Music

Metal Blade Reissuing 1982 Compilation That Featured Metallica’s First Song


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In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Metal Massacre, Metal Blade Records is reissuing the widely influential 1982 compilation that featured tracks from local Los Angeles groups, including a then unknown Metallica and their very first song, “Hit the Lights.”

Without this compilation, which was put together by passionate metalhead Brian Slagel, Metal Blade’s founder and CEO, it’s likely that Metallica, or at least, the Metallica we know today, would not have existed.

“When I was putting together the compilation, [Lars Ulrich] called me up,” Slagel recalled of the conversation between him and the teenage drummer who was looking to get a band together.

“He was jamming with James [Hetfield] and a couple other guys in their garage playing covers of Diamond Head and everything,” Slagel went on and detailed, “Lars asked me, ‘Hey, if I put together a band and give you an original song, will you put it on the record?’ And I said, ‘Sure, of course.’ So that was basically the beginning of Metallica.”

At the time, Slagel and his friend John Kornarens had teamed up on the project — he handled the artwork and mastering and Kornarens was tasked with finding a studio to record the soon-to-be-featured songs.

“On the day of mastering, Brian and I had all of the songs ready except for Lars’ new band called Metallica,” Kornarens relayed. “The session was to start at 3 o’clock and we were standing on a Hollywood sidewalk waiting for Lars to show up with material from his new band, and moments later he finally arrived and pulled a cassette out of his back pocket.”

The track appeared as the final cut on Metal Massacre, which was first released by The New Heavy Metal Revue, a fan ‘zine Slagel had started up to help spread the good word of worldwide heavy metal to locals fans.

The first installment of what went on to be a series of compilation sequels also notably featured future hair metal stars Ratt with a song called “Tell the World.”

With an April 22 set as the released date for the limited edition vinyl re-press of Metal Massacre Volume One, fans will have the opportunity to relive this exciting era in the annals of heavy metal history and get a feel for what the metal scene in Los Angeles was like in the early ’80s.

Ruby red copies (limited to 5,000) are available at the Metal Blade webstore and, for clear vinyl (limited to 2,000 copies), head to Metallica’s website. “Exclusive designs” by famed metal album cover artists Ed Repka (Megadeth, Venom, Nuclear Assault), Eliran Kantor (Testament, Soulfly, Helloween), Travis Smith (Opeth, Overkill, Slayer) and Sam Didier (Amon Amarth, HammerFall) will also be available for a limited time.

Metal Massacre Artwork + Track Listing

‘Metal Massacre’ Compilation, Volume One

Metal Blade Records

Side One

01. Steeler, “Cold Day In Hell”
02. Bitch, “Live for the Whip”
03. Malice, “Captive of Light”
04. “Ratt, “Tell the World”
05. Avatar, “Octave”

Side Two

06. Black ‘N Blue, “Chains Around Heaven”
07. Cirith Ungol, “Death of the Sun”
08. Demon Flight, “Dead of the Night”
09. Pandemonium, “Fighting Backwards”
10. Malice, “Kick You Down”
11. Metallica, “Hit the Lights”

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