Friday, November 11, 2016

Witchcraft Zine Issues 666 and 777


The metal universe is full of interesting people doing interesting things artistically and with a fervor and gusto that draws curious onlookers in, forever capturing and enrapturing them like a spider catching flies in its web. For myself, underground zines were a big part of my descent into the nooks and crannies. Originally it was Metal Maniacs in the late 90's and early 00's. I remember the first issue of Zero Tolerance being released in 2004. I became fully engrossed in what I found to be a more artful journalistic venture in the British pamphlet. Eventually I ended my subscription around issue 34 or something and went my own way. But those magazines gave me, at the time still young and impressionable, a certain ground to stand on. So today when I pick up a zine I want it to seem more than just some interviews and reviews. I want it to have a certain life to it beyond the regular feature. I want it to add to my understanding of this universe.

A full twenty pages of zine listings like this appear in issue 666. A veritable who's who of zines for metal librarians.

When I was sent issues 7 and 6 of Witchcraft Zine out of Germany several months back, I was met with something beyond the typical. Each booklet was laid out more like an issue of National Geographic than the typical fanzine. Of course contained were some interviews and reviews but editor Stefan also managed to include extremely useful reference material and data that caters to collectors and maniacs that have reached a point beyond simply being "interested." Stefan literally must spend his entire life savings and time on putting these together and they are done so well and are such a useful resource for those like myself who don't particularly care for looking and learning everything through the digital dreamscape which has taken much of the physical and material reward out of the collector side of metal.

A small segment of the The Crypt collector guide in issue 777.

Issue 6, a square booklet in full color and impeccable layout with Motorhead on the cover which, looking at it now, produces surreal vibes - staring into the eyes of two dead warriors will do that - offered a vast amount of space to content ignored by the largest reference sources online - zines! Yes, pages thirteen through thirty-four offer a complete listing of every known heavy metal zine big and small to the author. It's an incredible quantity of information and research. Each country is represented with no one left out; who knew South Africa had two metal fanzines!? And to follow up is a huge collector guide on Nuclear War Now's vast catalogue. Interviews with label owners and bands like Hellbringer and Hatespawn are enjoyable as well. Oh, and it comes with a huge Celtic Frost poster for kicks.

Issue 7, comes packed in a folder containing the ninety-two page zine and two posters. The oddly sized vertical zine will surely reap havoc on anyone who gets annoyed with things not fitting easily onto shelves. The layout also switches from being read upwards to downwards and sidewards numerous times forcing the reader to literally have to be involved in the act of exploring the pages. NWN is once again featured with some updated collector notes. Also featured are a whole new slate of zines not included in issue 6. The Crypt also gets similar page space with a collector dissection of their releases as well. Order From Chaos get interrogated as well as a host of other smaller features on numerous artists.

These zines are really beautiful and experimental in both layout and content. They have a personality and character to themselves. Stefan has done with Witchcraft zine that which could never be done in the mainstream toilet paper; artistically explored areas and depths of the underground with an encyclopedic skill and interest that suits collectors and genre veterans.

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