EMP History Flashback – 30 Years of EMP: 1989 – 1991


Wow, we almost can’t believe this: This fall – on November 27th to be precise – marks the 30th anniversary of EMP. Thirty. Like 3 and 0. Crazy, isn’t it? However, we’re not gonna plunge into an identity crisis but look back on the past three decades with pride. 30 years in which EMP developed from a tiny flyer catalogue to Europe’s leading e-commerce retailer in the rock and entertainment business. Until our official birthday in November we are going to condense the past 30 years in ten blog posts – looking back on what happened with us, with metal and the rest of the great wide world. Let’s carry on with the years 1989 to 1991!


On the cover of the EMP catalogue, which is now released twice a year and has swollen up to 30 DIN-A pages (written on typewriter and supplemented by simple product pictures), Anthrax shine forth. EMP is thriving so much that 120 m² of additional office space have to be rented.


In the metal cosmos bands like Dark Tranquillity, Cathedral, Dissection, Benediction, Edge Of Sanity, Gorefest, Marilyn Manson, Fear Factory or Unleashed come into being. Legendary metal records from 1989: “Altars of Madness” from Morbid Angel, “Dr. Feelgood” from Mötley Crüe, “Pretty Hate Machine” from Nine Inch Nails, “Slowly We Rot” from Obituary, “Beneath the Remains” from Sepultura or – hailing from Germany – “Agent Orange” from Sodom. Movies like „Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade“, „Back To The Future II“, „Dead Poets Society“, Tim Burton’s „Batman“ or „The Little Mermaid“ are on display. Madonna’s „Like A Prayer“ makes waves and creates quite a scandal. And… the Game Boy is born!



In 1990 the whole EMP catalogue is printed in colour for the very first time.


However, not only EMP is growing but also the metal world: Bands like Anathema, At The Gates, In Flames, My Dying Bride, Opeth, Satyricon, Tool or Type O Negative are born that year. Important album releases: AC/DC – “The Razors Edge”, Bathory – “Hammerheart”, Blind Guardian – “Tales from the Twilight World”, Deicide – “Deicide”, Entombed – “Left Hand Path”, Judas Priest – “Painkiller” or Pantera – “Cowboys from Hell”.


In the movie world, 1990 is a great vintage as well: Classics like „Total Recall“, „Edward Scissorhands“, „Dances With Wolves“, „Ghost“, „Flatliners“, „Home Alone“ or „Tremors“ see the light of day. In Japan, the Super Nintendo is released, changing gamepad history for good.


In 1991 the EMP catalogue features this cover:


And there is a big jubilee edition with this colourful collage:


With hindsight, 1991 was quite a black metal year: Cradle Of Filth, Burzum, Emperor, Enslaved, Marduk and Behemoth were founded. 1991 isn’t short of release highlights either: Bathory – “Twilight of the Gods”, Cannibal Corpse – “Butchered at Birth”, Darkthrone – ”Soulside Journey”, Death – “Human”, Guns N’ Roses – “Use Your Illusion I & II”, Kyuss – “Wretch”, Meshuggah – “Contradictions Collapse”, Metallica – “Metallica”, Morbid Angel – “Blessed are the Sick”, Paradise Lost – “Gothic”, Sepultura – “Arise” or Type O Negative – “Slow, Deep and Hard” – what a year!


In cinemas there are movies such as „Silence Of The Lambs“,“Terminator 2 – Judgement Day“, „Last Boy Scout“ or „Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves“ while in the computer world „Sonic the Hedgehog“ is the measure of all things.

What are the next milestones in the history of EMP, metal and the rest of the world? Stay tuned for our next post on “HISTORY FLASHBACK – 30 years of EMP”!

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