We all know what record labels are I would hope. They sign bands and promote this shit outta them to make money, help the band get exposure, and/or to simply expand their inventory and scope of influence of whatever genre(s) they prefer. As metal fans we obviously pay attention to the metal only record labels, and those of us who care know who the biggies are. I’m talking about Nuclear Blast, Metal Blade, Napalm, and even Relapse. Those are the Big Four of metal-oriented labels with them having bands such as Slayer (Nuclear Blast), Cattle Decapitation and Amon Amarth (Metal Blade), Satyricon and Coal Chamber (Napalm), and Skinless and Obituary (Relapse) being signed to them, and it goes without saying that those are all huge bands that obviously rake in the dough along with causing quite a commotion whenever they announce a tour or a new album. These record labels have made a killing off of that and that’s what makes them so huge and favored because they have “the” bands that hundreds of thousands of people listen to on a daily basis.
But as with bands alone there are record labels that are tiny, unknown, and practically ignored by elitists because they don’t have the huge bands and they don’t have the scope of influence that the others do. And they have quality bands that are also small and unknown. That, of course, does not mean they’re bad. Some of them have me shit my pants and want to do a back flip because they’re so good and the record labels know what the fuck they’re doing with getting the right bands and doing the right things for them, but they’re not as big as say Nuclear Blast. They don’t have a gigantic list of bands, but it’s a good list nonetheless, and right now I will provide to you the 2 records labels that I love and I believe to be underrated and unappreciated (hey, that’s in the title!).
One of my favorite record labels of all, Eclipse not only has a small and capable staff they have 4 bands that absolutely hit all the balls out of every single fucking park with all of their latest albums. While 75% (math!) of their bands are without a doubt metal, they have one band that is more of a rock band: Blowsight. You may have heard their single “Hit on the Radio” off of their latest album “Life & Death” with it becoming literally a hit on the radio oddly enough. The other three bands take over metal sub-genres of their own and doing an amazing job while doing it.
These bands are far from push overs and are only just beginning. A Breach of Silence: a metalcore band from down under (Australia) that packs an absolute brutal punch for a metalcore band and has captured the minds and hearts of their fans, me being one. Our Last Enemy: an industrial metal group also composed of Aussies whose last album “Pariah” showed off that they can be a smack in the face of everyone who listened to it and playing awesome grooves while at it. And last but not least, Cold Snap: Croatian nu metal done inventively and without a single fuck given as the band plays what they play and what they feel.
Eclipse have an elite cast of bands that have a very loyal and intense fan base as I’m a member of all of them. The quality from these “small” bands are mind blowing whether you wanna believe it or not and they don’t plan on leaving any time soon. They know what bands are the unsung heroes of their genres as they aren’t a bunch of elitists bastards, but just know killer metal when they hear it. Oh yeah, and if you’re not impressed yet then just know that Eclipse is the label that got Mushroomhead kicked off and into the world. If that doesn’t make an impression then get the fuck outta here (kidding! kidding…).
Even I’m guilty of forgetting about Pitch Black as they don’t have as many bands that made me go “holy shit this shit is the shit!”. I think you know exactly what I mean. But they’ve got bands that know what they want, and they know how to do it. And they have a much wider variety of bands and subgenres of metal under their belt with seven different sub-genres being implied and 26 bands signed to them. I’ve honestly not heard each one of them, but the ones that I love and know give me faith and knowledge that Pitch Black is just like Eclipse as they know sprouting talent when they see it and want to help get those bands out into the world and into the ears of the metal masses.
And now I shall give you 4 bands that are just oozing with talent and are only just now reaching more ears as they make more albums. Stormcast: my personal favorite from Pitch Black, this atmospheric black metal band isn’t as atmospheric as others but those elements are implied nonetheless and that’s what makes their debut and only album “Frame of Mind” uncomprehendingly awesome as every single second is energetic and brings you a one of a kind black metal feel. Orpheus Blade: an Israeli progressive metal act that uses the female vocals to their maximum potential in bringing an interesting sound and feel to their debut “Wolf’s Cry”. Sacred Blood: epic metal inspired by the mythology of Greek culture to create an anciently smooth feel to their music that only fans of epic metal can understand fully. Vomitile: the death metal band that death fans live for as they bring the brutality without any restraints with creating crushing albums that demolish and leave you as a pulsing mass like their latest “Mastering the Art of Killing”.
This label has the bands, it just needs that extra push and it’s surely coming in their future. If they can help produce, create, and promote metal albums of all sorts then there’s no limit to what they can do other than how far they can push their influence with how unknown these bands are in the grand scope of things. With a good variety of bands and the quality being high and powerful, Pitch Black is definitely an unsung label that is worthy of leaving their mark on the metal community now and for years to come.
These two labels have made their presence known to a (relatively) select few people with a select few bands that are more than worthy and more than good to be heard by everyone. The bands that I’ve mentioned are all fantastic and are as awesome as the people of their respective labels. They’re hard working and generous people. I would know, I’ve talked with them. I’m not biased because I’ve made friends with these people, I just want them to be more well known because their work deserves to be more wide spread. And one way or another, you can help them with that. By just listening to a song, buying an album, going to a show, or just liking their goddamn Facebook page you can help these bands become more well known because their sound and their magnificence wasn’t made for a few people, but for everyone. Good music is not for the few, it’s for the plenty and willing.