Comics Creators

The Metal Music Thread (Team Rock published magazines saved)

I’ve seen a number of people here who seem to dig metal music, so hopefully we can get a lively convo going on this topic.

You may or may not know I am the main media reviewer at In the past, I’ve written for Metal Manaics, AMP, New Noise, Hails & Horns, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Heavy Metal, Fangoria Musick, Noisecreep, Unrestrained, Caustic Truths, Pit, Rough Edge, Pitriff, The Big and other venues. I’ve been doing it since 2003 and I’ve written more than 2,000 reviews and interviewed around 300 musicians, mostly in metal and punk with some in other genres. I’ve also done a ton of live photography.

Relative to this thread, some of my guests have included Ronnie James Dio, Rob Zombie, Lemmy, Rob Halford, KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, Nicko McBrain, Marky Ramone, Ace Frehley, Bruce Kulick, Alice Cooper, David Coverdale, Lita Ford, Ivan Moody, Tom Araya, Dave Lombardo, Glenn Danzig, 3/5 of Anthrax, Testament, Metal Church, Venom, Celtic Frost, Voivod, Kevin Dubrow, Anton Fig, Cradle of Filth, Atreyu, Maria Brink, Bullet for My Valentine, Lamb of God, Filter, Papa Roach, Drowning Pool, Trivium, Cannibal Corpse, Otep, Lee Aaron, Doro Pesch, Geoff Tate, Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urugus of Gwar), All That Remains, Enslaved, In Flames, Sevendust, Ill Nino and so on…I’ll stop my wankfest here.

It’s been a wonderful life but also one where I’ve accomplished just about everything I could want from the industry, thus I’ve turned my efforts toward breaking into comics, which I’ve loved since 1978.

I put up this post at Facebook today as I’ve just learned about the inevitable dissolution of Team Rock, which should be familiar to many of you in the UK and surrounding turf:

“Having been the victim of downsizing in my dual professional lives including music journalism, I want to offer my colleagues affiliated with the bankruptcy-stricken Team Rock (publishers of Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Prog, and Blues mags, and also the Golden Gods Awards and the Classic Rock Awards) my heartfelt empathy. I’ve been there, having lost a slew of magazine writing gigs in a fell swoop due to the digital era kill-off. It’s a butt ugly place to be, I know the feeling better than most. My prayers you all find strength and new venues.”

At one point, I was writing for seven magazines and a handful of sites simultaneously, which included two monthly columns. I even produced my own digital magazine for a single issue, “Retaliate.” My one-time blog, “The Metal Minute” was awarded “Best Personal Blog” by Metal Hammer magazine in 2009. The climate for journalism has changed drastically over the years due to the changes toward digital production. It’s made me disgruntled at times and as I lost veritably all of the print magazine gigs at the same time, seeing this news hurts. I feel for everyone being displaced, considering the elite writers affiliated with those venues.

So there’s something to get started with, lol… Otherwise, let’s yak about some metal, eh?


The decline of print media is unfortunate, but I’m part of the problem as I’m not a consumer of it. My good friend (stood in my wedding) has done a lot of photo work for some of the magazines you’ve mentioned, specifically AMP. His name is Adam Elmakias, and he’s done a lot of covers, which has been solid income for him. I’m sure he’ll notice the decline.

Also, I love metal.


That’s the first I’d heard of Team Rock’s bankruptcy. That’s really sad news :anguished: . But I’m now glad I didn’t take up the cheap subscription deal they’ve been aggressively pushing at me recently (I wonder if they knew it was going to happen?)

That’s a really impressive CV, by the way.


May I interest you fine folks in the Good News of two little-known subgenres:
Pirate Metal:

Mongolian Folk Metal:

Also Blind Guardian is one of my favorite bands. This song is my favorite (right now):

(even though it sounds like they ripped off John Williams for a second at the begining)


Crague, the syndrome, and it’s not necessarily yourself or any one person at-large, is a mass transition from print reading to digital reading. Photography such as Adam’s help sell the magazines, and I’ve done a ton of live photography to supplement my articles. Used to be we bought rock and metal mags to read the articles, learn about bands before there was any sort of internet and easy, immediate access to information. In my day coming up in the 80s, it was 'zines, the big rags like Metal Hammer, Hit Parader, Circus, Rip, etc., word-of-mouth, cassette trading, MTV and Night Flight to learn about bands. We had pen pals and I had many in the UK, Ireland, France, Canada and the States.

All of it took FOREVER to pass communication and music among each other, but the crazy part is, it was so much fun, waiting. Those magazines would eventually be cut up for the concert pics and definitely in my case, I tacked those shots all over my bedroom walls. Like vinyl LPs, there was a tangibility to hard copy magazines, thus a deeper connection to the products, the bands and the music.

Today, it’s quite soulless. I can tell you as a music journalist, I used to get around 30-40 packages a week with CDs and DVDs, sometimes vinyl. Nowadays, that’s reduced to about 5 a week and the rest all digital downloads. This means I get pitched up to 200 albums a week and the labels have a more cost effectiveness in dishing out the products for review. It’s the blogs and trade websites (Blabbermouth being one of them) that have dictated this trend, so naturally today’s readers and consumers of music are going to follow suit. The rest is a trickle down effect.


David, yeah, I can tell you that the hard copy mags are in deep doo doo…the subscriptions being offered are desperation moves. Advertising is what keeps them afloat and it’s the difference as a writer in whether you’re getting paid or not. I did a ton of free work coming up so I could build my rep, but nowadays, free is expected since it’s so digital-driven and there are so many start-ups and bloggers out there who can’t afford to pay for quality professionals. I’ve done a ton of solids for people, I’ve paid my dues, I’ve helped out friends with on-the-house pieces, but at the end of the day, I have a family to provide for, so Blabbermouth is my main hub.

It’s a very, very sad thing about this. Metal Hammer gave my blog “The Metal Minute” an award in 2009 and I was so grateful for their recognition. Moreover, I think of veterans like Malcolm Dome, the Master Jedi of our genre, who will be out of work, at least in this capacity. Dome is such a great of the business he’s solicited frequently to write liner notes, so I’m not as worried about his future prospects.

Still, it’s back to ads and when most of the labels are jacked-up broke themselves, they’re not feeding the magazines the overhead needed to print and pay their staff. It’s enough trying to sell advertising on websites since there’s limited space on a page before it gets obnoxious or eats up too much gig trying to load all at once.

Thank you for the nice words. I’ve had incredible experiences and I’ll continue to stay at Blabbermouth since it keeps my credentials in place and the industry reps treat me as an A-lister. Still, I’ve been disheartened by the collapse of this style of journalism and my heart calls me toward comics now. That, and a music-themed project I have cooking.


If you like Alestorm, of course you would be into the originators of pirate metal, Running Wild? How about Korpiklaani? I love those guys, rampant folk party metal…I had a fun chat when them when they were just coming up and we got into a wild thread about beer.

Blind Guardian is one of the greatest power metal bands of all-time. Hammerfall, Primal Fear, Epica and Stratovarius frequently get more hype, but BG are incredible.

10 “likes” for this statement :slight_smile:

Honestly, I think people who grew up in the digital age can’t possibly understand this fact. Instant information at your fingertips is amazing, but it’s not as much fun as spending a month speculating about what’s going to come, then the anticipation of cracking open a paper journal to devour the scant bits of news within.

And yes, the lack of immediate information could be frustrating. But in part the immediate-information age makes us feel the lack more keenly, and in “the old days” we wouldn’t have got so worked up about it. A favourite band of mine recently lost a member, and every day – no, every 15 minutes – on their facebook page somebody is asking, “Why isn’t there any news of a replacement?”. Geez. In the 80s, we wouldn’t have even known he’d quit yet, let alone had the in-depth interview with the band explaining what’s going on. And the interview, when it came, would have satisfied us far more than constant tweets and soundbites about it.

Sorry, I’m going off topic a bit :slight_smile:

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Comic writer Antony Johnston has a podcast we he and a guy called Brian LeTendre pick a metal album and talk about it.
They start off with the big 4 and then go all over the metal world.
It’s a great listen and put me onto a bunch of albums I never would have heard otherwise.
Thrash it Out

I love those kinds of convos that start with Megadeth then veer toward Atrophy, Death Angel, Dark Angel, Morbid Angel, Celtic Frost, Vio-lence, Rigor Mortis and then on to Destruction, Sodom, Kreator, then to Znowhite, Cryptic Slaughter and then crossover bands DRI, Suicidal Tendencies and Broken Bones, finished by a hearty “FUCKING SLAYERRRRRR!”

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It’s a good point you make about this instant gratification society we’ve become. Bands seldom have the privacy to mourn before the internet public’s already volunteering out-of-work guitarists as potential replacements or even themselves.

The mystique of rock and metal is long gone, which is why we loved it so much back in the day. You had to BE THERE to know how insane a Gwar show was, ditto for Venom, Lizzy Borden or Slayer. The legends behind the shows were as mystifying as waiting for more news to come either by the mags, the 'zines or by letter or phone (land line, of course). The anticipation of those pen pal letters was so much fun, ditto for the batch of cassettes we’d all send to one another overseas.

I think of that EVERY SINGLE TIME I hit a download album to my review queue, the ease of it all, and it makes music in this format highly disposable. You like it, you load it into your iPod. Me, I like it, I burn it because I’m afraid of losing it. I’m very old school like this. But today’s audiences can simply delete music they’ve downloaded like it’s an orange rind after eating it. Where’s the satisfaction of stomping a horrible album like Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” to pieces in this society? Fart on that. These people today don’t know how to live. :sunglasses:


For the attention of the Millarworld mods: I swear rayvanhornjr is not me under a new identity :smiley:


LMAO, I confirm this, though I’m happy to meet you, David and I’m comforted we’re of like minds!


I take it you’ve met most of M.O.D. and S.O.D. as well lol

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Here’s a test, ray - what’s your favourite deep purple album? If any.


LOL, funny enough, yes. The missing link is Benante, but I’ve had as my guests: Scott, Frank and Joey (Joey a number of times including his solo work and then back in Anthrax), then Billy Milano twice and Danny Lilker to promote Nuclear Assault. All in the family, as it were. Nobody else from the various M.O.D. incarnations, though. Billy’s a freakin’ riot. Frank is probably the most energetic.


Well, it depends on what Mark you want me to go for, but all-around favorite DP album is “In Rock.” Freaking amazing how that album is still heavier than half the bands today. Of the MKIII and MKIV periods, “Burn.” Soooooooo underrated…I like “Stormbringer” a lot and “Come Taste the Band” is another underrated slab.

One of my biggest treats was interviewing David Coverdale and he obliged me half of our slot to his Deep Purple action though we were working on promoting new Whitesnake material. He is SUCH a gentleman. I also interviewed Glenn Hughes and I have mad respect for that guy as well. The harmonizing of Hughes and Coverdale should be re-examined by that period’s detractors, not that I would ever shit on Gillan…the man’s a legend for a reason and once he sets into the congas in the middle of a jam on “Mandrake Root,” look the hell out.


Hope I passed the test. :wink: I love Deep Purple. One of the few bands who jam for freaking ever and I never grow tired of it. How about you, man? What’s your favorite Purple album, ditto for everyone else?

Made in Japan.

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Definitely up there for me. One of the best live albums ever.