Though they didn’t begin as an exclusively metal label, their first LP release was a NWOBHM compilation, and metal dominated their product line. Many classic NWOBHM records were released under the Ebony label, but they didn’t restrict their releases to British bands. Dutch metal legends Mercyful Fate had their first vinyl release on 1982’s Metallic Storm, French band Demon Eyes appeared on 1983’s Metal Plated, and French band Sortilege appeared on 1983’s Metal Warriors; NWOBHM bands like Savage, Shy, and Chateau appeared on Ebony’s comps also.
Heavy Metal Holocaust: live bootleg LP, 3-record set
This is purportedly a recording of the Heavy Metal festival on 1 August 1981 at Port Vale Football Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent. However, some of the bands on this collection did not play that concert (Venom, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Black Sabbath), some bands that did play the festival are missing (Riot, Vardis, Mahogany Rush, Triumph), and the recordings are all traceable to other sources (the Venom track is from their debut LP with crowd noise tacked onto the end, the Saxon tracks are from the 15/2/1980 Friday Rock Show broadcast, the Iron Maiden tracks are from their 1981 Live at the Rainbow video, The Scorpions and Ozzy tracks sound to be from radio broadcasts, the Black Sabbath tracks are from a famous bootleg recording of a 1980 show in Providence, RI, and the Motorhead tracks are lifted straight from their official live LP No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith with between-song-banter originating from their famous 16/5/1979 BBC recording from Paris Theater in London).
On the plus-side, some of the recordings are quite good-sounding, it came with a nifty photocopied booklet, and this was the first time I ever heard the band Venom.
Virgin Steele: “Minuet in G Minor/Danger Zone” (from their debut LP Virgin Steele, Virgin Steele Records, 1982)
New York-based Virgin Steele were contemporaries of the NWOBHM, and their music was certainly of interest to metal-listeners of the time. They labeled their style Barbaric Romanticism (though this is somewhat misleading as their early music is as much hard rock as it is medieval in context). Though influences of classical music (by way of Deep Purple, and perhaps Dio, can be detected), this is pure early-80s metal when it gets moving.