Following the release of several records in the hardcore and punk sector, Markus finally, at the end of the 80’s, comes across a grindcore band from Las Vegas with the promising name of RIGHTEOUS PIGS
. The current distributor shrugs his shoulders when it comes to advance bookings, he thinks the subject is a tad too exotic.
But Markus makes the right decision: with the releases of ATROCITY
and INCUBUS, each of them selling more than 30,000 copies, NUCLEAR BLAST manages the breakthrough in 1990. With these releases, the company name strides through the global press for the first time and customer interest in products from the Death Metal sector gradually increases. Further releases such as PUNGENT STENCH
, DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
represented the spirit of the times.
The mail-order also starts running better. Markus Staiger no longer manages the whole thing single-handedly but has two full-time employees as well as a few temporary workers. “The trouble was, this all took place in my parents’ house and my mother wasn’t one bit amused,“ is how the Donzdorfer describes the situation at that time. “There were awesome-looking bands always coming and going in the house and there were cartons stacked all over the place. Upstairs, you couldn’t even go to the toilet without having to climb over some parcel or another.“
As amusing as it sounds now, it wasn’t so funny for Markus at the time. The bank didn’t want to loan him any money as a young entrepreneur, certainly not when he was concentrating on Heavy Metal, and because NUCLEAR BLAST at the beginning hardly threw off a profit. Markus had to manage on a very tight budget. “Often the account was so empty that I had to work day and night through the weekend, too. NUCLEAR BLAST was simply my one and all, even if I didn’t earn anything at the beginning. Of course, there were moments when I felt desperate.“
In Donzdorf itself, Markus Staiger was considered a true eccentric. There was not one person in the small village at the foot of the Swabial plateau who imagined that he would achieve anything with the weird plans he had. Even today , according to Markus, there are one or two who wonder how the firm, which has in the meantime more than 70 employees, can do so well.
The road there was a long and rocky one. “I couldn’t tell you how many times during the first five years I told my mother that a new record from [XY] was coming soon and then things would definitely take off. But it was quite a long time ‘til we got that far…“
In the year 1991, Nuclear Blast America was set up by Nuclear Blast president Markus Staiger, Relapse Records founder Matthew Jacobson and Relapse collaborator Bill Yurkiewicz. During the next months Relapse arranged a distribution deal for Relapse Records and Nuclear Blast America with Relativity Entertainment Distribution.
Nuclear Blast still owned the Nuclear Blast America sub-label, but at the time, it was marketed in the US by Relapse Records which was the result of Relapse's efforts to release and promote domestic versions of Nuclear Blast artists like Pungent Stench, Disharmonic Orchestra, Benediction and Dismember.
In May 1991 Relapse / Nuclear Blast America relocated from Denver, Colorado to Millersville, Pennsylvania.