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ON SUICIDE SILENCE SIGNING WITH NUCLEAR BLAST

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Suicide Silence

Photo Credit: Jeremy Saffer

As a number of other sites reported yesterday afternoon, Suicide Silence have signed with Nuclear Blast. This is pretty big news; despite deathcore’s overall downward trajectory over the past couple of years, Suicide Silence are still one of the biggest and best selling bands in modern metal. The news came as something of a surprise to us as we didn’t know Suicide Silence were free agents… but we’ll get to that part of the story in a bit. What does this mean for Suicide Silence? What does is mean for Nuclear Blast?

First, let’s talk about the band’s new record label. Suicide Silence signed with Nuclear Blast Entertainment — not Nuclear Blast GmbH (Germany) or Nuclear Blast USA — the new division formed by overall Nuclear Blast owner Markus Staiger and recently axed Roadrunner Records A&R guru Monte Conner. The new label formation was announced in August, but details about how this new venture would be different from regular old NB were left very vague, and staff at the label declined MetalSucks’ requests for clarification. So we put in an email to Monte seeking clarification. And here’s what he told us:

  • NBE is a traditional record company.
  • Monte is a part owner of NBE. The word he used was “partnership.”
  • Bands signed to NBE in the U.S. will release their albums on regular NB in the rest of the world.
  • The existing Nuclear Blast staff (both in the U.S. and Germany) will be working NBE releases (implied but not stated: there will not be new staff hired specifically for NBE).
  • While Monte’s main concern is NBE, he will be “concerned about all activities within the company worldwide and will use [his] resources and experience to help all of our bands.”

So, in a nutshell, Nuclear Blast Entertainment will serve as a division of regular Nuclear Blast, except that Monte presumably has greater creative control over A&R than he would within the regular company but can still rely on the rest of the label’s staff for marketing, sales, accounting, creative, and so on and so forth (as opposed to having to start from scratch with all of that at a completely new entity). And he’s got an ownership stake in the company, meaning he’s got extra incentive to kick fucking ass.

Suicide Silence certainly represent a huge, fiscally solid, low risk first signing. Word on the street (pure rumor here, no quotes) is that Monte had his eye on Suicide Silence while he was still at Roadrunner. I can only guess at to why that didn’t work out, but it’s hard to imagine that the label’s hard rock-leaning direction of recent years didn’t at least play some factor in it (it’s worth noting, though, that he was still able to land Gojira to RR). Now Monte’s got a second chance with the band, and it’s in an environment much more conducive to truly heavy music with a proven track record in that field. There’s no reason Nuclear Blast won’t be able to knock it out of the park for Suicide Silence. Both the band and the label win here.

So why’d Suicide Silence part ways with their former label, Century Media? I can’t imagine Century willingly walking away from a band whose most recent record shifted nearly 15,000 units in its first week of release. Unless there was some kind of crazy behind-the-scenes drama we don’t know about and Century is simply happy to have SS out of their hair… but yeah, I still can’t imagine Century letting a 15k first week seller go, no matter the headache. More likely, Suicide Silence had some kind of option in their contract after their third record for the label and they decided to walk — or at least to test the free agent market — and they decided to leave CM after getting a better offer from NBE. Or Century’s deal with Suicide Silence only called for three records to begin with, and CM just didn’t step up with a favorable new offer.

The funny thing is that Century and Nuclear Blast share an office just outside of Los Angeles, meaning Suicide Silence are basically walking right across the hall to their new label (or up a staircase, as it were). They’ll literally have to wave to their old label staff on the way in.

So: Suicide Silence are on Nuclear Blast now, joining Meshuggah, Decapitated, Testament, Enslaved, Exodus, Suffocation and Nile, to name a few. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more signings like this by Monte in the coming months, bands that “young up” the label, for lack of a better phrase. Nuclear Blast have tons of awesome bands (see above) and a small army of completely interchangeable European power metal bands, but they haven’t really been active players in signing young, emerging talent in recent years (not that Suicide Silence are still an “emerging” act in 2012, but you get the point). I expect that will change, starting now.

-VN

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