The history of NUCLEAR BLAST

2003 - 2007

As the popularity of the label continued to rise, so did the surge of students from around the world visiting the label to inform themselves of possible apprenticeships. Numerous students that decide to take this route are later partly-taken by Nuclear Blast after they’ve finished their apprenticeship as a management assistant in audiovisual media.

The hobby project that once has started over the course of many night shifts in a residential house packed full of cartons and merchandise has become a complex company by now, that unites the departments of label, publishing house, production and mail-order business professionally and still surges ahead, despite all the poor prognoses for the music business.

Around 2003, while a handful of record labels report losses and increasingly suffered under the “trend“ towards illegal song downloading, NUCLEAR BLAST surprisingly multiplied its turnover threefold over that of previous years.

Chart entries, such as in 2003 Elements Pt.1 from STRATOVARIUS at no. 27 in Germany and even at no. 2 in Finland, gold awards such as HAMMERFALL’s Crimson Thunder and MANOWAR’s Warriors Of The World United are in the meantime no longer unusual, even though they naturally remain something very special. “I still get a thrill every time an album gets into the charts or gets a gold award. You can never count on it,“ says Markus Staiger, nodding his head. Then, when it happens once again, it gives you an unbelievable feeling and shows just how wide and constant the basis of extreme music is.“

In 2004, the USA office also manages to open a new, big portal for extreme music. As the first black Metal band, DIMMU BORGIR gets the chance to play at the legendary Ozzfest tour in support of the legendary album, Death Cult Armageddon, drawing many thousands of people from all over the country. “That was an enormous, important step,“ described Gerardo Martinez, label manager of NB USA. “It didn’t only bring DIMMU BORGIR in America to the forefront but in the end the whole firm.”

The NUCLEAR BLAST mail order also continued to enjoy an upswing. Within just a few years the number of customers had doubled and the catalogue increased in thickness. The number of pages increased at the same rate as the products offered together with the interviews and reviews.

It is also thanks to NUCLEAR BLAST that Heavy Metal in its most aggressive form is no longer an ‘exotic’ commodity traded through the underground, but has become a strongly-selling genre, one that can be felt even in the world of commercial television. Following MANOWAR’s appearance on shows with Stefan Raab and Oliver Pocher, the newly signed EDGUY managed it into the world-wide TV landscape in 2004 through the “Pro 7 Chartshow.“ The single King of Fools climbs the hit lists in many different countries, basking in success almost simultaneously with another significant new signing for the NB family: NIGHTWISH.

In 2004, with the Finns and their release Once, the record firm from Donzdorf enters once again a new dimension. The RTL show “Top Of The Pops“ features the single “Nemo” for weeks, (the single remains in the top10 of the German single charts for three weeks!), the album rockets from zero to no. one in the Media Control Charts. For the first time in company history, one of their releases manages to reach the top of the German hit parade. “That was fantastic,“ Markus remembers. “To be honest, it is still hard to believe. Of course we day-dreamed about it and naturally we put an awful lot of work into it because we all had the feeling that things could really happen with NIGHTWISH. But that we got to number one was really beyond everything. Talk about being “beamed away.“ Just a few weeks later the album Once reaches platinum status with more than 250,000 units sold in Germany. Many other countries line up in the firm’s history of success:

01 Germany (platinum status)
01 Finland (platinum status)
01 Norway
01 Greece
03 Sweden
03 Slowenia
04 Austria
04 Switzerland
07 Hungary
09 France
11 Netherlands
16 Poland
20 Spain
40 Belgium
50 Italy
58 Denmark

In 2005, the USA office reaches another historic moment with the involvement of SOILWORK and IN FLAMES [no longer on Nuclear Blast] at Ozzfest. SOILWORK touring in support for the album Stabbing The Drama, and IN FLAMES touring for the album, Soundtrack To Your Escape.

Album stand-outs of 2005 in the USA included releases from AGNOSTIC FRONT (Another Voice), SONATA ARCTICA (Reckoning Night), APOCALYPTICA (Reflections), MESHUGGAH (Catch Thirty Three), HYPOCRISY (Virus) and EXODUS’ (Shovel Headed Kill Machine).

USA’s 2006 album success highlights include: DIMMU BORGIR - Stormblåst (Re-Recorded), KATAKLYSM (In the Arms of Devastation), AMORPHIS (Eclipse), ALL SHALL PERISH (The Price of Existence), BLIND GUARDIAN (A Twist in the Myth) and HAMMERFALL (Threshold).

The anniversary year of 2007 also promises to provide a further positive glimpse of the future: DIMMU BORGIR achieves a sensational entry into the US billboard charts at # 43 with the album, In Sorte Diaboli. EXODUS also lands at position # 112 in the US billboard charts for The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A.

July / August of 2007 also marked NILE’s opportunity to join Ozzfest USA’s second stage in support of Ithyphallic!

SONATA ARCTICA receives gold in Finland for their album, Reckoning Night. The winner of the NUCLEAR BLAST band contest SONIC SYNDICATE carves rapid success for itself (appearing in, amongst others, With Full Force and Wacken Festivals, entry into the German charts at nr 63, the resonance from the press was euphoric). With their win in the Jägermeister Rock Liga, CLAWFINGER celebrates their “comeback” to the field of achievement. With GOTTHARD, one group even manages to get into commercial radio during the program “SWR1 Kopfhörer.“ Hopes ride high for newly signed acts such as EPICA, RIDE THE SKY and CHIMAIRA.

Last but not least, the Finnish superstars NIGHTWISH make their debut with Anette Olzon, a new singer, in the form of a charity single “Eva,” the proceedings from which will go to the “Arche,“ a charitable institution to the benefit of deprived (financially) children and they manage once again to make nr 1 in various European charts.

In November 2007 the single “Lost in Space” is heralded as the first highlight of 2008, the long awaited third album from AVANTASIA [the mega-successful Metal Opera project from EDGUY frontman Tobias Sammet] is an enormous success! The single charts as one of the very few Metal singles at all and at the sensationally high placing of nr 9 on the German singles charts!

A fulminating, successful, extremely positive and surprising year-end for Nuclear Blast.

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