Metal History Through Fanzines

Roadrunner Records (US)

Grind Zone #1 (Italy/Spain) ? 1994 (En Español)

Grind Zone #1 (Italy/Spain) ? 1994. Director: “Claudio Cubito” (En Español)

A somewhat mainstream Italian publication, translated into Spanish for Spain (and published by a German conglomerate!), yet containing many cult underground acts in their prime. This goes to show just how far the ‘underground’ was from being really underground by 1994 – only to collapse back into obscurity more or less by 1995-96. Features and interviews with Entombed, Cathedral, Asphyx, Burzum, Tiamat, Samael, Gorefest, Anathema, Amorphis, Cynic, In Flames, Doomstone, Dark Tranquillity, Expulsion, Misanthrope, Osmose Productions, Century Media, Nuclear Blast, Peaceville, Roadrunner, Death, Eucharist, Impaled Nazarene, Absu, Phlebotomized, Sadness, Schizo, Cradle of Filth, Mind Riot, Black Shine, and Sadist.

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Ripping Headaches #12 (US-France) 1990

Ripping Headaches #12 (US-France) 1990, Editors: “Bruce Davis” and “Chris Aubert”

Here is a contribution from Chris Aubert, who helped out and co-edited the Ripping Headaches zine from France, while Bruce did his job from Florida (and a great time to be in Florida for sure!) Along with the scans, which include killer show reviews and interviews with Excel, Incubus, Pungent Stench, Derketa, and Assuck, among others, I asked Chris a few questions…here is what he had to say…

Well actually it was Bruce Davis who started the zine in Tampa, FL in the mid 80’s. I was on my side having this zine called Sprash Core Mag in Paris, France with two friends. We did two issues in English then I wanted to move international haha so I joined forces with Bruce who was in Tampa, remember all great bands from that area? Morbid Angel, Death, Cynic, Obituary, Nocturnus… I had to be in contact with him! I saw one of his little ad inserted in some other zine, so I dropped him a letter and started to become more and more involved into it. As a co-editor we did together issues 8 till 14 in Feb. ’91.

During that time, we wrote thousands of letters, traded huge amount of tapes and reviewed as much as we could, always keeping the fanzine spirit alive and never selling our souls to record industry (once powerful).
 We had contributors from the U.S. of course, Germany, Norway (Gylve “Fenriz” from Darkthrone), Drew Elliott (New Renaissance Records fave artist, check cover of our #8: amazing!), Mexico… A real team work, Bruce was getting all stuff in and was handling typing/layout.


Standing in line at the post office may be the reason why I did not have enough time to go after girls back then, I mean I was always either taping stuff, reviewing, sending int’s, getting ready for a show OR standing in line there.
 I never collected or saved these letters. Only flyers of concerts (still have thousands of them), tapes of course and records. I used to get tons of zines in the mail to trade for ours (sales were poor, barely none, but trading was huge in these days, everyone had his own zine and would request yours), but the zines are gone. I sold them, around 400-500 before the Myspace/Facebook revival. Now I think that was a mistake, so many cool reviews, interviews got spread around… It would have been nice to get them all scanned and posted on pages here and there. Like you’re doing bro! Truly a great idea!
 I just have the Ripping Headaches and Sprash Core Mag issues here left.
  As for the letters one should notice a great site on here where a friend had the idea to post originals… Check it here

Chris Aubert (2012)

 


Screams From the Gutter #27 (NJ, USA) Feb/Mar 1991

Screams From the Gutter #27 (NJ, USA) Feb/Mar 1991, Editor: “Evil Dave”

This zine consisted primarily of album reviews, although this issue does have an interview with Prime Evil. Either way, fun stuff, and a good look into what was on the record-store shelves in early 1991.

 


Chainsaw Abortions #2 (NY, USA) 1990

Chainsaw Abortions #2 (NY, USA) 1990. Editor “Brian Pattison”

This zine out of upstate NY was sent over (and edited by) by Brian Pattison, who you may also know as the guy (who along with Alan Moses) put out the Glorious Times pictorial-history book of the death metal underground (see the video review below). This issue has some timely interviews with Morbid Angel (w/ Dave, right after Altars of Madness), Obituary (pre-Cause of Death), Sacrifice (as Soldier of Misfortune was released), Derketa, demo era- Malevolent Creation, Carbonized and Grave, as well as tons of cool ads and record label promos.


The Book of Armageddon #4 (NY, USA) 1989

The Book of Armageddon #4 (NY, USA) 1989, Editor: “Ed Farshtey”

This week I have the fourth and final issue of Ed Farshtey’s “Book of Armageddon.” Ed was entrenched in the New York metal scene throughout the 80s to the 90s, from ‘heavy’ metal, to thrash, to death, and even ended up working at Roadrunner when they were signing all the classic death metal acts around 1990. This issue features Armoros  (who had a pre-Strapping Young Lad Jed Simon), as well as a lengthy interview with Dark Angel right as “Leave Scars” dropped. Speaking of Dark Angel, there is a review of the classic “Ultimate Revenge 2” show in Philadelphia…poor Raven!!!(among numerous other great live reviews). Also,  interviews with Gargoyle, pre-“Beneath the Remains” Sepultura (where they discuss their 7-album (!) deal with Roadrunner), Voivod!, and the underrated Prime Evil.

I had a chance to catch up with Ed this week, so here is a bit from him, in his own words…also check out the interview with him from Metalcore zine here.

“I started the Book of Armageddon in 1985 with my friend Mark Sokoll. Back then we just began contacting different bands we were into, like Death, Celtic Frost, Bathory and Dark Angel, just for the hell of it. Then, when a bunch of them actually got back to us, we decided to put out the zine. The Book of Armageddon was available around the city, in places like It’s Only Rock and Roll, Bleecker Bob’s, Venus Records, Butterfly, Slipped Disc on Long Island, Generation Records, etc, and I would also send them out of state, to places like Ace’s Records in Tampa and Wild Rags in LA.

I would sell them at shows, like back in the day at L’Amours in Brooklyn. We would show up there at like twelve in the afternoon, hang out all day and meet the bands. We would bring copies of the zine, and hope to sell them fast, because if we had to hold on to them all night they would end up getting ripped up. Nearly all the metal shows at the time would go through L’Amours, but there were a few other places like Studio 54, The Ritz, and Irving Plaza, and even CBGB’s would sometimes do a metal show. But at L’Amours it seemed every week there was a big metal show coming through.

By early 1990, I stopped doing the zine when I began working at Roadrunner Records. That was the best time to work at the label. I knew half of the bands that were getting signed then, like Malevolent Creation, Suffocation, Immolation, Sorrow and Gorguts. Those were excellent times, meeting bands like Pestilence and Sepultura, and getting to work with them too! ” – Ed Farshtey


Metal Forces #27 (UK) 1988

Metal Forces #27 (UK) 1988. Editor: “Bernard Doe”

Okay, so Metal Forces was certainly not a fanzine, yet it still deserves archival status. The importance of the magazine for the development of the global underground and all ‘extreme’ genres can not be understated – they covered many notable bands before any other press did, and were a reliable go-to source for news in the pre-internet era. With that said, I will be featuring scans of Metal Forces semi-regularly alongside the DIY zines. This issue features  a cover story on Australia’s Mortal Sin, interviews with Agnostic Front, Blind Illusion (pre-Primus), a young Testament, Destruction, and Venom. Tons of cool label ads (like the back cover for Manic Ears Recordscheck out their story here), and a year-end poll to give you an idea of where things were headed at the end of 1987. Finally, there is an interesting interview with Martin Ain of Celtic Frost, that discusses among other things touring, the then just-released “Into the Pandemonium,” and Tom Warrior’s ongoing feud with a Metal Force’s writer.