This week the sad news came out that TeamRock had gone into administration and in doing so was taking down Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog Magazine. 73 people lost their jobs just a week before Christmas, and the rock and metal community lost the only mainstream magazines that still truly catered to that demographic. Basically, it was a colossal fuck up.
Which I’m not going to talk about. I don’t know diddly squat about what goes on behind the doors at TeamRock and what paths were taken to lead to this moment. However, I will point you in the direction of That’s Not Metal and in particular their special, available for the cost of a membership, Hill Meets Beez.
Instead, I wanted to pay my own little tribute to Metal Hammer. A magazine that I either had a subscription for or bought religiously for many years. The original Metal Hammer Podcast, which lives on to a certain extent in That’s Not Metal, played a huge part in shaping my musical taste. It was their witterings which pushed me in the direction of hardcore and punk, a decision that I have never once regretted.
A fact that shouldn’t dismiss the impact of the mag itself. When I finally clicked that Kerrang was no longer for me, it was Metal Hammer that introduced me to a world of music I just didn’t know existed. It allowed me to scratch below the surface of Metallica and Maiden and discover bands like Fear Factory and Mastodon. A trend that continued up to recent years where it was through Hammer that I was first put onto The Satanist and the unholy noise that album makes.
And sure, I haven’t always agreed with their direction. Recent times saw them, in my opinion, follow the wrong bands. They paid too much reverence to the past and kept far too safe for my taste. However, I never stopped keeping an eye on what they were doing and with the promotion of Merlin Alderslade to editor (one of the guys from the Metal Hammer Podcast) I had my hopes that Hammer was about to become relevant again.
Yet, for reasons that had nothing to do with the editorial team or the writers behind the mag it is now no more. Hopefully, someone steps in and buys the brand but TeamRocks mistakes have made that investment even riskier than it already was. The mainstream doesn’t understand things like Metal Hammer, and it’s the mainstream that tends to have the money.
If there is any good to come out this, however, it is what has happened since. In a wave of solidarity that reminds me exactly why I love this scene, a JustGiving has been set up to support the writers and staff who have lost their jobs and has already smashed its target. If you have a spare few quid this Christmas time, I suggest you support it. Metal Hammer supported the things we love, and it’s now time for us to support them.