The history of NUCLEAR BLAST

2008 - 2010 ...

With the new year of 2008 another piece of spectacularly good news unfolds: NIGHTWISH is not only nominated for an Echo but is also confirmed as show act for the Echo presentation on 15.2. – something entirely new in the history of Nuclear Blast! Simultaneously SUBWAY TO SALLY honors a wide public: as representative of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with their current single “Auf Kiel,” fighting for the goodwill of millions in the Bundesvision Song Contest initiated by Pro7 and Stefan Raab!

Some months later a double-success is perfect: Finnish superstars NIGHTWISH win the Echo for being the best "Pop/Rock act international" and can, with it, celebrate a glamorous start for an almost completely sold out European tour. Also SUBWAY TO SALLY turn out to be the winners of the Pro 7 initiated BundesVision Song Contest. The majority of votes of the more than four million people watching the show go for the guys from Potsdam. No wonder that both singles, SUBWAY TO SALLY’s "Auf Kiel" as well as NIGHTWISH’s current one "Bye Bye Beautiful" re-enter the charts immediately. Also NIGHTWISH’s album Dark Passion Play does so.

End of February also RAGE can enter the German Media Control Charts at position no. 24 with their new release, Carved In Stone. By that time NUCLEAR BLAST can break a new record by having more albums and singles in the German charts at the same time than ever before.

March 2008 begins with a performance of NUCLEAR BLAST’s most commercial band, LIQUIDO. They are guests in a German Saturday night TV show called "RTL Chartshow." In a countdown with the 50 most successful German bands ever they are on no. 41 and can present their new single "Gameboy."

For the first time in the label’s history, NUCLEAR BLAST attended Frankfurt’s popluar Musikmesse from March, 12th until March, 15th, presenting their very own booth. Numerous musicians, customers and fans joined the NB-team, drinking cool beers together and chatting with each other. Everyone in attendance were surely in a great mood, especially during all the held signing sessions. SUBWAY TO SALLY, EDGUY, RAGE, LIQUIDO and IN FLAMES took their time to sign CDs and take some pictures together with fans.

The premiere of NUCLEAR BLAST’s booth at the Musikmesse convention was notably the first in the history of the label, but also in the history of the Musikmesse itself: for the first time ever a record company held a booth there – and surely not for the last time!

Shortly after Frankfurt’s Musikmesse [where IN FLAMES held a successful signing session at the NB booth], the guys from Gothenburg end up being one of this spring’s hottest acts and entering charts on top ten-positions internationally with their brand new album A Sense Of Purpose.

Around the same time, NUCLEAR BLAST can be happy about the integration of "Pop The Bottle," a new LIQUIDO song in the official commercial of Karlsberg beer, which is broadcasted for more than three months in all big German TV stations. Mid of April, SUBWAY TO SALLY get honored with a gold record for more than 20.000 DVDs of Nackt. A party is held after their show in Stuttgart’s LKA.

Due to their extremely successful spring tour, NIGHTWISH continue to hold their ground in the German Media Control charts, partly even with three releases – the album Dark Passion Play as well as the two singles "Bye Bye Beautiful" and the new one "The Islander." During the European Soccer Championship, GOTTHARD released the official fan song for Switzerland – a re-release of their already well-known single "Lift U Up," in which the whole Swiss national team sings the chorus.

Also, during the festival season, fans from all over the world could once more visit the big green tent, better known as the Nuclear Blast festival booth. On all important festivals such as Wacken, Summer Breeze or Party.San, the Nuclear Blast sales team do their best to satisfy the customers. For the first time in the mail order’s history, a sales booth has been held at the more commercially oriented Rock Im Park festival taking place in Nürnberg. In Wacken, a marketing cooperation with Dean Guitars took place: 50.000 "Metal HANDS," made of plastic, fabricated by Nuclear Blast and Dean Guitars, were spread all over the place. So numerous festival visitors were raising their hands in the name of Metal!

In the USA, Spring 2008 kicked off to a good start, MESHUGGAH’s obZen sells 11,400 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 59 on The Billboard 200 chart!

But wait, there’s more! Legendary Bay Area thrashers TESTAMENT sell 11,398 first week and hit the Billboard Charts on spot 59 with their new album The Formation of Damnation. This marked the highest US chart entry in the band’s history. The album also dominates at radio holding the 1 spot on both CMJ and FMQB for several consecutive weeks.

In the fall of 2008, ALL SHALL PERISH’s album, Awaken the Dreamers sells 4,915 landed at position # 126 on the Billboard Top 200!

Meanwhile, nearly ten years after he parted ways with Donzdorf, Europe’s cult-personality Peter Tägtgren returns to Nuclear Blast with PAIN and signs a contract for the album Cynic Paradise.

Norwegian Black Metal emperors DIMMU BORGIR release their highly acclaimed DVD of The Invaluable Darkness tour with many specials such as the whole Wacken gig 2007, the conferment of their Gold Award and lots of behind the scenery footage.

German Metal heroes EDGUY have prepared a new album called Tinnitus Sanctus. Next to several signing sessions and radio interviews at HR3, Radio Gong or Die Neue 107,7 the album is specially featured on Rockantenne. 70 winners of a big Rockantenne competition are able to visit a private showcase of the band taking place in the radio office. The whole gig is broadcasted in the release week of Tinnitus Sanctus.

The New Year 2009 started with a smash! On January 20th, RAGE were invited as guests to perform their new song “Never Give Up” on national TV program “TV Total.” Several million people tuned in to watch Tobias and co rocking out TV style. Keeping up the mainstream presence for NB, on February 23rd the final of the so called “Bundesvision Songcontest” features RAGE – the only Metal act in the contest.

EDGUY started their “Tinnitus Sanctus Tour 2009” on January 8th, marking their most successful tour so far with numerous dates sold out. Our newcomers SYLOSIS and PSYCROPTIC toured along with The Black Daliah Murder, while SAMAEL went on the road along with Vader and Deicide.

IN FLAMES won several awards in Sweden: First they won the P3 award as “Best Rock/Metal act,” where HammerFall also performed their new single “Any Means Necessary.” In Flames also stole best “Death Metal Act” and “Best Video Clip” at the Swedish Metal Awards. IN FLAMES – we salute you!

The Nuclear Blast / MySpace band contest ended up with record deals for the best three acts. The Canadian pagan Metal act BLACKGUARD won first prize, followed by fellow countrymen AUGURY, and the pirates of SWASHBUCKLE. All their debut albums will be released within the first half of 2009.

While the whole world is talking about the financial crisis, Swedish HAMMERFALL break all the rules. After three weeks their new album No Sacrifice, No Victory reached gold status in their Swedish mother country, while they entered the German charts on #7, which is their highest chart entry in Germany ever, and they stayed in there for glorious six weeks. Their following European tour was a great success as well, supported by their compatriots BULLET and SABATON.

The Scandinavian Doom Maniacs from CANDLEMASS, who won once again several magazine sound checks, entered the charts on #52 in Germany and #33 in Sweden, which also was a great surprise and a statement for their high quality.

By this time, SUBWAY TO SALLY are already established and well known all over Germany. Once again they played live at the “Eurovision Songcontest,” run by comedian Stefan Raab, where they performed their winning track from 2007 “Auf Kiel.” A few weeks later, on March 27th they released their new longplayer Kreuzfeuer, a great mix of medieval folk, rock and metal sounds, which entered the German charts on #5! Same time the German pop project Eisblume had a big hit with the SUBWAY TO SALLY coverversion “Eisblumen,” which was on their Nuclear Blast debut Nord Nord Ost. She also sang along on the new track “Komm in meinen Schlaf” from the new album Kreuzfeuer.

After a short break, NIGHTWISH started the second part of their gigantic world tour for Dark Passion Play, followed by the first live album featuring new singer Anette Olzon. Made in Hong Kong (and in various other places) featured only songs from their latest studio album, plus rare bonus tracks, all the new video clips and a bonus DVD with a funny documentary. The album entered the charts worldwide, in Germany even on a fantastic #15.

Nuclear Blast also announced several new signings. One of them, the Swedish Street Metal force HARDCORE SUPERSTAR who combines Thrash Metal with Sleaze and Glam. The label is also proud of signing the US Death/Grindcore legend SUFFOCATION, as well as the cult act VADER and the extreme newcomers of ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY. Also legendary finish Goth act THE 69 EYES decided to sign with the German label, as well as EX DEO, a project run by KATAKLYSM front man Mauricio Iacono, whose debut Romulus is an epic concept about the ancient roman history. His label was totally blown away by this monumental masterpiece and decided to put the band on the cover of the summer issue of their BLAST magazine.

German superheroes EDGUY came up with their first ever Live DVD called Fucking With F*** - Live, which was also presented it in nine big German cities on cinema screens, few days before its release. DEATH ANGEL immortalized their live power on the DVD Sonic German Beatdown, which contains two complete live shows. THERION and EPICA both release a special 2-CD live album, recorded at the Opera festival in Miskolc / Hungary, where both acts not only played their hymns. EPICA also performed film score sounds, while THERION covered classical sounds of Bach, Wagner and others.

The summer season started off with the new records of EX DEO, VOIVOD and KORPIKLAANI; who’s national anthem “Vodka” made for the perfect party track for the hottest period of the year. But what would a summer be without the festivals? Nuclear Blast had a huge merchandise tent at “Bang Your Head,“ “With Full Force,“ “Wacken Open Air“ and “Summer Breeze“ so that everyone could buy what they were looking for. The start off point was done at the “Legacy Festival“ and the Austrian “Summer Nights Open Air,“ both with the same twelve Nuclear Blast artists; among them our New Jersey newcomers SWASHBUCKLE who left a permanent impression.

A dozen Nuclear Blast artists played and kicked every metallic ass at the Slovenian “Metalcamp,“ Czech “Masters of Rock,“ and Belgian’s “Graspop Metal Meeting“ including NIGHTWISH, BLIND GUARDIAN, and ANTHRAX. It all came to an end at Norway’s “Hole In The Sky” festival where VOIVOD and NILE convincingly took it home.

In general, this summer might have been the heaviest till date starting with SUFFOCATION’s Blood Oath, followed by BEHEMOTH’s Evangelion and VADER’s Necropolis. Our youngsters HACKNEYED slayed with their second album “Burn After Reaping“ and the Finnish Goth Rock institution THE 69 EYES showed the world that they are “Back In Blood.“ Autumn won’t be any more quiet as IMMORTAL are coming to conquer the world with their new black masterpiece All Shall Fall followed by Austrian sick heads BELPHEGOR with their latest Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn.

The signs were pointing to Rock ‘N’ Roll this fall with the release of the new GOTTHARD album. Need To Believe had sensational chart entries and it was the first time that GOTTHARD were able to enter the German Top 10. The following tour with EUROPE as a support act was just a victory parade for all of the fans who had visited the hard rock event of the year. With their second single ”Unconditional Faith” GOTTHARD also entered the airplay charts the first time.

Two more melodic jewels were released by EPICA and their new fascinating opus Design Your Universe as well as by the Finnish Progressive Power Metal legion SONATA ARCTICA and their album The Days of Grays. Both bands entered the top 10 charts in their home country.

Towards the end of 2009, the USA saw EPICA debut on the Billboard Heatseekers chart at #12 and the Top Hard Music Albums chart at #47 for first-week sales in excess of 2,000 copies. The same could be said about SONATA ARCTICA, selling in excess of 2,000 first week and landing at Heatseekers chart at #19 and the Top Hard Music Albums chart at #41.

During this time, the latest masterpiece albums from Swedish UFOlogists HYPOCRISY, the American Egyptologists NILE and the Greek ”Rock The Nation Award” winners SUICIDAL ANGELS were also released. In addition, the foundation of NUCLEAR BLAST’s sub-label ANSTALT RECORDS was quite turbulent and lost one of its babies to censorship. But the siblings from Finland – PITBULL TERRORIST and Planet GoatEborg - MILKING THE GOATMACHINE caused sensation.

In the USA, NILE’s second album with Nuclear Blast, Those Whom The Gods Detest, debuted at #160 on the Top 200 Billboard Charts for first-week sales in excess of 3,500 copies. All Shall Fall, the first new album in seven years from reunited Norwegian black metal band IMMORTAL, has debuted at #7 on the Heatseekers Album chart (new & developing artists who have never appeared in the Top 100 of the Billboard Top 200 chart) and at #162 on the Billboard 200 for selling 3,300 copies.


The year 2010 started as it should be: with a bang! OVERKILL’s album Ironbound is celebrated by fans and press equally and was elected to “Record of the Month” in many magazines. Their following tour with our Greek newcomers SUICIDAL ANGELS also promised to become a highlight.

Two great DVD’s by EXODUS and MESHUGGAH blew away ears and eyes worldwide, followed by the NB debuts THROWDOWN, the Swedish rockers MUSTASCH and the new Deathcore heroes ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY. Stefan Raab’s favourite metal band RAGE triumph with their superb ”Strings To A Web.” It’s one of the best musically creations of the band round Peavy Wagner ever.

The trailblazing release of the Swiss pagan metaller ELUVEITIE will be on the same level. At the same time they’ll enthuse the fans on the ”Paganfest Tour.” In March all signs are pointing to Death Metal – old shool (IMMOLATION), groovy (UNLEASHED) or doomy (CATHEDRAL).

Spring 2010 kicked off with a bang: Tobias Sammet’s AVANTASIA stroke twice with two longplayers again featuring a pile of prominent guests, which resulted in a German chart entry on #2 and huge success in other countries as well.

Also Italian symphonic metallers RHAPSODY OF FIRE scored big time with their Nuclear Blast debut – The Frozen Tears Of Angels hit the charts in 12 countries. With the beginning of the winter months the band will start their long awaited headlining tour which will lead the band to Europe in spring 2011.

EXODUS stepped up to this success as well by winning the soundchecks of nearly all magazines with their new album Exhibit B: The Human Condition. In the USA, the album sold over 4,600 copies first week according to Nielsen SoundScan and has debuted at #114 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, #112 on the Billboard Top Current Albums chart, #12 on the Top/Current Hard Music Albums charts, and ranks #3 in the Current Hard Music Albums chart at Core Stores. A real feast for all thrashers worldwide!

In May, the NB debut of up and coming power metal stars SABATON was released, as well as the first piece of recorded music by Floor Jansen’s REVAMP. IMMORTAL demonstrated frostbitten coolness with the delivery of a real live monument, the first DVD release, The Seventh Date Of Blashsyrkh.

EQUILIBRIUM showed themselves reborn with a new singer and their amazing opus Rekreatur which even topped the successful predecessor. With INDICA’s debut A Way Away, Nuclear Blast explored new grounds. The album produced by NIGHTWISH’s Tuomas Holopainen featured mystic pop and remained more than two months in the German album charts. Followed by numerous TV and radio gigs this became one of the most lavish campaigns in the labels history.

In summer, as usual stuffed with open air events, Nuclear Blast bands all around the globe raked in all the way. BLIND GUARDIAN did promotion for their new album At The Edge of Time at Wacken, charted on position #2 and got officially announced as a headlining act for WOA 2011 – beside their label-mates AVANTASIA.

In the USA, Germany's favorite sons from Krefeld, have attained the highest first-week sales numbers in the United States in the history of their existence. With sales of over 4,500 units of their tenth studio album, At The Edge of Time, BLIND GUARDIAN secured the #1 position on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and also debuted at #108 on the Billboard Top 200 chart! In Canada, At The Edge of Time debuted at #18 on the Top Hard Music Albums chart and #108 on the Top 200 chart according to Nielsen Canadian Soundscan.

Summer Breeze open air faced a Nuclear Blast label night for the first time where, among others, RAGE, UNLEASHED, EQUILIBRIUM and SUFFOCATION rocked really hard! The same month legendary teutonic metallers ACCEPT did the same thing – after months of raising dust, playing as support of AC/DC, headlining Sonisphere Turkey and last but not least, accidentally taking down social media giant Twitter.

SOILWORK kicked late summer ass with The Panic Broadcast; a genre-defining, modern melodic death metal masterpiece! In the USA, SOILWORK scanned 5,257 copies of the album in its first week, making it the bands highest selling record in its first week ever, landing them at position #88 on the US Billboard Top 200 Chart!

More on the brutal side were Ohio-based CHIMAIRA that served fans their mammoth DVD package Coming Alive – and if that was too tough for you, then AMORPHIS and their DVD Forging The Land Of Thousand Lakes soothed you with melancholic rock and celebrated their band anniversary in style!

In August, Northern Hyperblasters KATAKLYSM could celebrate too with Heaven`s Venom scoring their highest chart positions in their career so far! The album sold around 2,400 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 7 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart and #196 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, making it the bands highest charting album and their biggest first week sales to date.

In August of 2010, the hyperblasters KATAKLYSM were also invited to join the Ozzfest second stage, and of course, they accepted! Even EXODUS were exclusively invited to play the Los Angeles Ozzfest show!

Shortly thereafter, the Swedes in SONIC SYNDICATE entered a new era with We Rule The Night and their new singer Nathan J.Biggs.

As soon as the leaves started to fall in early September, things got rather Thrashy at Nuclear Blast: SWASHBUCKLE returned with Crime Always Pays and old-schoolers DEATH ANGEL proved once more to all youngsters with Relentless Retribution how to do it Bay Area style!

And AMORPHIS again! To share the celebratory mood with their fans, the Finns released Magic & Mayhem – Tales From The Early Years which saw the band re-record old classics with new singer Tomi.

In September of 2010, the USA office witnessed two black metal pioneers raise the bar once again! First from the album, Axioma Ethica Odini by Norway’s renowned progressive/psychedelic black metal band ENSLAVED, selling over 1,400 copies in the U.S, debuting at position #16 on the Billboard Heatseekers (New Artists) chart, #40 in the Current Hard Music Albums chart, and #72 on the Independent Current Albums chart.

Daringly, DIMMU BORGIR took a bold step towards the future of Black Metal with ABRAHADABRA: a unique and symphonic effort that made it to the German top twenty album charts again! In the USA, the album sold over 9,428 copies debuting at #42 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, #5 on the Top Hard Music Albums chart, and #6 on the Independent Current Albums chart. ABRAHADABRA also debuted at #4 on the Top Rock albums and #30 Top Albums charts at iTunes (U.S.) the day of its release. In Canada, the album debuted at #4 on the Nielsen Soundscan Top Hard Albums chart. Shortly after that the Norwegians embarked on an unusual tour package with KORN that filled the venues to the brim.

Symphonic is also a good word when it comes to THERION who continued to travel to vast stylistic fields with Sitra Ahra. And if you love your music boundary-free, you definitely got happy with new Nuclear Blast signing FILTER: timeless rock with touches of alternative and electronica which imported a whiff of Hollywood to Donzdorf.

In October things remained diverse: lovers of black and extreme metal could rejoice with the new MELECHESH album The Epigenesis, traditional NYHC fans with MADBALL and Empire, thrashers with FORBIDDEN’s mighty comeback Omega Wave – and RHAPSODY OF FIRE returned with the epic one song EP The Cold Embrace Of Fear. ALL ENDS delivered a healthy dose of female rock / metal, and the DEATHSTARS got decadence back on the dance floor with the Platinum Edition of Night Electric Night!

However, October 2010 will remain as one of the saddest in the label’s history: GOTTHARD singer Steve Lee was killed on October 5th in a motorcycle accident and will leave a huge gap in the rock genre nobody can ever close. A unique wave of sympathy, condolences and of pure disbelief had the press in its grip for weeks and proves how many people Steve Lee touched in his life.

In November of 2010, the USA office had the privilege to release the CRADLE OF FILTH album, Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa. The infamous extreme metal group entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at #99, selling nearly 6,000 copies in its first week. The album also debuted at #10 on the Independent chart and #7 on Hard Music.

The highlight of the last few weeks of 2011 certainly was metal queen DORO: she celebrated her anniversary with 25 Years In Rock on CD and DVD! And of course it didn`t take long till Miss Pesch returned to the stage – she was supporting MOTÖRHEAD on their yearly German dates. Swedes HARDCORE SUPERSTAR returned with Split Your Lip which turned out to be a true street metal fest!

SAMAEL from Switzerland embodied the dark side of the force in comparison: releasing their Antigod EP and treated fans to new song material on their European tour with ROTTING CHRIST. BEHEMOTH too are the wrong band if you want to get in the Christmas mood! Just check out the Evangelia Heretika – The New Gospel DVD set…The last release of 2010 was delivered by CANDLEMASS and their rarities collection Doomology. And of course the NB family got some new members now too: teutonic thrashers DESTRUCTION returned to their old label haven, U.S. prog doomers WHILE HEAVEN WEPT signed to Nuclear Blast. On top of that, thrash legends FLOTSAM & JETSAM, dark metal hopefuls BEFORE THE DAWN and NYHC icons BIOHAZARD joined the family too!

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