Megadeth bassist David Ellefson is bringing back the legendary thrash label that gave his band its first break. Ellefson’s two-year-old EMP Label Group announced this week that it’s reviving Combat Records, once home to metal and punk greats Exodus, Circle Jerks, Death, Dark Angel and Agnostic Front, among others. The indie notably signed Megadeth — one of the “big four” thrash bands — to a contract in 1984 and released the combo’s 1985 debut, Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!
Combat began life in 1983 as the in-house metal label for Important Record Distributors and was later acquired by Sony’s now-defunct Relativity Records, which eventually shut it down. The Combat name was then resurrected briefly by KOCH Records in the mid-2000s before going dark again. Most of the label’s back catalog, which is still owned by Sony, was released digitally in 2015 through Sony’s Music for Nations imprint.
Ellefson’s Combat does not own any of the back catalog, but will instead focus solely on new releases from both classic and up-and-coming metal artists. The label’s first releases, coming in 2018, will feature Raven, Helstar, Dead By Wednesday and Wrath.
“So excited and honored to be able to revive such an iconic brand that was so instrumental to my history,” said Ellefson, who has been working on acquiring the Combat brand for a year. “Even though we signed to Capitol after Killing is my Business, Combat’s logo was on all the Megadeth releases through Countdown To Extinction, and it truly was/is one of the most iconic Metal labels of all time, even being home to some of the other artists who would end up on the EMP roster, like Helstar.
He added, “The same independent spirit that drove Combat in those early days, is truly the same spirit that drives what we do with EMP, and we are honored to launch another amazing conduit to support new and established Metal artists, with great respect to the legacy of the past.”