Combat Records

Last updated
Combat Records
Combat records logo.gif
Parent company Sony
Founded1983 (1983)
Genre Heavy metal
Country of originU.S.
Location New York City

Combat Records was an American independent record label from New York City. The label was home to predominantly heavy metal and punk rock acts, including Megadeth, Circle Jerks, Nuclear Assault, OZ, Death, Dead Brain Cells, Possessed, Crumbsuckers, Agnostic Front, Agent Steel, Dark Angel, Heathen, Zoetrope and Exodus. In 2017, it was announced that Combat was being relaunched by Megadeth bassist David Ellefson and Thom Hazaert as a new label imprint under their EMP Label Group. [1]



Combat Records was the in-house heavy metal label for the independent powerhouse distributor Important Record Distributors. [2] Important had several offices in the United States that promoted and sold Combat's releases. Important Records was also home to Megaforce Records in the mid-1980s [3] and produced Metallica's Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning (prior to Metallica's transfer to Elektra Records), Anthrax's Fistful of Metal and many other early Megaforce releases. [4]

In mid-1986, the Noise label signed a deal with Combat to distribute records in the US. Noise represented the bands Voivod, Celtic Frost, Helloween, Tankard, and Running Wild). [5] Neat also signed with Combat, bringing Venom, Raven to the US, while Metal Blade brought Slayer and Trouble. [6] Usually releases were issued in joint venture with the Combat logo.

The label signed thrash metal band Megadeth to a contract in November 1984. The band released Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! , their first album, in 1985. Capitol Records signed Megadeth in 1985, obtaining the rights from Combat to Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? , Megadeth's second album. The Combat logo appeared on the back of every Megadeth album on Capitol up through Countdown to Extinction . Megadeth's album Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! is one of the highest selling albums released by Combat Records with more than 200,000 copies sold.

The label had distribution deals with Music for Nations and Under One Flag for European releases of their catalog.

Purchase of the company

Combat Records was later taken over by Relativity Records. Owned by Sony Records, Relativity allowed Combat to exist for a brief period of time, before shutting it down. Later, Sony would discontinue Relativity Records as well. Sony Music Entertainment continues to retain rights to the majority of the label's catalog.


Combat Records briefly reformed in 2005, as an imprint under KOCH Records, releasing records from Look What I Did, Horse the Band, and At All Cost. [7]

Sony Music Entertainment released most of the original Combat catalog digitally for the first time in 2015. The releases were marketed through the relaunched Music For Nations label.

In 2017, it was announced that Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, with partner Thom Hazaert, was relaunching Combat as an imprint of EMP Label Group, who have released albums from Soulfly guitarist Marc Rizzo, Wrath, Dead By Wednesday, Hatchet, Sword, and more. On New Year’s Day 2018, Ellefson announced that Throw The Goat was the first new band to be signed. In 2019, Ellefson and Hazaert's Combat Records, released joint venture reissues of several classic Combat catalog titles with Century Media Records, including releases by Exodus, Possessed, and Dark Angel.

Former artists


Combat formed a video label in 1985. [8] It released one title, "Combat Tour Live: The Ultimate Revenge", later that year. [9]

See also

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  1. "David Ellefson's EMP Label Group Brings Back Combat Records". XS ROCK. XS ROCK. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  2. Moleski, Linda (24 August 1985). "Important Records Rediscovers Relativity". Billboard: 70. Retrieved 18 January 2015. Shortly after its formation in 1983, Relativity was put on hold because the company decided it would be more beneficial to "drop dance" and start a specialty label for heavy metal... As a result ... the money generated by Combat 'paved the way for us to start signing other [types of] bands.'
  3. Important Record Distributors; Megaforce Records; Combat Records (8 December 1984). "advertisement". Billboard: RB16. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  4. Waller, Don (29 Jan 2000). "Secrets of RED's Success". Billboard: R-2. Retrieved 15 January 2015. The Billboard Salute to RED.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  5. Moleski, Linda (7 June 1986). "Grass Route". Billboard: 43. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Combat Records (27 April 1985). "Bang Your Head 'Til You're Dead". Billboard: HM-5. Retrieved 15 January 2015 (advertisement).CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Titus, Christa (22 October 2005). "Venerable Metal Label Again Ready for Combat". Billboard: 22. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  8. "Home Video ....newsline..." Billboard: 32. 6 April 1985. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  9. "New Releases: Home Video". Billboard: 29. 19 October 1985. Retrieved 15 January 2015.