“Everything louder than everything else”: the contemporary metal music magazine and its cultural appeal

Brown, A.R (2005) “Everything louder than everything else”: the contemporary metal music magazine and its cultural appeal. In: Mapping the Magazine: A Cross-Disciplinary Symposium on Magazine Studies, 15 - 16 September 2005, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.

Abstract

Within contemporary metal culture the apparently ludicrous request ‘can we have everything louder than everything else?’ has come to acquire something of touchstone status, in epitomising the desire to find a way of increasing the volume of individual elements within the limitations of overall volume excess. Metal music culture, both in the past and in its current variants, has always prided itself on being the loudest and most intense-sounding of all genres. As Kerrang’s strapline, featured on its weekly magazine and MTV channel trail, announces: ‘Life is Loud’ or it should be if you are living the lifestyle right! Kerrang! is now the biggest-selling weekly music title, having overtaken the NME in early 2002. Most commentators attribute this to its championing of the Nu-metal phenomenon and downplaying its origins in the ‘hammy excesses of old-school heavy-metal culture’ (Plunkett 2002). While Kerrang! has a weekly circulation of over 76, 000, metal-oriented UK readers are also served by the monthly Metal Hammer, which has an estimated 36, 000 circulation. Bringing up the rear is the self-styled ‘Extreme Music – No Boundaries’ publication, Terrorizer, which has recently expanded production to 12 issues, per year. The gender ratio of readership, from Kerrang to Terrorizer, is approximately: 50:50; 60:40 and 70:30. The entry age range for Kerrang is around 14 but the age spread increases across the titles. What this paper seeks to do is map contemporary metal magazine culture in the UK. It does so against current contradictory critical and academic debates about music culture and magazine culture, involving the apparent decline of ‘critical rock journalism’ and the rise of consumer-oriented lifestyle magazines. Drawing on recent debates about the ‘circuit of magazine culture’ and a return to a closer examination of the content and features of the ‘magazine’ itself (as well as its audience) I report on my current research into this neglected area of current youth consumption.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: School of Creative Industries
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 14:27
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2020 14:27
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