Bob Nalbandian, whose journalistic and film career chronicled the ups and downs of the heavy metal scene in print, film and online, died Friday, December 30 in Redding, California at the age of 58.
Nalbandian was recently diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, which is a rare and rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to Cousin.
Nalbandian started his career in his teenage years as publisher/editor-in-chief of Heavy Metal magazine Head In April of 1982. Zine achieved national distribution and was among the first publications to profile then-unsigned bands Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Armored Saint.
He became a regular contributor to music magazines covering the up-and-coming California metal scene, then parlayed that into a stint in publicity and promotion for Roadrunner Records, handling the endorsement efforts of Sepultura and Type O Negative. Go from there to Rhino/WEA handing out odd/straight records.
Nalbandian became the manager for Orange County, California-based metal band Eden, which got them to sign a worldwide deal with Enigma/Restless Records. He was also credited with landing Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman with that band.
Using his personality and networking skills, Nalbandian has also secured licensing deals with major international labels such as Century Media (US and Europe), Roadrunner Japan, Cherry Red / Hear No Evil / Universal Music (Europe), JVC / Victor (Japan), Music For Nations (UK), Bandai/Apollon (Japan), Polystar (Japan) and High Vaultage/Metal 4 Muthas (Germany).
He was an editor and early online editor at Hardradio.com, and transitioned to the Shockwaves Skull Sessions podcast, which he owned and produced.
Nalbandian went into writing, producing and directing a series of documentaries chronicling the heavy metal scene with his film Inside Metal a series. The first video was released in 2014 detailing L.A. pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal. Nalbandian directed eight videos in the series, which have been widely praised for their accuracy in capturing a moment in music history.
News of Nalbandian’s death quickly spread throughout the music and metal community.
Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine called Nalbandian a “musical legend”.
“You will be sorely missed, Bob. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Former Megadeth bassist David Elleson also paid tribute. With deep shock and sadness, we offer our condolences to our friend Bob Nalbandian who passed away today. Bob was one of the first metal history journalists I met when I moved to Los Angeles in 1983. He was a true friend, cheerleader, supporter and lover of all things heavy metal, he did a lot Our community will be sorely missed.”
No information was immediately available on survivors or plans to commemorate the victims.
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