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  • Writer's pictureConny Chavez

Metal Blade Records’ CEO Brian Slagel Launches New Book ‘Swing Of The Blade: More Stories From Metal Blade Records’ W/ LA Panel & Signing

Metal Blade Records presented the Los Angeles launch party of Brian Slagel’s new book, Swing of the Blade: More Stories From Metal Blade Records. Slagel, the founder and CEO of Metal Blade Records, who is also credited to have launched the careers of heavy metal bands Metallica and Slayer, was accompanied by friends Betsy Bitch, John Bush and Don Jamieson for an intimate panel in honor of his new book.

West Hollywood’s Book Soup hosted a book signing and panel with Slagel and friends on Thursday, July 13. The event was opened to the public, fans were able to listen in on each panelist’s stories, many of which are featured in Swing of the Blade, and ask questions about their favorite metal artists. The Metal Mayhem panel was moderated by comedian and co-host of That Metal Show, Don Jamieson. Slagel was joined on record by original Metal Blade Records’ artists John Bush from the Armored Saint and Betsy Bitch of Bitch (the band).

During the discussion, Slagel, Betsy and Bush reminisced on fond memories such as wild parties with wrestling matches at Betsy’s mother’s house, a young Dave Mustaine stealing Bitch’s complimentary case of beer before a show in San Francisco, recording and releasing their first EPs, and more. Betsy retold the story of meeting Slagel, who was a record store clerk at the time and running a label out of his mom’s garage in Woodland Hills, through Bitch’s original member David Carruth. Slagel helped Bitch record and share their music with to wider audience. Bush accredited Slagel for having an immense talent of discovering great bands and helping many share their unique sound. When asked what he would be doing if Metal Blade Records was never created, Slagel mentioned that he thought he was headed into a career in music journalism but was sidetracked by the label. Slagel also revealed that Swing of the Blade was completed before the pandemic, but went back to add more before officially releasing the book on May 9, 2023.

Swing of the Blade: More Stories from Metal Blade Records follows Slagel’s critically acclaimed 2017 book, For the Sake of Heaviness, which dove into the origin and success of Metal Blade Records. The second book was brought upon due to a high demand from fans wishing for more inside scoops and anecdotes of their favorite metal bands, the heavy music scene and Slagel’s musical wisdom. The book features a foreword by Slayer’s Kerry King, taking a deeper dive into the scenes and bands from the last 40 years that fans worldwide are eager to learn about. Slagel serves up more of his favorite memories about iconic musicians, events, business, and delves into even greater detail about his relationships with bands such as Metallica, Armored Saint, King Diamond, and other heavyweights.

Metal Blade Records was founded by Slagel in 1982 due to his immense passion and drive to find great bands and share their music with the world. Metal Blade brought a wave of powerful, innovative and genre-defining music to the masses. Over the past 40 years, Metal Blade Records has acquired an extensive and diverse catalogue launching bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Armored Saint, GWAR, Cannibal Corpse, Whitechapel, The Black Dahlia Murderer, and many more. The independent record label came from humble beginnings in LA as Slagel worked as a store clerk and music journalist writing for various publications before bringing his attention to creating an international powerhouse known as Metal Blade Records. In 2017, the label was inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History by Slayer’s Kerry King.

For more stories of Metal Blade and bands purchase Slagel’s Swing of the Blade: More Stories from Metal Blade here. For more information on Metal Blade Records, new music and news from artists and the label visit

(Originally published on

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