The following "Metal Massacre" compilations played a large part in the early history of heavy metal. Back in 1981 Brian Slagel decided to put together a compilation of various unsigned, underground metal bands. The resulting Metal Massacre series became the cornerstone of Metal Blade Records, one of the few American metal indie labels that still exists today. This is where Slayer, Overkill, Sacred Reich, Armored Saint, Lizzy Borden, Fates Warning, Metal Church and even Metallica among many others got their start. Since there are so many of these I decided they needed to be on their own page apart from the rest of my compilations collection.

Metal Massacre (Metal Massacre) 1982

1. "Chains Around Heaven" -Black 'N' Blue (3:45)
2. "Live for the Whip" -Bitch (5:19)
3. "Captive of Light" - Malice (3:21)
4. "Octave" -instrumental -Avatar (3:48)
5. "Death of the Sun" -Cirith Ungol (3:56)
6. "Dead of the Night"-Demon Flight (2:35)
7. "Fighting Backwards" -Pandemonium (3:44)
8. "Kick You Down" -Malice (4:28)
9. "Hit the Lights"-Metallica (4:12)

Metal Massacre was the debut for Metal Blade Records, as well as for quite a few bands who went on to record albums for Metal Blade. Pandemonium, Malice, Bitch, and Cirith Ungol all released several albums after this compilation. Black 'n' Blue became a pet project for Kiss' Gene Simmons.and signed a major label deal. Black 'n' Blue guitarist Tommy Thayer eventually went on to join Kiss.

Metallica went on to superstardom becoming one of the biggest selling heavy metal bands ever. "Metal Massacre" was their humble beginnings, and what humble beginnings it was. The sound quality of this track is simply awful. Contrary to popular opinion, Dave Mustaine did not play on this track, at least not on the version on the original pressing.
The vinyl releases of Metal Massacre are a bit confusing. There are actually different mixes of the Metallica song on the different vinyl pressings. Metallica recorded another version of "Hit The Lights" because they thought the original one was badly produced. The solo on the original recording was recorded in Lloyd Grant's apartment on a 4-track recorder. He played with a Montgomery Ward amp. As far as anyone knows, the line-up for this track was originally: Vocals, bass, rhythm guitar: James Hetfield, Drums: Lars Ulrich and guitar solo by Lloyd Grant. Dave Mustaine recorded the solo on the second version of the song and Ron McGovney played the bass. This is the version that appears on the CD re-release. Neither of these versions are the same as the one from the Power Metal demo.

The first and second vinyl pressings also had different track listings, with Steeler's "Cold Day In Hell" being on the first pressing and replaced with Black 'n Blue's "Chains Around Heaven" being on the second. Black 'N Blue's contribution was a demo recording. On the CD pressing neither of these tracks appear and also Ratt's "Tell the World" is omitted.  Of course Ratt went on to multi-platinum success as well.

First Vinyl Pressing (1982)
  A1. STEELER - Cold Day In Hell
  A2. BITCH - Live for the Whip (5:19)
  A3. MALICE - Captive of Light (3:21)
  A4. RATT - Tell The World
  A5. AVATAR - "Octave" [instrumental] (3:48)
  B1. CIRITH UNGOL - Death of the Sun (3:56)
  B2. DEMON FLIGHT - Dead of the Night (2:35)
  B3. PANDEMONIUM - Fighting Backwards (3:44)
  B4. MALICE - Kick You Down (4:28)
  B4. METALLICA - Hit the Lights (4:25)

Second Vinyl Pressing (1984)
  A1. BLACK 'N' BLUE - Chains Around Heaven (3:45)
  A2. BITCH - Live for the Whip (5:19)
  A3. MALICE - Captive of Light (3:21)
  A4. RATT - Tell The World
  A5. AVATAR - "Octave" [instrumental] (3:48)
  B1. CIRITH UNGOL - Death of the Sun (3:56)
  B2. DEMON FLIGHT - Dead of the Night (2:35)
  B3. PANDEMONIUM - Fighting Backwards (3:44)
  B4. MALICE - Kick You Down (4:28)
  B4. METALLICA - Hit the Lights

Metal Massacre II Metal Massacre 2 (Metal Blade) 1982

1. "Lesson Well Learned" -Armored Saint (2:51)
2. "Mind Invader" -3rd Stage Alert (3:51)
3. "Rivit Head" -Surgical Steel (3:03)
4. "Shadows of Steel" -Obsession (4:31)
5. "Scepters of Deceit" -Savage Grace (3:45)
6. "No Holds Barred" -Overkill (4:12)
7. "Lucifer's Hammer" -Warlord (3:18)
8. "Such a Shame" -Trauma (2:53)
9. "It's Alright" -Dietrich (3:26)
10. "Inversion" -Molten Leather (4:04)
11. "Kings" -Hyksos (6:11)
12. "Heavy Metal Virgin" -Aloha (3:01)

Well, it's got Armored Saint's first recording and only Trauma song that Burton recorded before getting picked up by Metallica. "Massacre 2" also has a alternate version of Warlord's "Lucifer's Hammer," a band many consider to be a classic. They definitely have a unique, doomy sound with pouding drums. Of course Warlord features drummer Mark Zonder, who went on to fame with Fates Warning. Obsession and Savage Grace are two other bands that I am familiar with. (I saw Savage Grace at the Penny Archade in Rochester, NY in the 80's.) The rest of the bands are pretty much unknown to me but overall this is a good listen all the way through. The Overkill on this compilation is NOT the same Overkill that we all know and love today, although they too will show up on Metal Massacre V.

Metal Massacre III (Metal Blade) 1983

1. "Aggressive Perfector" -Slayer (3:29)
2. "Riding in Thunder" -Bitch (3:57)
3. "The Battle of Armageddon" -Tyrant (5:14)
4. "Piranahs" -Medusa (2:11)
5. "Bite the Knife" -Test Pattern (5:25)
6. "Blitzkrieg" [instrumental] -Black Widow (2:56)
7. "Mrs. Victoria" -Warlord (5:55)
8. "Let's Go All the Way" -Virgin Steele (3:12)
9. "Fire and Wind" -Sexist (3:00)
10. "Hell Bent" -Snowhite (1:49)
11. "The Kid" -Marauder (3:01)
12. "Fist and Chain" -La Mort (2:37)

This has got to be one of the worst "Metal Massacre" discs. About half of this CD sounds like garage band fodder. The best song is probably the Slayer song, which is youthful speed metal energy. The Bitch, Warlord, Virgin Steele and Tyrant songs are quite good as well, all of the traditional metal variety. All these bands went on to record full length albums. This has got to be the most generic cover of all the Metal Massacre discs as well. Well, I guess for $2.99 (new and still sealed) I can't complain to much.

Metal Massacre IV Metal Massacre IV (Metal Blade) 1983

1. "The Alien" -Sacred Blade (3:39)
2. "Cross My Way" -Death Dealer (3:40)
3. "The Last Judgement" -Trouble (5:03)
4. "Taken by Force" -Sceptre (2:44)
5. "Speed Zone" -Zoetrope (2:41)
6. "Forbidden Evil" -War Cry (4:37)
7. "Screams from the Grave" -Abattoir (3:24)
8. "I Don't Want to Die" -Witchslayer (4:59)
9. "Rod of Iron" -Lizzy Borden (4:29)
10. "Fear No Evil" -August Redmoon (3:52)
11. "Destructer" -Thrust (4:13)
12. "Medieval" -Medieval (3:19)

One of the more consistent Metal Massacre discs, although with the exception of Trouble, none of these bands went on to any great success. Trouble's "The Last Judgement" is a slow doom-metal number that was never re-recorded for any official Trouble album. This, of course, makes the Trouble song alone reason enough for me to own this disc. However, there are several other decent tracks as well. You can really see the beginnings of speed metal and thrash on this disc with bands like Zoetrope, War Cry and especially Abattoir. Abattoir, as featured on this CD, featured the vocals of John Cyriis and guitarist Juan Garcia who went on to form Agent Steel. Lizzy Borden, of course, became the Metal Blade house band and is still with Metal Blade two decades later. Oh, and you have to love the special thanks, "Extra special spiked leather thanks to all you over the top hardcore headbangers and terminal metalheads!"

Metal Massacte V Metal Massacre V (Metal Blade) 1984

1. "Torture Me" -Omen (3:26)
2. "Condemned to the Gallows" -Voivod (5:09)
3. "(Call on) The Attacker" -Attacker (3:35)
4. "Nightmare" -Future Tense (3:50)
5. "Death Rider" -Overkill (3:52)
6. "Soldier Boy" -Fates Warning (6:20)
7. "The Brave" -Metal Church (4:27)
8. "Destroyer" -Lethyl Synn (3:27)
9. "The Warrior" -Final Warning (3:49)
10. "Crucifixion" -Hellhammer (2:50)
11. "Marching Saphroyites" -Mace (4:07)

Now this was humble beginnings for some of the more popular metal bands of the 80's. A couple of these bands, including Overkill and especially Metal Church, signed major label deals and went on to become quite popular. Both songs by these bands have not seen re-release on any of their full lenght albums, as far as I know. The Metal Church track was also released on at least two other albums, 'The Best of Metal Blade, Volume 1' and more importantly the soundtrack to 'The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years'. Another artist that gained quite a bit of popularity but remains signed to Metal Blade to this day is Fates Warning. Few bands have had an effect on the modern progressive metal movement like Fates Warning. Their contribution to this album was re-recorded for their first album "Night on Brocken." It is actually the best song on that disc (see my Fates Warning page for a full review of that disc.) Another highly influencial band has it's humble beginnings on this disc; Hellhammer. (Who later became Celtic Frost, of course.) Voivod's thrashy, gutteral contribution to this cd is interesting. One band who I am not familiar with other than this compilaiton is Jesters of Destiny who turn in a song that compares with all the other bands on this disc. Overall, probably the most solid of all the Metal Massacre discs from beginning to end.

Metal Massacre VI (Metal Blade) 1985

1. "Swing of the Axe" -Possessed (3:50)
2. "XXX" -Nasty Savage (5:26)
3. "Executioner" -Steel Assassin (5:02)
4. "Tear Down the Walls" -Mayhem (5:44)
5. "Easy Way Out" -Hades(4:46)
6. "Metal Merchants" -Hallow's Eve (4:27)
7. "Bombs of Death" -Hirax (2:01)
8. "Fountain Keeper" -Pathfinder (3:52)
9. "Welcome to the Slaughterhouse" -Dark Angel(5:22)
10. "Concrete Cancer" -The Obsessed (3:16)
11. "En Masse (Stand or Die)" -Martyr (5:10)

Thrash was the king of the day at this point in time in metal's history, as can be cleary seen by the amount of thrash bands on "Metal Massacre 6". Possessed, while having awful lyrics, were one of the better bands musically. Many credit them with being the first death metal band. Nasty Savage, of course, tear it loose with "XXX", a song that also appears on their album "Indulgence," although this version is different than the album version. Hades are one of the few that aren't of the thrash variety, but in my opinion, give us one of the best songs on this disc. Hallows Eve, Hirax, and Dark Angel also turn in some speed laden, metal mayhem. Hirax have a very unique sound, thanks mostly to vocalist Katon DePena. "Welcome to the Slaughterhouse" is the most Slayer-like of all the bands here. If I am not mistaken, this is the same verions of "Welcome to the Slaughterhouse" that appeared on "We Have Arrived." The Obssessed also stear clear of the thrash genre, offering up some melodic, heavy doooooom! Excellent, haunting vocals from Scott "Wino" Weinrich. Overall, this is one of the better Metal Massacre releases and probably the one I revisit the most over the years.

Metal Massacre VII Metal Massacre VII (Metal Blade) 1986

1. "Impulse" -Heretic (4:18)
2. "Sentinel Beast" -Sentinel Beast (5:20)
3. "I Live, You Die" -Flotsam & Jetsam (6:19)
4. "Rented Heat" -Krank (4:09)
5. "Backstabber" -Mad Man (2:53)
6. "Widow's Walk" -Detente (2:20)
7. "High 'N' Mighty" -Commander (4:16)
8. "In the Blood of Virgins" -Juggernaut (4:13)
9. "Reich of Torture" -Cryptic Slaughter (2:33)
10. "The Omen" -Have Mercy (4:18)
11. "The Awakening" -Titanic (4:42)
12. "Troubled Ways" -Lost Horizon (4:31)

Of all the Metal Massacre CDs this is probably the most solid from beginning to end. Metal Massacre 7 starts with a smokin' track from pre-Mike Howe Heretic. This song shows a whole lot of promise. To bad that Metal Blade hasn't seen it fit yet to re-release Heretic's catalog. Their one full length album and EP are both considered classics and both are out-or-print and in high demand on auction sites. Next up is the equally impressive Sentinel Beast with a self-titled speed metal track. Flotsam & Jetsam offer up an early demo version of "I Live, You Die" featuring Jason Newsted on bass. This track was later re-recorded for their "No Place for Disgrace" CD. Krank is a band I have always liked. Saw this band at some dive in Rochester, NY in the late 80's while I was in college."Rented Heat" will stick to your brain for hours after hearing it. Cryptic Slaughter have become underground cult favorite. "Reich of Torture" is a hardcore injected thrash number. Have Mercy's "The Omen" is yet another speed metal number. Not sure if this song was recorded for this compilation or if it was off a demo. It does not appear on the Combat Boot compilation that Have Mercy also appear on. There are a few slightly weaker spots on this CD, but overall, a solid disc. Glad to finally have it in my collection. (thanks Trogdawn.)

Metal Massacre 8 & 9 Metal Masacre 8 & 9 (Metal Blade) 1987/1988

1. "Ignorance" -Sacred Reich (3:50)
2. "Hellbound" -Viking (2:58)
3. "Keeper of the Flame" -Overlorde (4:07)
4. "Violence Is Golden" -Fatal Violence (4:58)
5. "Spare No Lives" -Tactics (2:43)
6. "Nothing Left" -Sanctum (4:26)
7. "Into the Darkness" -Gargoyle (3:44)
8. "Death Awaits You" -Ripper (5:43)
9. "Take 'Em Alive" -E.S.P. (3:53)
10. "Intimate With Evil" -Wargod (4:46)
11. "Deadly Kiss" -L.S.N. (2:58)
12. "Bullets" -Cobalt Blue (3:34)
13. "We Want You" -Banshee (3:11)
14. "Old World Nights" -Oliver Magnum (5:37)
15. "Wasteland" -Toxik (5:09)
16. "Blood Under Heaven" -Dissenter (5:16)
17. "Needle Damage" -Chaos Horde (3:28)
18. "Dehumanize" -Faith or Fear (4:17)

Not a bad compilation, but not my favorite either. Sacred Reich, Toxik and Faith or Fear are the best bands on here. Only Sacred Reich did anything noteworthy outside of this compilation, although Faith or Fear, and Toxik all released albums that were good, although didn't make a big splash commercially. (As if that matters!). There are a few other above average songs, like thrasher"Hellbound" from Viking, but overall this is only an average Metal Massacre compilation. I think I will stick with Metal Massacre 5, as it is the best of the bunch.

Metal Massacre 10 Metal Massacre Ten (Metal Blade Records) 1990

1.     Betrayal - Sick Or Sane? (3:18)
2.     Solitude - Typhoid Mary (5:17)
3.     Murdercar - Mirage Of Blood (2:48)
4.     Confessor - The Secret (5:35)
5.     Dan Collette - Egyptian Falcon (5:12)
6.     Nihilist - Infected (3:18)
7.     R.O.T. - Visions In Secret (6:05)
8.     Wench - Mercy (5:58)
9.     Slaughter - The Fourth Dimension (4:58)
10.   I.D.K. - Stayed Up 4 Daze (2:20)

For some reason after Metal Massacre 9 I stopped paying attention. I'm not sure why, but when Metal Massacre Ten came in the mail in 2014, I was blown away that 24 years later I was hearing this album for the first time. What we have here is a compilation of mostly thrash metal bands with a few oddities thrown in. Of course int 1988-89 when this comp was being put together, thrash metal was the flavor of the day. So the album starts off with two killer thrash metal monsters. Both Betrayal and Solitude offer up crunchy guitar riffs. I also love the high pitched vocals and thrash metal attack of Confessor. Dan Collette threw me for a loop. Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb, this instrumental song sounds a lot like the shred instrumentals of the 80's but instead of a lead guitarist, there is a lead saxophone player. I'm not sure I could sit through a whole album of that but it was a nice break in the middle of all the fast paced metal.

Metal Massacre 12 (Metal Blade) 1995

1.  Paingod - Paingod (4:02)
2.  Crisis - Sweething (3:45)
3.  Pist on - Exhume Her (4:13)
4.  Avernus - Godlessness (7:37)
5.  Ancient - Det Glemte Riket (6:55)
6.  Level - The Allkowing (5:13)
7.  Tipper Gor - Wolf (3:55)
8.  Gunga Din - Rain Dance (3:51)
9.  Divine Regale - Cry To Heaven (3:58)
10. Pervis - #3 (3:01)
11. And Christ Wept - Anti (Coat Hanger Mix) (4:03)
12. Amboog-A-Lard - The Wounded (4:52)
13. Eulogy - Human Harvest (4:57)
14. Overcast - Twodegreesbelow (4:48)
15. Big Twin Din - Arizona Life (3:13)

Back in the 80's the Metal Massacre releases were a great way to learn about new bands. Some of the biggest and best made their debut on one of those old Metal Massacre releases. With "XII" Metal Blade prove just how bad the heavy metal "scene" was in the mid-1990's. You either had all the bands trying to out-heavy the next band, or you had a bunch of Pantera wanna-be bands with a vocalist that screamed at you like a pissed-off drill sergeant at a lazy cadet. Of course that trend would only get worse as metalcore would become the next boring flavor-of-the-month. Just about every band down-tuning as low as humanly possible and boring us to death with a wall of sound, rather than solid guitar work, dual guitar harmonies, driving rhythm sections filling out the bottom end, killer vocals, etc. like in years past. In fact, I'd have a hard time calling some of this stuff metal. But rather than completely focus on the negative, there are always some diamonds in the rough. In this case there is the gothic doom metal of Avernus. Divine Regale offer up some decent prog-metal that is driven by equal parts keyboards and guitars. Pervis offer an up-beat, punk-infused rocker. This one just didn't do it for me. Bring on the real metal.
Vol. XII is absolutely the worst Metal Massacre CD thus far.

Metalmeister Metalmeister (Metal Blade) 1996

1. "Mummified in Barbed Wire" -Cannibal Corpse (3:09)
2. "Psychotic Companion" -Galactic Cowboys (7:32)
3. "Blue Suit, Brown Shirt" -Sacred Reich (2:27)
4. "Into the Unknown" -Mercyful Fate (6:33)
5. "Meat Sandwich" -GWAR (3:28)
6. "The Enemy Inside" -Six Feet Under (4:17)
7. "She Said" -Skrew (5:04)
8. "Scorched Earth" -Wardog (3:02)
9. "Here In After" -Immolation (4:54)
10. "Wretched" -Crisis (3:41)
11. "Before Today, Beyond Tomorrow" -Desultory (4:48)
12. "The Curse" -Ancient (4:47)
13. "Kill Yourself for Business" -United (4:10)
14. "Fall-Dark Waters" -Decoryah (7:16)
15. "Creepy Feelings" [demo] -Armored Saint (4:25)

I know that this isn't a Metal Massacre release, but it is a compilation of metal bands put together by Metal Blade Records, so I think it fits on this page quite well. Rather than being a compilation to introduce new, unheard of bands like the Metal Massacre CDs, "Metalmeister" is a compilation of mostly established Metal Blade artists. The first six tracks on this disc are all quite good and I enjoyed the variety of styles between the bands. Cannibal Corspe are an outstanding death metal band. Galactic Cowboys are one of my all time favorite bands and "Psychotic Companion" is just a super progressive rocker. Sacred Reich and Mercyful Fate are both classic bands, and while the albums these songs are from are not rated amongst their best, these songs are still quite good. GWAR are just funny. I am not a big fan, but I liked "Meat Sandwich." Six Feet Under are one of the most hated of death metal bands in the underground, as far as I can see. However, I like them and I like this song! Simplistic, bang yer head metal riffs with a death metal vocalist. It's almost like AC/DC gone death metal. After this song, however, the disc goes downhill quickly. Skrew, Wardog, Crisis are all LAME! Immolation are a joke. I know they are a highly touted death metal band but I think they suck! Boring riffs, crappy guitar tones that come from tuning down far to low and terrible lyrics to boot. United and Armored Saint help to finish the disc off on a strong note, but there is just to much crap in the middle. Not a bad compilation as long as you have the old remote handy to hit skip on a few songs. Eventually I will need to make a CDR compilation of the best tracks from these Metal Blade compilations.

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