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Metal Magazines and Metal History


Requiem
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For years I've been a reader of music magazines, principally of the heavy variety. 

I first started reading random magazines that made their way into my local newsagents back around 1993. This was the era where the vast majority of bands were only read about and never heard. For years I knew about the ups and downs, releases and concerts of bands before ever hearing them. These bands were filled with mystery and romance. They were exotic. 

I'm interested in reading about some of the forum users' metal magazine memories and experiences. 

I started reading the UK magazine Terrorizer back in 1997, and I still have many of those copies with me today. I've been a subscriber from about 2005-2014 but left the magazine after they completely dropped the ball, stopped sending out issues that had been paid for and refused to reply to my emails. There was quite a scandal at the time because a lot of subscribers got the same treatment. To this day it's the worst customer service I've ever had after showing years of loyalty. 

Anyway, Terrorizer was a brilliant magazine back in the days of Nick Terry's editorship. The standards were really high. I also love the Englishness of it. The polls and lists were always interesting too, but as I grew up I realised that my tastes differed. 

I've also flirted with Zero Tolerance, especially after Terrorizer decided they no longer wanted me as a customer, although the small A5 size of ZT makes it hard to read and they cover a lot of local underground bands, which is great for the bands but I find pages and pages of bands that I just lack the initiative to check out, due to being old. They also confusingly have a full page column at the back of every issue where the singer from Primordial writes a crazy right-wing political diatribe about random things. Very strange...

The American magazines were always too impersonal for me, especially the ones with black and white pages and a U.S-centric focus. They often felt thrash heavy too, which wasn't my cup of tea. I couldn't really connect with them on a personal level like I could with the British magazines. 

Australia has had some metal magazines from time to time as well, with Hot Metal being a particular title from the 90s that I remember fondly. There was an Australian Kerrang that wasn't much to write home about, and it's subsequently disappeared (I presume). 

Being a Mick Wall fan, I bought an old 80s copy of Kerrang on ebay the other day. It's amazing as a piece of history. I want to get hold of a few more to get a taste of that era that I was really too young to understand at the time. 

To this day I still have stacks and stacks of Terrorizers from 1997-2014 in my garden shed in boxes. I'm going to throw them out and just keep the earliest copies as relics of a bygone age. 

Were you lot into magazines? 

 

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Yeah, magazines were more or less a necessity back in the day. I only had access to widely distributed stuff since I lived way out in the sticks--I didn't have many fanzines. I used to pick up BW & BK fairly often; it generally came with a sampler CD which was nice. The main downside was that BW & BK was so expensive ($7.50 an issue where I bought it from). I also read a lot of Metal Maniacs whenever I could. The name of it was really cliche but it was usually the best I could find locally as far as content goes. Although it did get to the point where each issue was saturated with tons of obscure bands that I doubt anyone remembered for more than a month. I don't remember the writer's name, but there would be an article somewhere in the middle (or maybe it was the last page?) that would chronicle old school bands. I discovered a lot of awesome stuff through that article in particular, like Pestilence and Nocturnus. It was one of the main reasons why I bought the magazine. Also Metal Maniacs had this personals/pen pals section where a lot of times you'd see these goofy, nighttime taken photos of dudes with their hair covering their face who in their ads, wrote that they were 400 year old vampires and shit like that lol. I still have some of the posters that came with those magazines--some were huge and I think those would be advertised as something like, ex.: "GIANT Slayer Poster Inside!" on the cover. It was almost like a wrestling magazine. The advertising pages could sometimes make for decent wall hangings too, like the full page ad for Death's Live in L.A. that I had taped up on my wall of my old room when I was 15 or 16.

I read Terrorizer occasionally but for whatever reason it wasn't available anywhere around the place that I grew up until about 2005 or '06 even. I very rarely bought Metal Edge because they became centered around Nu-Metal. There'd be the occasional Slayer, Pantera, Iron Maiden, etc. interview that would also usually merit a decent poster in them. Maybe a write up of a Type O concert from time to time, maybe one or two other things that'd catch my interest. The last issue of ME that I remember reading had an interview with Billy Milano in it, but I could be confusing it with a different magazine. I had a few copies of Explicitly Intense and then some other magazines that seemed to survive only for a few monthly issues and then vanish. I still have part of one of those whose name escapes me at the moment, that had a long retrospective article on Emperor after Prometheus came out followed by a two page list of all the side projects and associated acts from them like Peccatum, Arcturus and Ildjarn.

I had a decent collection of metal and guitar player magazines in a large Rubbermaid container in storage, but they ended up getting severely water damaged and hardly any of them survived. The ones that didn't dry out and solidify into thin, crusty bricks turned into a pasty mush which made them only suitable for compost. Tough break, I guess. I didn't buy magazines as often when I got older and got busy, as it were. I do kind of miss reading them now.

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13 minutes ago, morbidspectre said:

Yeah, magazines were more or less a necessity back in the day. I only had access to widely distributed stuff since I lived way out in the sticks--I didn't have many fanzines. I used to pick up BW & BK fairly often; it generally came with a sampler CD which was nice. The main downside was that BW & BK was so expensive ($7.50 an issue where I bought it from).

Tell that to Skull "what has Martin Popoff ever done before the internet" Kollector. The @Skull_Kollektor refuses to acknowledge the existence of Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles. Actually, where is Skully these days? 

Great post Morbid. I felt the nostalgia and I felt great empathy. 

I forgot to mention that I used to read Metal Hammer back in the late 90s too. That was a strange magazine sometimes, touching on nu-metal and being obsessed with Peter Steele. It was really too commercial for my tastes, so the discovery of Terrorizer was a supreme moment. 

As for the hilarious pen-pal ads, I used to be fascinated by the English ones as well - they were always so colloquially British. Now here I am online as a 400 year old vampire... the more things change hey?  

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Growing up the metal mags and occasional weekly radio show were the only link we had to the world of metal. I may have mentioned once before that one Christmas holiday period we were up in the country in the town where my mum's family came from (Ararat -  population 10,000) and I found a copy of a magazine (not sure of the name) but it has a picture of Shout at the Devil era Motley Crue in it. They instantly became my favorite  band - and when I got back to school I told everyone about them. All of this despite never hearing a single song of theirs.

Growing up, every Friday we would go to the local shopping centre (Mall for all you Americans) and once a month with my pocket money I would buy the new copy of CIRCUS magazine. It cost either $2.99 or $3.99. Either way i got $5 for my pocket money so I always had enough. CIRCUS was the greatest metal mag ever in the early 80s. Always had heaps of Motley Crue, WASP, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, RATT, Keel, KISS, Queensryche, Lita Ford and so forth. I'd cut out all the pictures and post them on my walls or onto my school folder.

Both CIRCUS and Hit Parader where the two main ones I recall. Later into the 80s Metal Edge came about but it always seemed more budge conscious (read no glossy pages and poorer quality paper) that had primarily lots and lots of bi-fold posters in it. From time to time there would be a 'WASP'  or 'Crue' special edition.

I remember all of these mags used to contain these "10 records for $10" deals..so many times I went through and selected the 10 albums I wanted for my $10 but never ever sent it off to the US. They also had pages of wristbands and bullet belts and fingerless gloves you could order and stuff like that.

A little later (early 90s) I remember Terrorizer which focussed on more extreme metal and as my tastes changed, I started getting this a lot more. Often came with a promotional cd with 10-12 bands on it which was great. Metal Hammer was the other big one, for a while there it was freakin great but nowadays its like $17 for the current copy and frankly I'm not paying that.

You (Requiem) mentioned the mighty Hot Metal which sold here in Australia for 2-3 years and was actually really cool. This had a few international contributors too who also wrote in some of the overseas mags I remember. It went broke in the 90s. But while it lasted it was great stuff. I remember one edition came with a booklet of 20 or so band stickers - Accept, Testament, Overkill, Death, Morbid Angel etc. I peeled off a Sodom sticker and stuck it on a bus-stop timetable on Doncaster Road and it remained there for ages. 

Wish I still had a few copies...

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On 2017-5-31 at 7:47 PM, True Belief said:

 

You (Requiem) mentioned the mighty Hot Metal which sold here in Australia for 2-3 years and was actually really cool. This had a few international contributors too who also wrote in some of the overseas mags I remember. It went broke in the 90s. But while it lasted it was great stuff. I remember one edition came with a booklet of 20 or so band stickers - Accept, Testament, Overkill, Death, Morbid Angel etc. I peeled off a Sodom sticker and stuck it on a bus-stop timetable on Doncaster Road and it remained there for ages. 

 

Yeah, I remember Hot Metal being pretty good. I might see if I can buy a copy from ebay or something as it would be good to have a flick through for nostalgia's sake. One day we will have to rifle through some of the Terrorizer magazines in my garden shed. There's some cool stuff from back in the 90s in there. 

Also, I've forwarded your post on to the Doncaster police. They've been after that Sodom guy for decades! Seriously though, that's hilarious! 

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On 27/5/2017 at 7:11 AM, Requiem said:

Tell that to Skull "what has Martin Popoff ever done before the internet" Kollector. The @Skull_Kollektor refuses to acknowledge the existence of Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles. Actually, where is Skully these days? 

Great post Morbid. I felt the nostalgia and I felt great empathy. 

I forgot to mention that I used to read Metal Hammer back in the late 90s too. That was a strange magazine sometimes, touching on nu-metal and being obsessed with Peter Steele. It was really too commercial for my tastes, so the discovery of Terrorizer was a supreme moment. 

As for the hilarious pen-pal ads, I used to be fascinated by the English ones as well - they were always so colloquially British. Now here I am online as a 400 year old vampire... the more things change hey?  

Ciao amigos, sorry I couldn't post because I was impossibly busy because of the CFA exam which I took today... I think I failed it, but now I certainly have much more free time!

 

Apologies to Mr Popoff. I still don't rate him. I think he sucks badly. But I do owe him an apology because a few weeks ago I read the booklet of the "Dio Years" Black Sabbath Compilation (which I probably only ever read on the day I bought it in Panama City back in 2007) to find out that he was quoted in it!

Yes Sir, name and surname! So now I can say he belongs to the club, although he is still my least favorite music writer.

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1 hour ago, Skull_Kollektor said:

Ciao amigos, sorry I couldn't post because I was impossibly busy because of the CFA exam which I took today... I think I failed it, but now I certainly have much more free time!

 

Apologies to Mr Popoff. I still don't rate him. I think he sucks badly. But I do owe him an apology because a few weeks ago I read the booklet of the "Dio Years" Black Sabbath Compilation (which I probably only ever read on the day I bought it in Panama City back in 2007) to find out that he was quoted in it!

Yes Sir, name and surname! So now I can say he belongs to the club, although he is still my least favorite music writer.

I count this as progress. At this rate, in 12 months you'll be getting a Popoff tattoo and opening the Martin Popoff museum in Panama City! 

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On 2017-5-27 at 0:38 AM, Requiem said:

I started reading the UK magazine Terrorizer back in 1997, and I still have many of those copies with me today. I've been a subscriber from about 2005-2014 but left the magazine after they completely dropped the ball, stopped sending out issues that had been paid for and refused to reply to my emails. There was quite a scandal at the time because a lot of subscribers got the same treatment. To this day it's the worst customer service I've ever had after showing years of loyalty. 

Anyway, Terrorizer was a brilliant magazine back in the days of Nick Terry's editorship. The standards were really high. I also love the Englishness of it. The polls and lists were always interesting too, but as I grew up I realised that my tastes differed. 

I've also flirted with Zero Tolerance, especially after Terrorizer decided they no longer wanted me as a customer, although the small A5 size of ZT makes it hard to read and they cover a lot of local underground bands, which is great for the bands but I find pages and pages of bands that I just lack the initiative to check out, due to being old. They also confusingly have a full page column at the back of every issue where the singer from Primordial writes a crazy right-wing political diatribe about random things. Very strange...

I used to be on the Tez forum and this was a common issue, withdrawal of subscription and/or lack of circulation altogther.  I find the mag too mainstream nowadays for my liking, I remember it was the "truuu" and "kvlt" mag when I was a young un.

I only read Zero Tolerance now, I find it great in the size format and like how much they manage to fit in every issue.  I was a subscriber but it lapsed so I rely on getting from the stores when I am out and about.  They do some great features on artists (as in painters and illustrators) and do some great historical pieces too - the last one had a HP Lovecraft article I am yet to read.

Growing up it was Kerrang!, RAW, Metal Hammer and Metal Forces that I used to adorn every wall in my room with posters and articles from.  Kerrang! is a shadow of it's former self to me now but I think it always focused on youth and young uns listen to "core" and stuff nowadays.  RAW went bust I think, Metal Forces is online somewhere as a historical reference I think and Metal Hammer again just seems to appeal to the teenage market nowadays.

 

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On 2017-6-4 at 8:31 PM, MacabreEternal said:

I used to be on the Tez forum and this was a common issue, withdrawal of subscription and/or lack of circulation altogther.  I find the mag too mainstream nowadays for my liking, I remember it was the "truuu" and "kvlt" mag when I was a young un.

I only read Zero Tolerance now, I find it great in the size format and like how much they manage to fit in every issue.  I was a subscriber but it lapsed so I rely on getting from the stores when I am out and about.  They do some great features on artists (as in painters and illustrators) and do some great historical pieces too - the last one had a HP Lovecraft article I am yet to read.

Growing up it was Kerrang!, RAW, Metal Hammer and Metal Forces that I used to adorn every wall in my room with posters and articles from.  Kerrang! is a shadow of it's former self to me now but I think it always focused on youth and young uns listen to "core" and stuff nowadays.  RAW went bust I think, Metal Forces is online somewhere as a historical reference I think and Metal Hammer again just seems to appeal to the teenage market nowadays.

 

You're right. You know, it's funny because people always look back at magazines as being better when they were younger. I have a copy of Kerrang from 1989 and it's all the hair metal bands and Motley Crue etc. So it's always been about the in trends. 

Terrorizer have always been about the same level of 'underground'. They've always covered the popular bands as well as the little known ones - a quick glance at the magazine covers from the early days (I think they started in 1995) will show you that they've always been in touch with the big bands. When I was young though I didn't realise Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth were anything other than underground...

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I regularly buy a UK mag called Classic Rock which is done by the same editor who publishes Metal Hammer. Some of the fellas on Classic Rock are familiar names... like Geoff Barton and Malcolm Dome...

 

Also I read an Italian magazine called Classix. They also have a spinoff called Classix Metal which is brilliant. They only cover "oldies" metal but they dig deep into both the underground and the mainstream of old. They have a penchant for the "should have been's". Like you know all those second tier hair metal or thrash metal bands from back in the day that made it to the major labels, but sold relatively few records... It's cool stuff.

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On 09/06/2017 at 9:16 AM, True Belief said:

I think Classic Rock went bust recently right? May have been bought out by someone.... but a heap of staff lost their jobs.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I can't imagine the difficulty or running a print magazine in this day and age. Actually getting people to pay money for the written word that can easily be found online.

The terrible pain in the ass it would be to go to the trouble of producing a quality magazine only for people to not buy it. At least back in the day all the hassle would have been worth it for the fans' enthusiasm and buy-in, like you were adding to their lives. Journalists like Mick Wall were practically celebrities (with the egos to match), getting flown intercontinentally to cover bands and events. Hard to imagine now.

If anything I would have thought Classic Rock would outlast most others because its older readership might appreciate the tactile nature of a magazine more than nowadays kids.

I guess everyone is too busy making their one-man bedroom black metal project and posting it on forums to read mags.

I'm actually reading 'Fargo Rock City' by Chuck Klosterman at the moment so I have heightened awareness of old skool ways of thinking about music. Amazing book if you haven't read it.

 

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Classic Rock is still alive. Long story short. A company bought out Classic Rock and Metal Hammer from an editor a few years ago. That company paid too much for it and put too much debt onto it. A few months ago this new company went bust. Classic Rock and Metal Hammer were put "on hold"... 

Both magazines were put on sale. The dude from Orange Goblin (or Electric Wizard, I can't remember.. anyway a stoner/doom dude) put up some sort of last minute charity to save the mags and help out the journalists. They raised about 80 k GBP if I remember correctly.

Both Classic Rock and Metal Hammer ultimately ended up being bought up by the same editor that sold them in the first place.

I'm too lazy to look for the actual figures, but the morale is that these guys sold them for a lot of money, then bought it back for peanuts a few years later.

In the end, save for a couple of weeks, both magazines kept going and now they're both out regularly. The were discontinued for about two weeks.

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  • 4 years later...
On 6/11/2017 at 11:34 PM, Skull_Kollektor said:

Classic Rock is still alive. Long story short. A company bought out Classic Rock and Metal Hammer from an editor a few years ago. That company paid too much for it and put too much debt onto it. A few months ago this new company went bust. Classic Rock and Metal Hammer were put "on hold"... 

Both magazines were put on sale. The dude from Orange Goblin (or Electric Wizard, I can't remember.. anyway a stoner/doom dude) put up some sort of last minute charity to save the mags and help out the journalists. They raised about 80 k GBP if I remember correctly.

Both Classic Rock and Metal Hammer ultimately ended up being bought up by the same editor that sold them in the first place.

I'm too lazy to look for the actual figures, but the morale is that these guys sold them for a lot of money, then bought it back for peanuts a few years later.

In the end, save for a couple of weeks, both magazines kept going and now they're both out regularly. The were discontinued for about two weeks.

Your right someone ward from orange goblin saved both magazines. I subscribe to metal hammer. I get some occasionally brilliant stuff from there so it worth it imo.  It's owned by future publishing as far as I'm aware.

Malcom dome does some reviews in metal hammer too. Suppose that makes sense. 

What new bands of merit have you discovered  through classic rock. I assume they have newer stuff too

 

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I used to read the likes of Kerrang and Hit Parader back in the late 80's but they were not easy to get here in Oz and when they did come in they were usually about 2 months out of date, they were also bloody expensive, up around the $12 mark in some stores.

In the late 80's a local mob in Sydney started a mag called Hot Metal. It was basically a bit of local news, local bands, with syndicated overseas stories. It was on sale for $3.95 (I think) and often came with a metal sampler or something on the cover. They used to run monthly comps which weren't that hard to win because I'm pretty sure sales were not that high. Now days the name Hot Metal here is used for some subscriber paid news service that seems to be focused on rumours and fake stories of the metal world rather than actual news.

Otherwise in this country the mags that really helped fans and bands were the street press. The stuff that was printed in small runs and dropped off at music stores for free. They kept people informed of new releases, gigs and other happenings locally and became a valuable source for figuring out who was playing where. They were also relatively cheap to advertise in which made them a godsend for bands trying to get a leg up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My favorite metal magazine was Metal Maniacs. I never had a subscription to it, but I used to buy a lot of copies of it when it was still around in print, but I haven't checked out the digital version of it yet. I never really got into Metal Edge, Circus, or Kerrang because they seemed to be really big with the whole Nu-Metal thing when they were big in my teenage years and by then I had already moved on to thrash and black metal.

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