According to a cousin, Nalbandian was recently diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, an aggressive and rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
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Nalbandian started his career as a publisher/editor of a heavy metal fanzine in his early teens headshot April 1982. The magazine achieved national distribution and was one of the first publications to feature then-unsigned bands Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Armored Saint.
He became a regular contributor to music magazines, covering California’s rising metal scene, and then used that to work in publicity and promotion for Roadrunner Records, where he handled work supporting Sepultura and Type O Negative. From there he moved on to Bizarre/Straight Records, a Rhino/WEA release.
Nalbandian became the manager of Orange County, California metal band Eden, which landed them a worldwide deal with Enigma/Restless Records. He is also credited with having Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman perform with the group.
With his outgoing personality and networking skills, Nalbandian has also collaborated with 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 early online editor and podcast host for Hardradio.com before moving on to The Shockwaves Skull Sessions podcast, which he owns and produces.
Nalbandian begins writing, producing and directing a series of documentaries documenting the heavy metal scene inner metal series. The first video was released in 2014, detailing the Los Angeles pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal. Nalbandian directed eight videos in the series, which has been widely acclaimed for accurately capturing moments in music history.
News of Nalbandian’s death spread quickly throughout the music and metal world.
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth called Nalbandian a “music legend”.
“We will miss you very much, Bob. My sincere condolences go out to his family and friends.
Former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson also paid tribute. “It is with deep shock and sadness that we are here to offer our condolences to our friend Bob Nalbandian who passed away today. Bob was one of the first metal historian reporters I met when I moved to Los Angeles in 1983 One. A true friend, fan, supporter and lover of all things heavy metal, he did so much for our community and we will miss him dearly.
There is no information yet on survivors or memorial plans.