RIP: Metal Edge & Metal Maniacs Magazine (2/3/2009)


They say that all good things must come to an end and I guess that the statement is true because it was just about ten days ago when an email had been sent out by our good friend Liz Ciaravella about the discontinuation of both Metal Edge and Metal Maniacs magazines by their publishers over at Zenbu Media. Having been out all that day I missed the actual message and found out this news while attending a rousing performance by The Answer over at Mercury Lounge later that evening. “Did you hear about Metal Maniacs and Metal Edge???” everyone said; and for those who had not yet heard the news their expression was one of shock and dismay. After digesting this news from the other members of the media I frequently see and break bread with I decided to compose some thoughts about the whole thing but instead of jumping into the fray like some of my fellow websites and blog enterprises I opted to wait and see what came in the immediate days following.

Fast forward to now, and yes it is clearly the truth and quite literally the book was being closed in terms of the apparent future of these two esteemed Heavy Metal magazines that for so many years were cited as being leaders of the pack. While this news does suck for many it does make a lot of sense when one analyzes the way things are moving forward in terms of available technology and how different the consumer acts as opposed to the way they functioned during each of these magazines earlier years. The times are far different today than the way my peers and I satisfied our Metal needs in terms of magazines that is.

Cover - Metal Edge Magazine

What I mean by this is based on what I observe in the behavior of the buying masses who either pick up their copy at a music shop or even by subscription. Although I fear I am dating myself by saying this, the people who hunt down a particular magazine don’t seem to have the same patterns as I used to when I sought out the latest Metal mag to see what they were saying about Judas Priest, KISS, Van Halen or Rush. Back in the day for me, if I went to one store and they sold out, they were not going to get anymore copies and while that aspect has not changed, the response to this has. If I found this being the case I would begin trekking elsewhere to find what I wanted. I “needed” that article or photos that I had heard about or seen in another friends basement hangout. Together we’d all wander the other regional candy stores seeking the prize and I even remember sometimes after finding no success after four or five stores would make the trek out to the city to specialty shops like the long shuttered “It’s Only Rock & Roll”. Today’s Metal consumer is more likely to give up the quest and instead seek out the same information online or move onto the next thing that satisfies their interests instead. This is the price of our living in an instantly gratifying realm where so much is at the tip of our fingers and information can be found within seconds. Thank the Social Networking realm for that because at the time of this writing resources like Facebook are slowly surpassing that of the once giant MySpace and while I am still unsure of what it does, there is something called Twitter that I am getting invites to join. Let’s add all of these things onto blogs and other live journal things. Whew, it’s rather daunting.

Cover - Metal Maniacs Magazine

I’m not going to start speaking like my fellow IT professionals who have been screaming that print is the dead medium for some time, but I do have to agree that it has been kicked down the stairs a couple of times by the advances in technology stuff. As the founder of my own website I guess I should be happy to see print magazines go the way of the dodo bird but in all honesty I am not. I think it still serves some purpose. On a personal level I had the pleasure of being a part of both of these find magazines for a couple of years and I felt that I learned some cool things about how to approach my own writing and photography a little better. For those new to or our Blogs, there is a chance that you don’t know that around 2006-2007 I was one of the many freelance writing contributors to Metal Edge under Editor Katherine Santiago. It was both interesting and different, and since I had my own irons in a lot of Metal fires, I was able to often pitch things that might have otherwise gone overlooked had I not bended their ear on them and explained why I felt they were so vital to “today’s Metal scene”. When I look back on my issues I think that I ended up being assigned a lot more Nuclear Blast Records and Napalm Records product than any of the other writers and that was fine by me since I loved it all so very much. I had to say that it was so much different doing these succinct and get to the point super quick types of reviews as opposed to my lengthier ones that I do on the website, but again this is all learning. Eventually Katherine moved on and by that time I had not been writing for them anymore. All in all I did something like 150 reviews for the “Hear Us Out” and “CD Reviews” sections and a handful of interviews. When Editor In Chief Phil Freeman came on boards, the magazines ownership had changed hands from Dorchester Media to Zenbu Media and he would not need my writing assistance. Instead I was able to submit photography work which I was enjoying as a change. Let’s face it, I already had enough writing to do over on so I was cool with that.

Insofar as Metal Maniacs was concerned I never actually ever wrote for them at all, but did submit a lot of photos for them under the command of Editress In Chief Liz Ciaravella. I always felt that Liz was a star in the Metal universe and was honored to be one of the people she used for her pages and while there were a few cool instances for my work in the magazine, I liked being able to offer up the Venom and Unleashed images the most. We saw a lot of really heavy shows and this was what the magazine focused on while its counterpart was addressing more of the “core” sound and things along those lines. Thanks to this magazine a ton of the darker and blacker bands were put on my radar. After working with her and husband Dave at the Earsplit PR Compound for a number of things they wanted me to write about, I am happy and proud to call them friends in industry. I think that even after I eventually decide that I have said my peace about Metal in the public eye that we will remain in touch. It’s a shame that Zenbu Media found it necessary to shut down the magazines without even a farewell issue, but I guess that was a business decision that showed there was really no ending and would leave hope in some peoples hearts about a return. This also lets someone else pick up the ball and run with it like nothing ever happened. Of course the folks that lost jobs as result of this and all their friends know full well how things did indeed change.

In the end there are probably more drastic changes a coming but doesn’t that other old saying exclaim “the only constant is change”? I guess its best to learn to work with them all and see how our interests come out. I thank those who gave me the opportunity to work with these magazines and while our work together for these enterprises has officially ended I am sure that many of these paths will cross and find folks working together again. Thanks to those who might have enjoyed my take on things in the fashion I had done it for the magazine. Don’t get me wrong, my opinions were the same as how you find them on the website but only in a much shorter fashion. The main difference of being a writer for print against web is that the latter allows you to be a little more verbose. The downside is that many of us take too much advantage of this and yes, I mean even me sometimes.

Thanks again to Metal Edge and Metal Maniacs for entertaining so many people for so many years. I shall miss seeing you on the newsstands and in the mail. I shall miss perusing your pages to see what I might need to be addressing over on my website and how you sometimes helped me see newer bands a little clearer than I might have without the assist. Sorry if I went slightly off the topic other than venting the injustice, but these words were the ones that came to my mind. To all involved we wish you the very best in your own next adventures.

So what do you think the actual future of the music business and mediums like print or even online now have in store for them. I welcome topical comments to this narrative so let me hear you.

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