Combat Records

Last updated
Combat Records
Combat records logo.gif
Parent company Sony
Founded1983 (1983)
Genre Heavy metal
Country of originU.S.
LocationNew 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]

An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels. Many artists begin their careers on independent labels.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels and other informal channels.



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]

Megaforce Records is an American independent record label founded in 1982 by Jon Zazula and his wife Marsha Zazula to publish the first works of Metallica. It has offices in New York City and Philadelphia. The label is distributed in the United States by RED Distribution, having previously been distributed by Atlantic Records from 1982 to 1987 while Anthrax' recordings from 1988 to 1993 were marketed by Island Records.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

<i>Kill Em All</i> 1983 studio album by Metallica

Kill 'Em All is the debut studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on July 25, 1983, by the independent record label Megaforce Records. Kill 'Em All is regarded as a groundbreaking album for thrash metal because of its precise musicianship, which fuses new wave of British heavy metal riffs with hardcore punk tempos. The album's musical approach and lyrics were markedly different from rock's mainstream of the early 1980s and inspired a number of bands who followed in similar manner. The album did not enter the Billboard 200 until 1986, when it peaked at number 155, following Metallica's commercial success with its third studio album Master of Puppets; the 1988 Elektra reissue peaked at number 120. Kill 'Em All was critically praised at the time of its release and in retrospect, and was placed on a few publications' best album lists. It was certified 3× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1999 for shipping three million copies in the United States. The album generated two singles, "Whiplash" and "Jump in the Fire".

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 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.

Noise Records is a German heavy metal record label founded in 1983 by German music industry personality Karl-Ulrich Walterbach as an expansion of his company Modern Music Records. It was sold to the Sanctuary Records Group in 2001 and ceased any activity in 2007 due to the bankruptcy of Sanctuary. The Noise catalogue was consequently acquired by Universal Music Group later on. In April 2016, BMG Rights Management, which had acquired Sanctuary Records in 2013, announced that it would revive the Noise Records label.

Voivod (band) Canadian heavy metal band

Voivod is a Canadian heavy metal band from Jonquière, Quebec. The band's current line-up consists of Denis "Snake" Bélanger (vocals), Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain (guitar), Dominique "Rocky" Laroche (bass) and Michel "Away" Langevin (drums). Their musical style has changed several times since the band's origin in the early 1980s. Starting out as a speed metal band, Voivod have added a mix of progressive metal and thrash metal to create their own unique metal style, and they are credited as one of the "big four" Canadian thrash metal bands, along with Sacrifice, Razor, and Annihilator.

Celtic Frost Swiss metal band

Celtic Frost were a Swiss extreme metal band from Zürich. They are known for their strong influence on the development of extreme metal. Formed in 1981 as Hellhammer, the band became Celtic Frost in 1984 and was active until 1993. It re-formed in 2001 and disbanded following frontman Tom Gabriel Fischer's departure in 2008. The band was inspired by metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Venom as well as gothic rock groups like Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Christian Death and by the hardcore punk of Discharge.

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.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Megadeth American Thrash Metal band

Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. Along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, Megadeth is one of the "Big Four" of American thrash metal, responsible for its development and popularization. Their music features complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, and religion.

This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1985.

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

Music for Nations is a British independent record label focusing mainly on rock and metal. It was a subsidiary of the larger label distributor Zomba Records, which was a division of BMG and later Sony Music Entertainment.

Under One Flag is a now-defunct British record label from London, which aimed at a heavy metal audience, particularly a thrash metal audience. They were best known for re-releasing classic heavy metal albums, from the likes of Venom and Dark Angel, as well as some original releases from both bands and other heavy metal bands. Releases on vinyl by Under One Flag are sometimes still much desired collector’s items.

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.

Relativity Records, often self-identified as Relativity, was an American record label founded by Barry Kobrin at the site of his company, Important Record Distributors (IRD) in metro New York. Relativity released music that covers a wide variety of musical genres. When it entered into a deal with Sony Music Entertainment, it became more known for its metal and hip-hop releases.


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.

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

Related Research Articles

<i>Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!</i> 1985 studio album by Megadeth

Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! is the debut studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released on June 12, 1985 by Combat Records. At the beginning of 1985, the band was given $8,000 by Combat to record and produce its debut album. The band was forced to fire their original producer and produce the album by themselves, after spending half of the album's budget on drugs, alcohol, and food. Despite the resulting poor production, the album was a well-received effort that obtained strong reviews in various music publications. Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! played an essential role in establishing thrash metal as an authentic subgenre of heavy metal music. It explores themes of death, occultism, and violence.

<i>Cryptic Writings</i> 1997 studio album by Megadeth

Cryptic Writings is the seventh studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth. Released on June 17, 1997 through Capitol Records, it was the band's last studio album to feature drummer Nick Menza. His departure would mark the end of the band's longest lasting lineup to date, having recorded four studio albums. Megadeth decided to produce the record with Dann Huff in Nashville, Tennessee, because they were not satisfied with their previous producer Max Norman. The album features 12 tracks with accessible song structures, specifically aimed for radio airplay. The lyrics were also altered, in order to make the music more inclusive for wider audience. These changes were met with mixed opinions from music critics, who noted the band moving away from their thrash metal roots.

David Ellefson Bass guitarist

David Warren Ellefson is an American bassist, co-founder and second-longest serving member of the American heavy metal band Megadeth from 1983 to 2002 and again from 2010. He has also been referred to as "Junior" to differentiate him from his bandmate Dave Mustaine, but does not go by this name professionally. Ellefson currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. In addition to playing bass guitar in Megadeth, Ellefson also has various side projects which include Temple of Brutality, F5, Killing Machine and Metal Allegiance.

Mark Slaughter musician, voice actor

Mark Allen Slaughter is an American singer and musician. He is one of the founders of the hard rock band Slaughter, and he has also worked as a voice actor and composer.

James LoMenzo American musician

James "JLo" LoMenzo is an American heavy metal musician. He was a member of the band White Lion, performing with them from 1984 to 1991. He was later the bassist for Black Label Society, Megadeth and Slash's Snakepit. Outside music, he is known for being a contestant on the 21st season of the reality television series The Amazing Race.

Megadeth discography discography

American thrash metal band Megadeth has released fifteen studio albums, five live albums, six compilation albums, one EP, forty-nine singles, ten video albums, and forty-four music videos. After he was fired from Metallica in 1983, guitarist and vocalist Dave Mustaine formed Megadeth along with bassist Dave Ellefson, guitarist Greg Handevidt, and drummer Dijon Carruthers. The band toured and gained a following, signing with the independent label Combat Records in late 1984. Megadeth's debut album Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! (1985), sold very well for an independent release, and the group attracted the attention of major record labels. By the end of the year, the group signed with Capitol Records. Megadeth's first major-label album, Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?, was released in 1986.

Waylon Reavis is a former vocalist for American alternative metal band Mushroomhead. He has also performed vocals for the Cleveland-based band Tenafly Viper and the alternative rock band 3 Quarters Dead. Reavis starred in the 2011 movie 13th Sign. He was a featured vocalist on the song "Open Wide" by Black Flood Diesel, "Personal Demons in the Void" by Underlined, and "Letting Go" by Amerakin Overdose.

Killer Dwarfs are a Canadian heavy metal band who formed in late 1981 in Oshawa, Ontario, and who enjoyed moderate success in their native Canada in the 1980s. Known for their offbeat sense of humor, they were nominated for two Juno Awards during their career. Though not British, they were sometimes compared to NWOBHM acts such as Iron Maiden and Saxon.

<i>Pissed</i> (album) 1994 studio album by Dangerous Toys

Pissed is the third studio album by the Texas glam metal band Dangerous Toys. It was released in 1994. In May 2017, it was announced that Pissed would be reissued September 8th, 2017, remastered, on Limited Edition Vinyl LP, Picture Disc, and CD by EMP Label Group, the label of Megadeth bassist David Ellefson.

Thom Hazaert American record producer and journalist

Thom Hazaert is an American journalist, Radio Personality, Artist Manager, Music and Film Producer, and label executive. He was co-founder and President of Corporate Punishment Records and currently runs THC : MUSIC, a management firm and Rock label distributed by Fontana Distribution. Hazaert's work was also influential in the early advent of lifestyle street and viral marketing among Rock acts, as an independent consultant for record labels including Flip Records, Interscope Records, Warner Bros. Records, Hollywood Records, Jive Records, and as co-founder of Total Assault Street Teams.

<i>Dystopia</i> (Megadeth album) 2016 studio album by Megadeth

Dystopia is the fifteenth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth. It was released on frontman and guitarist Dave Mustaine's Tradecraft label via Universal on January 22, 2016. The album was produced by Mustaine and Chris Rakestraw and features cover artwork by Brent Elliot White.

Solus Deus was a death metal project from Orange County, California, United States. All of its musicians have been in other bands, such as Bleed the Sky, Living Sacrifice, Chimaira, Time Spent Burning, The Elite, and Once to Die. The band's name means "Only God", which vocalist Jey Collins says is personal to him. Other band members have their own personal beliefs. However, Solus Deus does not claim to be a religious band. In 2016, the band signed to EMP Underground, and Imprint of Dave Ellefson's (Megadeth) label, EMP Label Group, who have a distributing deal through eOne.

Doll Skin is an all-female rock band from Phoenix, Arizona. The band is made up Meghan Herring, Sydney Dolezal, Nicole Rich, and Alex Snowden .The band members met at School Of Rock Scottsdale. Their sound is a blend of punk, metal, alternative & pop. Doll Skin has been compared to bands ranging from The Donnas to The Go-Go's and to The Runaways. They have received press coverage in Alternative Press (magazine), Phoenix New Times Billboard, Rock Sound, and BraveWords.

EMP Label Group Record label

EMP Label Group, also known as Ellefson Music Productions, is an American record label formed in October 2015, which was founded by David Ellefson of Megadeth.

Your Chance to Die is an American melodic death metal band from Columbia, South Carolina that started in 2007.

A Killers Confession Band

In September 2016, Waylon Reavis announced on Facebook, then via press release, that his new project A Killer's Confession had signed a deal with EMP Label Group who would release their debut album Unbroken in Spring 2017. The album was partially recorded and mixed at Kentucky's Third Sky Studio with Reavis, and Co-Producers Thom Hazaert, Richard Easterling, Jon Dale, and Matt Trumpy. On Halloween 2016 AKC released their debut single "A Killer's Confession", featuring a guest performance by Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch. The band, including guitarists Matt Trumpy and Paul Elliott, and drummer Jon Dale, played their first shows in December 2016, with Dead By Wednesday, culminating in a hometown show at the Cleveland Agora on December 17.


  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.
  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).
  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.