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If you have zero tolerance for normality and thrive for the sickest and most brutal aspects of life this mini-magazine could be your unholy bible.
Zero Tolerance is a bi-monthly extreme metal and underground music 'zine setup by ex-members of Terrorizer and Metal Hammer publishing staff. Their goal was a simple one - create the most disgusting, intense, brutal and extreme loving magazine as possible!
Since the notable dip in what some readers claimed a loss of true quality, the Terrorizer (the current dominating number one extreme metal 'zine out there) machine became somewhat un-oiled and spawned the birth of a new era. That era is known as the take no trendy crap Zero Tolerance era. With Terrorizer magazine having no direct competition it was just a matter of time before there was some kind of revolt. Extreme music fans demand no more than extreme music and when a magazine 'devoted' to extreme music started to show signs of loosening the reins, some of the brutal offspring got restless, thus was born a place on the magazine shelves for Zero Tolerance. Upon the birth of ZT, it has created a massive rift in the heavy metal publishing industry and due to such movements, the overall quality from both Terrorizer and even the mighty Metal Hammer improved greatly. The formation of Zero Tolerance injected a new fresh energy onto the scene.
So what the hell is found within the pages of Zero Tolerance? This magazine is not all about bad attitudes, elitist views and opinions and scary music contained within its cover-mounted CD, it goes much deeper than that. You'll see all your regular big guns from such heavy metal sub-genres such as death, black, grind, thrash, power, sludge, doom, industrial etc, but you will encounter a more underground feel and a more personal insight on individual music scenes and cultures throughout the world.
In-touch with the underground, Zero Tolerance strive to dig that little bit deeper compared to the likes of Terrorizer, Metal Hammer and the mainstream loving Kerrang! Magazines. The brutal folks over at Zero Tolerance encourage the growth of diverse and unique music scenes such as noise, gore and anything obscure. This mini-mag is almost like your old skool fanzines in the late 90s in terms of attitude and in presentation aspects of no frills design and layouts. What you see is what you get. You don't get a cutting-edge and well presented and designed magazine, but what you do get is cutting-edge and well presented views and opinions of some of the most intense and cruel critics on planet metal.
Zero Tolerance has been going for a couple of years now, and is a UK-based extreme metal magazine set up as a rival to Terrorizer. As well as death/doom/black/power/thrash/sludge/drone/progressive metal and grindcore, the magazine also covers neofolk, noise, power electronics, and ambient amongst other such eclectic genres, and its writers are clearly both passionate about and hugely knowlegable of the music they write about. WHilst ZT no-doubt shares freelance writers with Terrorizer magazine, ZT feels less commercially-oriented somehow, perhaps due to a more honest and worthy editorial style, and its layout (in a5 format) is less glossy and slick than Terrorizer's, combining professionalism with an endearing, fanzine feel.
In addition to the expected news, reviews, and band interviews, all of which are intelligently and engagingly written, the magazine includes regular interviews with the individuals behind independent labels across the magazine's musical spectrum, allowing them to explain the rationale behind their label's ethos and aesthetic. There is also a regular column by Alan Averill, aka the singer from Irish folk-oriented black metal band Primordial, discussing the various political and philosophical themes that arise within the extreme metal genre, and this column is well-written and frequently enlightening. There are also excellent articles each month, such as a recent piece on the importance of blasphemy in challenging recieved wisdom and state doctrine (blasphemy being a central theme that runs through much of extreme metal), with nods throughout the article to comedian Stewart Lee's excellent recent documentary on Blasphemy entitled "Dont Get Me Started".
Finally the mag includes a free cd each month, with the tracks chosen by the magazine's contributors in the order of importance as percieved by them, rather than simply on the grounds of the band's respective commercial clout.
All in all ZT is in intelligent, comprehensive and professionally-written music mag and by far the best extreme metal mag out there, and is competitively priced too with a £3.80 price tag at the time of writing. The only downside is that it is bi-monthly as opposed to monthly, but given that Terrorizer's monthly editions have been feeling increasingly lightweight of late and struggle to justify their asking price each month, this is no big deal. Well worth picking up.