside his mother’s basement to the metal powerhouse the label is now, Slagel’s tale is full of hard work, grit and a sheer determination to get new bands heard.
Brian’s awakening to metal came via a similar route as my own. Bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Kiss and Judas Priest became the gateway bands that would sow the seeds of rock deep within his soul. The label’s success isn’t a fluke. Slagel has worked extremely hard to get where he is today and the interviews that are included in the book by bands all speak very highly of the man and his passion for metal. It hasn’t always been easy. The 90s was a tough time for metal. Grunge was monopolizing the radio waves alongside Nu-Metal. The more traditional metal bands were struggling to get noticed. Metal Blade stuck to its guns, staying well clear of these passing trends and remaining faithful to the cause, in doing so, their respect and admiration grew.
Throughout the book, Brian discusses his relationships with the bands-many of whom remain good friends to this day-he talks about the labels and distributors, the near misses in regard to signatures and much more. Towards the end, he predicts what the future of the music industry might look like and his plans for the label. He shows that he is a savvy businessman with his finger on the pulse and I have every faith that Metal Blade Records will be around for many years.
Not once whilst reading this did it feel as if Slagel was gloating. The man comes from humble beginnings, and by all accounts remains the same humble metalhead he was back then. For The Sake Of Heaviness is essential reading for anyone in love with the metal scene and the bands on Metal Blade Records.
5/5 blast beats from the Grim Reader.
Pick up a copy from here.