Book Review: “For The Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade Records”

“For The Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade Records”
Author: Brian Slagel/Mark Eglinton
BMG Books
Trade paperback: 192 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

The story of Metal Blade Records is the story of Brian Slagel-a metal-obsessed Southern California kid who launched a fanzine and landed a record store job before cobbling together what he assumed would be a one-off compilation of fledgling bands from the L.A. scene. “For The Sake Of Heaviness” pulls back the curtain to reveal the definitive look at how Metal Blade began, what they’ve accomplished, and where they’re going. With the help of co-writer Mark Eglinton, Brian Slagel invites the reader into a personal conversation about his life’s passion, and the passion that drives Metal Blade-finding, exposing, and promoting the best heavy music on the planet.

We have all probably heard in one form or another the story of how Metallica got their first big break via a compilation put together by a friend of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.  What we haven’t heard until now is the detailed story of the man who made it all happen. Within the pages of “For The Sake of Heaviness” we get an in-depth look at Brian Slagel the fan turned found/owner of one of the premier heavy metal record labels in the world. Over the course of the books 192 pages readers learn about Slagel’s first exposure to music and how a love for all things heavy would land him smack dab in the middle of the early eighties tape trading scene where he would meet a fellow  Danish collector recently transplanted to the Los Angeles area.
Brian and co-author Mark Eglinton do a great job telling the story of Metal Blade providing readers with plenty of detail and lots of stories from the early days of sweating it out in his mothers garage to working with artists like As I Lay Dying, Behemoth and Gwar to name just a few.

“For The Sake of Heaviness” is more than just the story of a guy who started his own record label. Going deeper you see the passion and love Slagel emits and how he took that passion and turned it into the business it is today. As a fan of a lot of the bands who either are currently on the label or have been associated with it in the past hearing stories of how they got to Metal Blade was really enjoyable but where the book really shines is the underlying message of just how far passion, dedication and hard work can get you in life.

Killswitch Engage Signs with Metal Blade Records; Kicks Off European Tour w/ Iron Maiden

Killswitch Engage signs with Metal Blade Records and Columbia/Sony Music Germany; kicks off European tour with Iron Maiden

Photo credit: John McMurtrie

Metal Blade Records is proud to welcome Killswitch Engage to its roster! Partnering with Sony Music Entertainment outside of North America, the band will be releasing their upcoming album in 2019 worldwide.

Metal Blade’s CEO/founder Brian Slagel comments: “I have been a huge fan and friend of Killswitch for a long time, so it is truly an honor to be able to work with them. So happy to welcome them to the Metal Blade family.”

Jesse Leach (vocals): “I’m beyond stoked to sign with the legendary Metal Blade Records and Columbia/Sony Music. It’s clear they truly understand and believe in what we do as a band, and we’re psyched to have them on our side. It’s an exciting new chapter for KSE and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Adam Dutkiewicz (guitar): “I’m very excited to say that Killswitch Engage will be joining forces with Metal Blade Records and Columbia/Sony Music! Super stoked to join the ranks with a long list of many epic metal acts, as well as a team of excellent human beings who truly have a genuine love for metal music. Here’s to an awesome future with awesome labels!”

Benjamin Voss, Senior A&R Manager Columbia/Sony Music Germany: “I am very happy and proud to work with such an amazing band like Killswitch Engage in the future. We are absolutely excited about releasing their new album on Sony Music outside North America.”

Currently finishing work on their upcoming album, Killswitch Engage have taken a break from recording to embark on a summer European tour with Iron Maiden. The trek will also see the band appear at various premier festivals (Sweden Rock, Graspop Metal Meeting, Hellfest, etc.), along with a few special headlining shows. Then in the fall, the band will be touring across Australia with Parkway Drive. See below for all dates!

Killswitch Engage tour dates
w/ Iron Maiden
May 26 – Saku Arena – Tallinn, Estonia
May 28 – Hartwall Arena – Helsinki, Finland
May 29 – Hartwall Arena – Helsinki, Finland
May 31 – Pustervik – Goteborg, Sweden ***
June 1 – Tele2 Arena – Stockholm, Sweden
June 2 – Rockefeller Music Hall – Oslo, Norway ***
June 3 – Trondheim Rocks @ Dahls Arena – Trondheim, Norway **
June 5 – Royal Arena – Copenhagen, Denmark
June 7 – Sweden Rock Festival – Solvesborg, Sweden **
June 9 – Rockavaria – Munich, Germany **
June 10 – Expo Plaza – Hannover, Germany
June 11 – Live Music Hall – Cologne, Germany ***
June 13 – Waldbuhne – Berlin, Germany
June 14 – Kwadrat – Krakow, Poland ***
June 16 – Akvarium Klub – Budapest, Hungary ***
June 17 – Novarock Festival – Nickelsdorf, Austria **
June 19 – Proxima – Warsaw, Poland ***
June 20 – Letnany Airport – Prague, Czech Republic
June 22 – Graspop Metal Meeting – Dessel, Belgium **
June 24 – Hellfest – Clisson, France **
June 25 – Den Atelier – Luxembourg, Luxembourg ***
June 26 – Geneva Arena – Geneva, Switzerland
June 28 – Rock in Rome @ Ippodromo Capanelle – Rome, Italy *
June 29 – Rock the Castle @ Villafranca Castle – Verona, Italy **
June 30 – Messe Freiburg – Freiburg, Germany
July 1 – GelreDome – Arnhem, Netherlands
July 31 – Metro Radio Arena – Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Aug. 1 – The Academy Dublin – Dublin, Ireland ***
Aug. 2 – SSE Arena – Belfast, UK
Aug. 4 – Aberdeen Exhibition & Conf. Centre – Aberdeen, UK
Aug. 6 – Manchester Arena – Manchester, UK
Aug. 7 – Genting Arena – Birmingham, UK
Aug. 10 – 02 Arena – London, UK
Aug. 11 – 02 Arena – London, UK
*=w/ Megadeth (no Iron Maiden)
**=festival off-date
***=Killswitch Engage headlining off-date

Killswitch Engage tour dates
w/ Parkway Drive
Oct. 25 – UC Refectory – Canberra, Australia
Oct. 26 – Hordern Pavilion – Sydney, Australia
Oct. 27 – Nex – Newcastle, Australia
Oct. 28 – Riverstage – Brisbane, Australia
Nov. 02 – Margaret Court Arena – Melbourne, Australia
Nov. 03 – Entertainment Centre – Adelaide, Australia
Nov. 06 – HBF Stadium – Perth, Australia

Formed in 1999 out of western Massachusetts, Killswitch Engage is often credited as one of the most influential metal acts in the last 20 years. Spending much of their career on the road, the band has enjoyed premium slots on major USA tours, including Ozzfest, Warped Tour, Taste of Chaos, Rockstar Energy Mayhem Fest, Music As a Weapon, and Trespass America, as well as countless international festivals around the globe. Having shared the stage with acts ranging from Rise Against to Slayer, the diversity and versatility of their touring is unparalleled. Their songs have been featured on Guitar Hero III, Rock Band, John Madden, the Resident Evil III soundtrack, and as entrance music for WWE wrestling champ CM Punk.

Twice Grammy-nominated, Killswitch Engage has sold over 3 million records worldwide, with The End of Heartache and As Daylight Dies both certified Gold in the U.S and Silver in the UK. The band’s latest album – 2016’s Incarnate – landed at #6 on the Billboard Top 200, #1 on the Current Rock Albums chart, and debuted at #1 overall in Canada, #5 in Australia, and #10 in both the UK and Germany – a testament to their international reach.

2018 will mark the end of the Incarnate album cycle, which saw the group reach new heights with its collection of anthems that set the heavy music world ablaze. Co-founders of Killswitch Engage – guitarist/backing vocalist Adam Dutkiewicz, guitarist Joel Stroetzel, bassist Mike D’Antonio, and lead vocalist Jesse Leach (who returned six years ago after a decade-long absence) – plus longtime drummer Justin Foley, are currently working on a new album, with Adam Dutkiewicz handling producer duties once again. Employing their usual unrelenting determination to continually release powerfully potent work, Killswitch Engage plans to deliver another trend-resistant, timeless record that feeds the soul, touches the heart, and strengthens the mind. Stay tuned for more news about this new album coming soon!

Killswitch Engage line-up:
Jesse Leach – Vocals
Adam Dutkiewicz – Guitar
Joel Stroetzel – Guitar
Justin Foley – Drums
Mike D’Antonio – Bass

Killswitch Engage online:
http://www.killswitchengage.com/
https://www.facebook.com/killswitchengage/
https://twitter.com/kseofficial
https://www.instagram.com/killswitchengage

 

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Blu-ray Review “Blade Runner: 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition”

Actors: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young
Director: Ridley Scott
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Run Time: 117 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

“Blade Runner” has been labeled with “The #1 Sci-Fi Film of all time” and it damn well deserves it.  The film is so epic and even though it is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, it looks like it was made yesterday.  This release comes stocked with a 4-Disc Blu-ray/ DVD + Book + UltraViolet Digital Copy Combo Pack.  I am particularly psyched about the streaming digital copy. How does that sound in terms of ass-kicking? What since the film is celebrating its birthday, there should be gifts right?  This one comes packed with goodies, including an all new concept spinner car replica, an action Lenticular and a 72 page art production book with never-before-seen Ridley sketches, poster art and photos. All that is fantastic and should satisfy any fan of the film. This commemorative gift set also includes all 10+ hours of bonus content from the equally amazing 2007 Ultimate Collector’s Edition, as well as all five feature film versions – The Final Cut, ‘92 Director’s Cut, Domestic and International Theatrical versions and the rare Workprint.

Also like the 2007 Ultimate Collector’s Edition, the video includes a really sharp pristine 1080P transferred from the newly minted 4K master. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is simply remarkable for the “Final Cut”.  I have seen this film so many times and yet it still never managed to impress me.  I should also note that the Vangelis’ score is also perfectly showcased on this TrueHD track. The rest of the versions are presented in standard Dolby Digital and the rare Workprint is presented in Dolby 2.0 stereo. If you are looking for the special features from the 2007 edition, look no future. There is over 10+ hours of extras included here as well spread out over the five disc, which seem to cover every aspect of the film’s production that is imaginable from commentaries to featurettes.

The first disc houses the film’s audio commentary tracks. Disc two holds the amazing must-watch documentary, “Dangerous Days” and runs over 3.5 hours itself. Disc three is baren of extra but don’t worry disc four is jam-packed. There are numerous featurettes, including “The Electric Dream: Remember Philip K. Dick”, “Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel Vs. the Film”, Philip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews, “Signs of the Times: Graphic Design”, “Fashion Forward: Wardrobe & Styling”, “The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth”, “Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art” and “Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard”. There is also some vintage featurettes and screen tests for Rachel & Pris, as well as various deleted and alternate scenes. Lastly the extras are wrapped up on the fourth disc with theatrical trailers. The fifth disc sums up this amazing collection of extras with yet another audio commentary track and a great featurettes “All Our Variant Futures: From Workprint to Final Cuts”, which covers every possible aspect of the various cuts.

I still have (and cherish) my limited and numbered “Blade Runner”- Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition in the kick-ass briefcase. So this edition doesn’t top that one in terms of coolness but in my eyes but it is still absolutely amazing! I know this maybe be hard to believe but, YES!, it is definitely worth the double-dip. Warner Bros. is also releasing a solo three-disc Blu-ray Book edition.  It will also deliver the five cuts of the film and all special features from the 30th Anniversary set.  Though the Blu-ray Book itself gets chopped down to only thirty-six pages instead of seventy-two pages.  It also cuts out the DVD disc, UV copies and of course the spinner replica and Lenticular hologram. So you decide which one you want but I highly recommend this release is a no-brainer if you are a fan!

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Founder/Owner of Metal Blade Records’ Brian Slagel talks about 30th Anniversary

Brian Slagel is the founder/owner of Metal Blade Records. This year marks the labels 30th anniversary and Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Brian about the labels history and what it has planned to celebrate this monumental occasion.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us what initially led you to putting together the first Metal Massacre compilation?
Brian Slagel: I was in Los Angeles and saw so many really great metal bands playing around. At that
time there was no way for them to get heard. I was a huge fan of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in England and its DIY attitude and from there I got the idea to do a compilation of local LA heavy metal bands. I was also working at a record store and I asked the import distributors I bought from if they would buy a compilation if I put one out. They said yes and the album became a reality.

AL: Did the success of that release plant the seed for you in starting Metal Blade Records or was starting/having your own label always something you wanted?
BS: I never intended to start a label. I was working at a record store and also doing a fanzine. After the album was released, I was offered a pressing and distribution deal from one of the importers. That is when it started to become a label.

AL: You gave Metallica their first real exposure with the Metal Massacre release. Was there a specific reason the band did not sign to Metal Blade?
BS: Yes I had no money as did they. So with no money there was no way to record an album. They came to me first, but no money meant it never happened.

AL: What do you feel has been the labels biggest accomplishment in its 30 years of existence?
BS: Probably just being around for 30 years and still going strong. It is a difficult business, but we have been lucky to still be around and doing what we love.

AL: With the 30 year anniversary of the label is their going to be any special edition releases or re-releases from the label?
BS: Yes we are doing special versions, vinyl, picture discs all year long. Also we are doing special sales around the world as well tied into the 30th.

AL: When signing bands to your label are there any specific qualities or characteristics you look for?
BS: There is nothing specific. We always look for bands that sound a bit different and also are willing to work with us. Getting signed these days is the easy part, and then the work really begins. It’s always helpful if the band has something happening before they ever sign with us.

DVD Review “Marvel Anime: Blade – Complete Series”

Starring: Harold Perrineau
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Running Time: 282 minutes

Series: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

This is yet another Japanese anime adaption of Marvel’s great superheros. Blade is not as popular of a Marvel character but this series kicks some major ass. It comes packed with an entertaining and smart story and is action-packed throughout. They also made Blade to be a hell of a bad-ass and really fights non-stop. Each main character really gets a good back story and it is detailed well why they are fighting these vampires. Overall, this series stands out along with “X-Men” and completely trumps “Iron Man and Wolverine” anime series.  Keep an eye out for a Wolverine-crossover, stopping by to help our half-breed vampire hunter Blade.

The story goes back to the origin of our half-breed Blade. When his pregnant mother was bitten by a vampire, she gave birth to Eric Brooks a baby boy with all the strengths of a vampire and only one of its weaknesses. The vampire hunter know as Blade is struggling to find his mother’s murderer Deacon Frost. His search leads him to Southeast Asia and along the way discovers a vampire plot to take down the world.

Harold Perrineau, known best for TV’s “Oz” and “Lost” really kicks ass with voicing Blade. I prefer the Japanese audio if anything since maybe it makes the anime-style series seem more true. The special features included on this DVD are also pretty decent including three featurettes. “Marvel Anime Universe: Blade Reborn” looking into the creation of the series. “Blade: The Vampire-Slayer” focuses on Marvel’s version of Blade with classic vampire stories. Lastly “Blade Meets Wolverine” is an interview with creator of the series.

 

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Joe Turkel talks about Stanley Kubrick, “The Shining” & “Blade Runner”

Joe Turkel is known best for his role of Lloyd the Bartender in “The Shining”.  Joe also played the iconic role of Dr. Eldon Tyrell in Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”.  Media Mikes had a rare chance to chat with this amazing actor, courtesy of C & V Promotions, to discuss his iconic roles and tell some great stories.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you originally get invovled with Stanley Kubrick on “The Shining”?
Joe Turkel: That was the third picture I did with Stanley Kubrick. He first saw me in a little picture I did called “Man Crazy”. He liked the work I did and said he would like to use me in a picture he did called “The Killing” in 1956. He said it was a little role but he had something better coming up. Little did I know then but he was talking about “Paths of Glory”. He changed my life.

MG: Having worked twice before with Kubrick; did his style change over 20 years later on “The Shining”?
JT: He took a lot of time then but a lot of time on “The Shining”. He had a lot of attority and he wasn’t afraid to use that attority. Like with “Eyes Wide Shut”, he had a rule that anyone like producers or related to the film will not be permitted on the set. He just had this attority.

MG: How did you prepare for this unique role of Lloyd the Bartender in “The Shining”?
JT: It was just another part for me. I approached it like I would any other and that was it.

MG: How was it working with Jack Nicholson?
JT: Jack Nicholson is just the greatest. I’ll tell you a story about Jack. I am responisble for his career. In 1961 he has just come out from the East Coast and I had been there for ten years. He was broke most of the time. One day I was at the race track with a friend of mine and I hit a daily double for $4,400 dollars. Now that is a lot of money in those days. As I was getting the money settled, my friend saw Jack and I told him what just happened. Kenny, my friend, told me he owed Jack $800 bucks. So I told him to pay him and I gave him the money. Jack said to me “You know something Turkel, I was going to go back to New York but it is too fucking cold. I will take this money and it will get me through the winter.” But during the winter, he got lucky got a role and the rest is history.

MG: With a role that is consists of two scenes, how can you reflect on the impact they had on the film?
JT: I was suprised they had such an impact. Stanley and I were talking on set about how good it was and I told him “Stanley, thanks but I don’t want to wait 25 years between pictures”. We were both New Yorkers so we had this special bond. He told me we would work together again but that was the last time I saw him.

 

MG: Since the films are so different; did the productions of “The Shining” and “Blade Runner” differ much?
JT: Ridley Scott three times during my filming and asked me how I thought Stanley Kubrick would approach certain scenes. He was completely enamored with his work. Steven Spielberg said he was “the grandmaster of filmmaking”. So for Ridley Scott to come over and ask me for suggestion it was amazing.

MG: How did you prepare for the such an iconic character, Dr. Eldon Tyrell?
JT: Well I mad it that way [laughs]. I played it that way. It was a nice role and I did well. I have had better roles. I have had worse roles. Everything I have done has been unique from the fucking ruler of the world to a bartender. They were all crazy. I also like to do
comedy, which I have done over years in television.

MG: How do you feel about Ridley Scottworking on a sequel after all these years?
It is not going to be as good as the first. Sequels never are. The first one is always the one looked at.

MG: What do you like most about meeting your fans at conventions?
JT: It’s amazing. Just amazing. They are so gratitous. They are so happy to meet me. When I did a Q&A, the house was completely packed. They were asking questions about Kubrick and “Blade Runner”. I was taking pictures at the bar in full costume as Lloyd The Bartender from “The Shining”, so that was really cool as well.