No one needs reminding that 2020 was a bizzare and bad year, but in the gloom, some might need reminding that it wasn’t bad for good releases, as despite everything there were some stunning ones… Brace yourselves as our writers chart their Top 20s of the year that was two thousand and twenty…
Writers are listed alphabetically by LAST NAME Top 20 list format: RELEASE TITLE | BAND NAME | LABEL
Alan needs no introduction, but for the sake of being consistent, and in case you don’t know, he is the frontman of various bands, the best known of which is Ireland’s Primordial, which he fronts under his ‘Nemtheanga’ moniker. Alan’s no stranger to the written word – not only is he trained in journalism, he’s been contributing to ZT for many years, first with his own column and now with his regular Call From The Grave retrospective feature for the Inside Information section, a satisfying read that never fails to spur readers to dig out something old for a re-listen, or maybe check something out for the first time. More recently Alan’s also been keeping busy with his Agitators Anonymous podcast – you can check out Episode 45 on our homepage…
1 | UINUOS SYOMEIN SOTA | HAVUKRUUNU | NATURMACHT 2 | III: PENTECOST | WYTCH HAZEL | BAD OMEN 3 | 3AHENAH | SVRM | VIGOR DECONSTRUCT 4 | THE LONE FURROW | ROME | TRISOL 5 | STRIKE.SMOTHER.DEHUMANIZE | REVENGE | SEASON OF MIST 6 | THE FIERY BLOOD EP | DEUS MORTEM | MALIGNANT VOICES 7 | THE WOMB OF ZERO | BYTHOS | TERRATUR POSSESSIONS 8 | TO THE SHORES OF SUNRISE | SICKLE OF DUST | SELF-RELEASE 9 | KINDRED | HEXVESSEL | SVART 10 | EMPTY | NILS FRAHM | ERASED TAPES 11 | TRUE BEARINGS | FREEWAYS | TEMPLE OF MYSTERY 12 | MOHNGANG | HORN | IRON BONEHEAD 13 | SECT OF VILE DIVINITIES | INCANTATION | RELAPSE 14 | THE GHOST OF ORION | MY DYING BRIDE | NUCLEAR BLAST 15 | THE RAVENING | ETERNAL CHAMPION | NO REMORSE 16 | OFTE JEG DROMMER MIG DOD | AFSKY | VENDETTA 17 | MESTARIN KYNSI | ORANSSI PAZUZU | NUCLEAR BLAST 18 | THE RECKONING DAWN | WINTERFYLLETH | CANDLELIGHT 19 | FOREVER BLACK | CIRITH UNGOL | METAL BLADE 20 | DEGEN VAN LICHT | TURIA | EISENWALD
Olivier ‘Zoltar’ Badin
Our French metal brother Zoltar – who joined us a couple of years back – is by definition a journalistic whirlwind – and that’s not a flippant comment… When we’re ready to collapse after a deadline, he’s already started thinking about and pitching ideas for the next one (or ten issues!). This extremely experienced writer flies the death metal flag high and wide – and we mean proper death metal, not your Rings Of Saturn types – and alongside his other contributions, curates the Altars Of Madness section and the Platters Of Splatter review column making sure extreme underground death metal maintains a regular (unhealthy) heartbeat across our pages.
1 | REFRACTIONS | LOWRIDER | BLUES FUNERAL 2 | THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEATISM | NAPALM DEATH | CENTURY MEDIA 3 | ENTOMBMENT OF CHAOS | SKELETAL REMAINS | CENTURY MEDIA 4 | SPLIT | EXHUMED/GRUESOME | RELAPSE 5 | MISANTHROPIC BREED | LIK | METAL BLADE 6 | MESTARIN KYNSI | ORANSSI PAZUZU | NUCLEAR BLAST 7 | SURRENDER | DEAD LORD | CENTURY MEDIA 8 | IM WALD | PAYSAGE D’HIVER | KUNTSHALL 9 | THE SANGUINARY IMPETUS | DEFEATED SANITY | WILLOWTIP 10 | RAVENING IRON | ETERNAL CHAMPION | NO REMORSE 11 | THE SHADOW AT THE WORLD’S END | REVOLTING | TRANSCENDING OBSCURITY 12 | LIVE AT GIANT ROCK | YAWNING MAN | HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS 13 | ISOLATION | SONS OF OTIS | TOTEM CAT 14 | THE ETERNAL RESONANCE | SWEVEN | VÀN 15 | ASCENSION | REGARDE LES HOMES TOMBER | SEASON OF MIST 16 | DROWNING IN CIRCLES | VENOMOUS SKELETON | EVERLASTING SPEW 17 | FOREVER BLACK | CIRITH UNGOL | METAL BLADE 18 | V | HAVOK | CENTURY MEDIA 19 | NEGATIVE EVOCATION RITES | THE FUNERAL ORCHESTRA | NUCLEAR WAR NOW! 20 | DAWN OF THE DAMNED | NECROPHOBIC | CENTURY MEDIA
Geoff has earned his veteran stripes as a longterm contributor to ZT, initially lending us his thoughts in between writing his own ‘zine and working in a record shop to boot. Geoff continues to have a guiding hand in curating the magazine’s regular experimental Dark Entries section and is as comfortable in his musical skin as he is in patterned knitwear.
1 | A SUITE FOR MAX BROWN | JEFF PARKER & THE NEW BREED | INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM 2 | NAUJAWANAN BAIDAR | NAUJAWANAN BAIDAR | CARDINAL FUZZ 3 | ALISON COTTON | ONLY DARKNESS NOW | BLOXHAM TAPES 4 | DUMA | DUMA | NYEGE NYEGE TAPES 5 | PAYSAGE D’HIVER | IM WALD | KUNSTHALL 6 | JULIAN COPE | SELF CIVIL WAR | HEAD HERITAGE 7 | JULIANNA BARWICK | HEALING IS A MIRACLE | NINJA TUNE 8 | SARAH DAVACHI | CANTUS, DESCANT | LATE MUSIC 9 | ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF | ALL THOUGHTS FLY | SELF-RELEASE 10 | SHIRLEY COLLINS | HEART’S EASE | DOMINO 11 | SILVIA TAROZZI | MI SPECCHIO E RIFLETTO | UNSEEN WORLDS 12 | CLIPPING | VISIONS OF BODIES BEING BURNED | SUB POP 13 | MAGICK BROTHER MAGICK SISTER | MAGICK BROTHER MAGICK SISTER | BYG ISSUES 14 | THE SOFT PINK TRUTH | SHALL WE GO ON SINNING SO THAT GRACE MAY INCREASE? | THRILL JOCKEY 15 | NADINE SHAH | KITCHEN SINK | INFECTIOUS 16 | ASHER GAMEDZE | DIALECTIC SOUL | ON THE CORNER 17 | AHRKH | BEAMS FROM A SPIRITUAL PANORAMA | GOLDEN RATIO FREQUENCIES 18 | HEN OGLEDD | FREE HUMANS | WEIRD WORLD 19 | FORNDOM | FAÞIR | NORDVIS 20 | SONS OF A WANTED MAN | KENOMA | LADLO
Paul has been involved right from the very start – and even before then, when the idea of launching a new magazine was in its embryonic stages. A close ally during his Arcane Promotions days, Paul (alongside his Arcane partner-in-grime Felicity Hicks) was responsible for some of the best UK underground metal gigs and the ever-memorable and sorely missed yearly London Deathfest. ZT would be a poorer place without his involvement – and that’s meant literally as alongside his editorial contributions, Paul works at the heart of the magazine’s ‘commercial side’, helping bands and labels make the most out of the magazine’s promotional attributes…. Talk to him if you want to be included on the ZT covermount CD!
1 | FAÞIR | FORNDOM | NORDVIS 2 | BLACK HOUSE | SECRETS OF THE MOON | LUPUS LOUNGE 3 | KUOLEMAN KIRJO | HORNA | WTC 4 | DJINN | UADA | EISENWALD 5 | DAWN OF THE DAMNED | NECROPHOBIC | CENTURY MEDIA 6 | STARE INTO DEATH AND BE STILL | ULCERATE | DEBEMUR MORTI 7 | APPALACHIA | OSI AND THE JUPITER | EISENWALD 8 | ARMORED SAINT | PUNCHING THE SKY | METAL BLADE 9 | MAGNUS VENATOR | KATAVASIA | FLOGA 10 | THE TRUTH BEHIND THE LIES | SOLITARY | METALVILLE 11 | WORLD SERPENT | FORTÍÐ | PROPHECY 12 | MISANTHROPIC BREED | LIK | METAL BLADE 13 | DESONTSTIJGING | DRUON ANTIGON | ONISM 14 | THE SUNS OF PERDITION II – RENDER UNTO EDEN | PANZERFAUST | EISENWALD 15 | NO PLACE TO HIDE | STENCH OF PROFIT | LETHAL SCISSOR 16 | PRED DVERIMA NOCI | BRÒN | NORDVIS 17 | ACCURSED POSSESSION | CULTUS PROFANO | DEBEMUR MORTI 18 | AETHER | THE MOON AND THE NIGHTSPIRIT | PROPHECY 19 | THE STARS BELOW, THE SEAS ABOVE | KRAKEN DVVMVIRATE | SILENT FUTURE 20 | THE SHADOW AT THE WORLD’S END | REVOLTING | TRANSCENDING OBSCURITY
Paul is one of the most dedicated and prolific gig-goers we have ever had the pleasure of encountering (he even rivals Chris Kee here!) – so you can imagine how keen he is to see things ‘get back to normal’ as soon as possible… Paul’s pretty much unrivalled in the puns and anecdotes department, and his writing makes us crack a lot of smiles when we’re getting an issue ready to print; we’re sure it does the same when you read it – his love of metal washes over everything he writesand he moves mountains to make time for itand the many bands that he meets along the way.
1 | ENDARKENMENT | ANAAL NATHRAKH | METAL BLADE 2 | MAY OUR CHAMBERS BE FULL | EMMA RUTH RUNDLE & THOU | SACRED BONES 3 | ALPHAVILLE | IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT | CENTURY MEDIA 4 | FLOWERS OF EVIL | ULVER | HOUSE OF MYTHOLOGY 5 | THE GHOST OF ORION | MY DYING BRIDE | NUCLEAR BLAST 6 | FORGOTTEN DAYS | PALLBEARER | NUCLEAR BLAST 7 | THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEATISM | NAPALM DEATH | CENTURY MEDIA 8 | NEGOTIUM CRUCIS | THE INFERNAL SEA | APOCALYPTIC WITCHCRAFT 9 | TITANS OF CREATION | TESTAMENT | NUCLEAR BLAST 10 | LIVE AT ROADBURN (2019) | TRIPTYKON | CENTURY MEDIA 11 | OBSIDIAN | PARADISE LOST | NUCLEAR BLAST 12 | WHERE THE WORD ACQUIRES ETERNITY | KHORS | ASHEN DOMINION 13 | THE TRUTH BEHIND THE LIES | SOLITARY | METALVILLE 14 | DIRGES | AND NOW THE OWLS ARE SMILING | CLOBBER 15 | UTGARD | ENSLAVED | NUCLEAR BLAST 16 | DAWN OF THE DAMNED | NECROPHOBIC | CENTURY MEDIA 17 | DAMNUM PER SAECULORUM | MY SILENT WAKE | OPA LOKA 18 | UNCONQUERED | KATAKLSYM | NUCLEAR BLAST 19 | OMENS | ELDER | ARMAGGEDON 20 | THE RECKONING DAWN | WINTERFYLLETH | CANDLELIGHT
This fine gentleman is our newest regular print contributor – and we think he’s settled in rather well having joined us with lots of experience under his belt. Unafraid of tackling both well and untrodden territory, Tom’s 2020 Top 20 will help you familiarise yourself with his eclecticism, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he’ll bring to the table as we climb towards issue…. errrrrrrr, 200?
1 | COMPELLED TO REPEAT | BEGGAR | APF 2 | SEMINAR IX: DARKNESS OF BEING | OLD MAN GLOOM | PROFOUND LORE 3 | HABITS | ELEPHANT TREE | HOLY ROAR 4 | WHEN I DIE, WILL I GET BETTER | SVALBARD | CHURCH ROAD 5 | ENDLESS TWILIGHT OF CODEPENDENT LOVE | SOLSTAFIR | SEASON OF MIST 6 | MAY OUR CHAMBERS BE FULL | THOU & EMMA RUTH RUNDLE | SACRED BONES 7 | BLACK WIDOW NEBULA | CAELESTRA | SELF-RELEASED 8 | GLOW | COUNTLESS SKIES | WILLOWTIP 9 | THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEAT | NAPALM DEATH | CENTURY MEDIA 10 | OMENS | ELDER | ARMAGEDDON 11 | CLOSE | OHHMS | HOLY ROAR 12 | PRIMEVAL | VENOM PRISON | PROSTHETIC 13 | ORIGIN OF THE ALIMONIES | LITURGY | YLYLCYN 14 | OMENS | DESERT STORM | APF 15 | OBSIDIAN | PARADISE LOST | NUCLEAR BLAST 16 | I DISAGREE | POPPY | SUMERIAN 17 | ULTRA MONO | IDLES | PTKF 18 | FORGOTTEN SKIES | PALLBEARER | NUCLEAR BLAST 19 | OMS | DEFTONES | REPRISE 20 | I LET IT IN AND IT TOOK EVERYTHING | LOATHE | SHARPTONE
Alex has been dipping in and out with contributions since issue #016. Alex oft surprises with his mix of tastes – pitching artists you’d not necessarily have married to him if he hadn’t stuck his hand up… He’s a puzzle we’re yet to fully work out, and that’s what makes him so interesting to have on side at ZT; that along with his deft writing style that flows with the sort of natural ease we all strive for.
1 |MESTARIN KYNSI | ORANSSI PAZUZU | NUCLEAR BLAST 2 |ALPHAVILLE | IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT | CENTURY MEDIA 3 | VISITATIONS FROM ENCELADUS | CRYPTIC SHIFT | BLOOD HARVEST 4 | MEN AND THEIR WORK | ALL HITS | IRON LUNG 5 | SHAME | UNIFORM | SACRED BONES 6 | ABSCESS TIME | PYRRHON | WILLOWTIP 7 | WORLD HOUSE | MIL-SPEC | LOCKIN’ OUT 8 |LET IT ALL IN | ARBOURETUM | THRILL JOCKEY 9 | ALDRIG I LIVET | UNDERGANG | ME SACO UN OJO 10 | ON FIRE | TRUTH CULT | POP WIG 11 | ENDLESS WOUND | BLACK CURSE | SEPULCHURAL VOICE 12 | IGNORANCE EXULTED | FLUIDS | MAGGOT STOMP 13 | STARE INTO DEATH AND BE STILL | ULCERATE | DEBEMUR MORTI 14 | HYPNAGOGIC HALLUCINATIONS | BEDSORE | 20 BUCK SPIN 15 | DANCES/CURSES | HEY COLOSSUS | WRONG SPEED 16 | STIFF RICHARDS | STATE OF MIND | LEGLESS 17 | BEYOND DARKNESS | GODEN | SVART 18 | FOREVER BLACK | CIRITH UNGOL | METAL BLADE 19 | BEYOND THE FLOOR | GELD | STATIC SHOCK / IRON LUNG 20 | LOSS LEADER | SONGS ABOUT | STRICTLY NO CAPITAL LETTERS
Chris ‘Frenchie’ French
Chris – or ‘Frenchie’ as he’s better known – is another of our more recent recruits and a true champion of the underground – I mean look down below, even the number one spot in his Top 20 list is occupied by a self-released artist. Frenchie is also another of our prolific gig-goers, so like Paul Castles and Chris Kee, he’s keen to get back to where he feels most comfortable: cheek by jowl in a sweaty pit in a dingy venue…
1 | ORIGIN OF THE ALIMONIES | LITURGY | SELF-RELEASE 2 | EONS | NEPTUNIAN MAXIMALISM | I, VOIDHANGER 3 | MESTARIN KYNSI | ORANSSI PAZUZU | NUCLEAR BLAST 4 | BOABY COULL | A SEA OF DEAD TREES | TREPANATION 5 | ALL THOUGHTS FLY | ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF | SOUTHERN LORD 6 | THE CALIGULA DEMOS | LINGUA IGNOTA | SELF-RELEASE 7 | THE GREAT DISMAL | NOTHING | RELAPSE 8 | TODA HISTORIA PELA FRENTE | KAATAYRA | SELF-RELEASE 9 | ENDLESS DETAINMENT | SERPENT COLUMN | MYSTISKAOS 10 | SENICARNE | FALL OF MESSIAH | CHURCH ROAD 11 | CHRONICLE I: THE TRUTHSEEKER | MOUNTAIN CALLER | NEW HEAVY SOUNDS 12 | IMMERSION | PRIMITIVE MAN | RELAPSE 13 | INVIOLATE | DYSTOPIAN FUTURE MOVIES | LASAIRFHÍONA 14 | 10 YEARS GONE | DEAFHEAVEN | SARGENT HOUSE 15 | THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEATISM | NAPALM DEATH | CENTURY MEDIA 16 | GROUNDSWELLS | WREN | GIZEH 17 | VISCERALS | PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS | ROCKET RECORDINGS 18 | OHMS | DEFTONES | REPRISE 19 | MAY OUR CHAMBERS BE FULL | EMMA RUTH RUNDLE & THOU | SACRED BONES 20 | ELLIPSISM | BA’AL | CLOBBER
What can we say, it’s Calum Harvie! Writer extraordinaire, with us from the very early days – issue #003 to be precise – reigned as an esteemed ZT editor for years – overseeing some of our classic themed editions – and continues to collude with us to this day, contributing features ranging from cover stories to pieces about the most obscure types; he can also be found curating the news section – he’s also extremely good at digging us out of editorial holes at the eleventh hour when something extra’s needed that we weren’t prepared for…
1 | THE RECKONING DAWN | WINTERFYLLETH | CANDLELIGHT 2 | IM WALD | PAYSAGE D’HIVER | KUNSTHALL 3 | THE GHOST OF ORION | MY DYING BRIDE | NUCLEAR BLAST 4 | SECT OF VILE DIVINITIES | INCANTATION | RELAPSE 5 | THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEATISM | NAPALM DEATH | CENTURY MEDIA 6 | PHAROS | IHSAHN | CANDLELIGHT 7 | BLACK HOUSE | SECRETS OF THE MOON | PROPHECY 8 | UTGARD | ENSLAVED | NUCLEAR BLAST 9 | TELEMARK | IHSAHN | CANDLELIGHT 10 | OBSCENE REPRESSED | BENIGHTED | SEASON OF MIST 11 | UNDER SULLEN SKIES | TOMBS | SEASON OF MIST 12 | THE FORME TO THE FYNISMENT FOLDES FUL SELDEN | VARIOUS | COLD SPRING 13 | PUNCHING THE SKY | ARMORED SAINT | METAL BLADE 14 | OBSIDIAN | PARADISE LOST | NUCLEAR BLAST 15 | MESTARIN KYNSI | ORANSI PAZZUZU | NUCLEAR BLAST 16 | REMORA | FINAL MACHINE | FLAG DAY 17 | SCRIPTURES | BENEDICTION | NUCLEAR BLAST 18 | THE LONE FURROW | ROME | TRISOL 19 | MAY OUR CHAMBERS BE FULL | EMMA RUTH RUNDLE & THOU | SACRED BONES 20 | SCRIPTURES | BENEDICTION | NUCLEAR BLAST
Chris has been writing for ZT since the very beginning with issue #001, penning a brilliant tribute to Quorthon in our debut edition. When going to gigs and mingling was still a ‘thing’, Chris could always be spotted down the front, notebook, pen, beer and camera in hand, prepped and ready to report straight from the pit (yes, that’s a lot of stuff to hold).We are very lucky to have been able to count Chris as a part of ZT for 100 issues! Thank you for putting up with us Chris.
1 | PWR UP | AC/DC | COLUMBIA …it supplied exactly the warm, nostalgic feeling that I needed during the grind of 2020. Their best for a quarter of a century… 2 | PUNCHING THE SKY | ARMORED SAINT | METAL BLADE …another triumph of beautifully written and brilliantly performed heavy metal from the world’s most underappreciated band… 3 | HOLY MOLY! | BLUES PILLS | NUCLEAR BLAST …great, passionate heavy rock with the usual stunning vocal performance from Elin Larsson. A triumph after a potentially difficult line-up reshuffle… 4 | SUMMERLAND | DOOL | PROPHECY …intriguing, enthralling, a story made sound… 5 | BATTLE OF BRITAIN | VICE QUAD | LAST ROCKERS …enduring punk rockers with a defiant album of top quality songs… 6 | VERMINOUS | THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER | METAL BLADE …it’s taken a long time for TBDM to win me over, but the great guitar work all over this one finally did it… 7 | THE ABSENCE OF PRESENCE | KANSAS | INSIDEOUT …lush, rich and beautiful progressive rock… 8 | THE TRUTH BEHIND THE LIES | SOLITARY | METALVILLE …UK thrash classic that stands proudly beside anything the genre has to offer… 9 | CONSEQUENCE OF TIME | PALE DIVINE | CRUZ DEL SUR …in a good year for doom Pale Divine returned with one of their best and stole the honours… 10 | THE AUTUMN THRONE | VOID MOON | SUN AND MOON …epic yet intimate, Void Moon continue to blossom into a very special band… 11 | A ROMANCE WITH VIOLENCE | WAYFARER | PROFOUND LORE …harsh and mesmerising with an atmosphere all its own… 12 | THROUGH THE HOLLOW | MOLASSESS | SEASON OF MIST … organic, angular, progressive, psychedelic – simultaneously steel and smoke… 13 | GLORIFICATION UNDER THE LATIN MOON | VARATHRON | AGONIA …Hellenic legends in full flight, including a live presentation of their greatest album in its entirety… 14 | PANTHER | PAIN OF SALVATION | INSIDEOUT …difficult, complex, challenging – but hugely rewarding once the puzzles are unlocked… 15 | VOYAGE OF THE EAGLE | ELIXIR | DISSONANCE …British metallers turn their hand, very successfully, to an epic concept album… 16 | CONSUMED BY BLACK THOUGHTS | FOUL BODY AUTOPSY | SELF RELEASE …Tom Reynolds’ most exciting, honest and mature work yet… 17 | ADORNED WITH FIGURES OF SNAKES | AMHERAWDR | ONISM …enthralling atmospheric darkness, with roots that reach deep into the heart of the land… 18 | NO PLACE TO HIDE | STENCH OF PROFIT | LETHAL SCISSOR …storming Italian grindcore with a cool atmosphere and an armoury full of monster riffs… 19 | TITANS OF CREATION | TESTAMENT | NUCLEAR BLAST …there has been a degree of negativity around this album, but to me it’s a dark, powerful addition to the Testament canon… 20 | SACRAMENTS OF DECENSION | PERDITION TEMPLE | HELLS HEADBANGERS …a raging satanic war machine of firestorm intensity…
Manchester’s dark horse is an unassuming extreme music aficionado, joining us on the magazine years back after cutting his teeth on news contributions at ztmag.com. As you’ll glean from below, Graham’s musical tastebuds are varied, but it’s testament to his professionalism that his writing never varies in its honest and reliable stance.More please!
“The main perk working from home in 2020 provided was the chance to listen to a lot more music. From returning favourites delivering to uncovering fresh cuts, a mixed bag saw me through it – mostly empowering, feel-good metal, dark and heavy releases and some weirder stuff.“
1 | WHEN I DIE, WILL I GET BETTER? | SVALBARD | CHURCH ROAD Passionate, powerful and enchanting fusion of hardcore and post-metal 2 | THE GREAT DISMAL | NOTHING | RELAPSE Title sums up 2020, gloriously miserable shoegaze 3 | ENLIGHTENED IN ETERNITY | SPIRIT ADRIFT | 20 BUCK SPIN Epic, invigorating heavy metal 4 | RAVENING IRON | ETERNAL CHAMPION | NO REMORSE More epic metal, nothing else needed 5 | RELUCTANT HERO | KILLER BE KILLED | NUCLEAR BLAST Metal ‘supergroup’ release a super album 6 | MAY OUR CHAMBERS BE FULL | EMMA RUTH RUNDLE & THOU | SACRED BONES So good they even released the off cuts as an EP not long after 7 | ENDARKENMENT | ANAAL NATHRAKH | METAL BLADE Operatic, industrial and exhilarating 8 | PHANEROZOIC II: MESOZOIC / CENOZOIC | THE OCEAN | PELAGIC METAL BLADE More prog/post metal perfection 9 | OBSIDIAN | PARADISE LOST | NUCLEAR BLAST Gothic masters on fine form 10 | BLACK HOUSE | SECRETS OF THE MOON | LUPUS LOUNGE Surreal yet captivating 11 | UNDERNEATH | CODE ORANGE | ROADRUNNER 12 | THE RECKONING DAWN | WINTERFYLLETH | CANDLELIGHT 13 | WHERE ONLY GODS MAY TREAD | INGESTED | UNIQUE LEADER 14 | OHMS | DEFTONES | REPRISE 15 | OMENS | ELDER | ARMAGEDDON 16 | THE GHOST OF ORION | MY DYING BRIDE | NUCLEAR BLAST 17 | I LET IT IN AND IT TOOK EVERYTHING | LOATHE | SHARPTONE 18 | ALPHAVILLE | IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT | CENTURY MEDIA 19 | THE ETERNAL RESONANCE | SWEVEN | VÁN 20 | EVERYONE LOVES YOU… ONCE YOU LEAVE THEM | THE AMITY AFFLICTION | PURE NOISE
This is not a picture of John, but John isn’t one to get in anyone’s face; if ever there was a writer who likes to let the music do the talking, John’s that man. Another seasoned addition and with an encyclopaedic knowledge of metal, we were very pleased to say the least at welcoming John to our ranks a couple of years ago.
1 | THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEATISM | NAPALM DEATH | CENTURY MEDIA 2 | DROPDEAD 2020 | DROPDEAD | ARMAGEDDON LABEL 3 | FOREVER BLACK | CIRITH UNGOL | METAL BLADE 4 | ENDLESS WOUND | BLACK CURSE | SEPULCHRAL VOICE 5 | SPIRIT POSSESSION | SPIRIT POSSESSION | PROFOUND LORE 6 | EXALTED IGNORANCE | FLUIDS | MAGGOT STOMP 7 | DAWN OF THE DEAD | NECROPHOBIC | CENTURY MEDIA 8 | PWR/UP | AC/DC | COLUMBIA 9 | ACCURSED POSSESSION | CULTUS PROFANO | DEBEMUR MORTI 10 | DAMNATION IS MY SALVATION | WITCHES HAMMER | NUCLEAR WAR NOW! 11 | CHAPTER III: THE VOID GOD | SHAIDAR LOGOTH | SENTIENT RUIN 12 | SPECIATION | FACELESS BURIAL | DARK DESCENT 13 | DREAM SQUASHER | -(16)- | RELAPSE 14 | ALDRIG I LIVET | UNDERGANG | DARK DESCENT 15 | VISITATIONS FROM ENCELADUS | CRYPTIC SHIFT | BLOOD HARVEST 16 | THE ENTOMBMENT OF CHAOS | SKELETAL REMAINS | CENTURY MEDIA 17 | STRIKE.SMOTHER.DEHUMANIZE | REVENGE | SEASON OF MIST 18 | PROVIDENCE | ULTHAR | 20 BUCK SPIN 19 | MORTAL | NECROT | TANKCRIMES 20 | LESIONS OF A DIFFERENT KIND | UNDEATH | PROSTHETIC
John’s another of our veteran writers who’s been with us throughout the duration – inking his name to the masthead as far back as issue #004 – which also saw metal legends Judas Priest take to the cover, and, incidentally, was the first issue to feature ZT’s own covermount CD. Like said CD, John brings music to our ears in getting straight to the point, his acerbic wit can catch some off guard, but his modus operandi is to tell it as he sees – or hears – it; other than always conjuring up great copy, there’s absolutely no guarantee he’ll tread lightly across reviews – and it really doesn’t matter whether you’re Tony Iommi or Bleurgggghhhhhblaster from band X, if he thinks something is shite, you’ll soon know… And vice versa for good measure, we’re pleased to say. When he’s not writing, he might well be found directing horror films. Look him up.
1 | ENDLESS WOUND | BLACK CURSE | SEPULCHRAL VOICE 2 | GAMMA | WYRMWOODS | INVERSE 3 | HALLUCINATION SCENE | BLACK MAGNET | 20 BUCK SPIN 4 | DIMENSIONS | LANTERN | DARK DESCENT 5 | NIGHTMARE TRAVERSAL | CRYPTAE | SENTIENT RUIN LABORATORIES 6 | ARROW | NOVELLER | BAD A BING RECORDS 7 | THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEATISM | NAPALM DEATH | CENTURY MEDIA 8 | HYPNAGOGIC HALLUCINATIONS | BEDSORE | 20 BUCK SPIN 9 | DEVOURING RUIN | WAKE | TRANSLATION LOSS 10 | THE VANISHING | INSECT ARK | PROFOUND LORE 11 | LYCHGATE | ALSO SPRACH FUTURA | DEBEMUR MORTI 12 | NEUROPUNK BOOSTERGANG | EXPANDER | PROFOUND LORE 13 | SECT OF VILE DIVINITIES | INCANTATION | RELAPSE 14 | WRATH OF WRATHS | ENEPSIGOS | OSMOSE 15 | STYGIAN | ATRAMENTUS | 20 BUCK SPIN 16 | THE OUTSIDE | NEW RISEN THRONE | CYCLIC LAW 17 | BEHOLD THE SILENT DWELLERS | AVERSIO HUMANITATIS | DEBEMUR MORTI 18 | VISITATIONS FROM ENCELADUS | CRYPTIC SHIFT | BLOOD HARVEST 19 | HEIR OF ECLIPTICAL ROMANTICISM | LAMP OF MURMUUR | DEATH KVLT 20 | THE INHABITABLE DARK | OBSCENE | BLOOD HARVEST
Will. One of music journalism’s deep thinkers, and very much part of the ZT furniture – and has been since issue #014. Though he’s in no way blinkered by one genre, black metal is very much a passion of Will’s – and he can be found curating the excellent Notes From Underground series of features, which go above (below) and beyond anything you’d find in print elsewhere – the most obscure and unchartered territories are always in his sights. As well as contributing more generally, Will also curates the artist profile in the Inside Information section – natural choice for the task as he’s a very talented artist himself; he’s too humble to admit to that… so we said it for him.
1 | DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHIES | COLLECTRESS | PEELER 2 | ETERNA OSCURIDAD | CRYFEMAL | IMMORTAL FROST 3 | FLOWERS OF EVIL | ULVER | HOUSE OF MYTHOLOGY 4 | KUOLEMAN KIRJO | HORNA | WTC 5 | POVERTY METAL | HENRIK PALM | SVART 6 | MAY OUR CHAMBERS… | EMMA RUTH RUNDLE & THOU | SACRED BONES 7 | BLACK HOUSE | SECRETS OF THE MOON | PROPHECY 8 | YOUTH IN RIBBONS | REVENANT MARQUIS | INFERNA PROFUNDIS 9 | UTGARD | ENSLAVED | NUCLEAR BLAST 10 | TELLURIAN SLAKED FURNACE | LURKER OF CHALLICE | NUCLEAR WAR NOW! 11 | NO | BORIS | FANGS ANAL SATAN 12 | SCORN DEFEAT (REISSUE) | SIGH | PEACEVILLE 13 | FOR YOU MEN WHO GAZE.. | ANTZAAT | IMMORTAL FROST 14 | COVERED MIRRORS | KARITI | AURAL MUSIC 15 | THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEATISM | NAPALM DEATH | CENTURY MEDIA 16 | MIXING COLOURS | BRIAN & ROGER ENO | DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 17 | SYYS | OCTOBER FALLS | PURITY THROUGH FIRE 18 | THE GHOST OF ORION | MY DYING BRIDE | NUCLEAR BLAST 19 | RTJ4 | RUN THE JEWELS | BMG 20 | EN ERGÔ EINAI | AARA | DEBEMUR MORTI
Which other music mag can boast a ‘Lord’ within their ranks? Our Nashville-based writing aristocrat Randall, whose request to be paid in Walkers crisps and Yorkshire Tea hasn’t yet been realised (we’re not sure how to account for that m’Lord, guineas will have to do for now), has graced our pages with his eloquent use of the English language since issue #020. Other reasons to be happy that he’s stuck around for so long stem from Randall’s fascination with doom which has led to him curating the regular section dedicated to said genre – A Funeral Inquest. Now that deserves a bow (or a curtsey, depending on your preference).
1 | UTGARD | ENSLAVED | NUCLEAR BLAST 2 | LIMBO | GAEREA | SEASON OF MIST 3 | KINDRED | HEXVESSEL | SVART 4 | ARCANA, SCRYING AND REVELATION | MONGREL’S CROSS | HELLS HEADBANGERS 5 | LEAVES OF YESTERYEAR |GREEN CARNATION | SEASON OF MIST 6 | THE RECKONING DAWN | WINTERFYLLETH | CANDLELIGHT 7 | NEMBUTAL | OPIUM WARLORDS | SVART 8 | A DRIFTWOOD CROSS | WITCHSKULL | RISE ABOVE 9 | WREATHED IN MOURNCLOUD | FELLWARDEN | EISENWALD 10 | ABYSS HORIZONS | BATTLE DAGORATH | AVANTGARDE MUSIC 11 | TALES TO BE TOLD | LYKANTROPI | DESPOTZ 12 | MESTARIN KYNSI |ORANSSI PAZUZU | NUCLEAR BLAST 13 | 1692 | FRAYLE | AQUALAMB RECORDS 14 | DESERT OF GHOULS | EREMIT | TRANSCENDING OBSCURITY 15 | DREAM SQUASHER | -(16)- | RELAPSE 16 | NEREID | RICINN | BLOOD MUSIC 17 | SONGS OF MY BOYHOOD | ALASDAIR ROBERTS | DRAG CITY 18 | DREAM IN MOTION | KIRK WINDSTEIN | EONE 19 | SECT OF VILE DIVINITIES | INCANTATION | RELAPSE 20 | STYGIAN BOUGH, VOLUME 1 | BELL WITCH & AERIAL RUIN | PROFOUND LORE
José Carlos Santos
This seasoned Portugese writer joined us a few years ago and we are pleased as punch that he did as we were able to bring onboard another contributor with bags and bags of knowledge and experience, coupled with an uncanny knack for writing engaging features – hence, José is already responsible for an increasing mound of memorable latter-day cover stories. When he’s not engaging his critical ear for us, he’s probably busy helping to organise The Netherlands’ envied Roadburn Festival – or walking his dog. Oh, he’s also chief-of-staff at Portugal’s LOUD! Magazine.
1 | THE GHOST OF ORION | MY DYING BRIDE | NUCLEAR BLAST 2 | OBSIDIAN | PARADISE LOST | NUCLEAR BLAST 3 | IM WALD | PAYSAGE D’HIVER | KUNSTHAL 4 | HUMAN IMPACT | HUMAN IMPACT | IPECAC 5 | ULTIMATE SUCCESS TODAY | PROTOMARTYR | DOMINO 6 | NO WILDERNESS DEEP ENOUGH | STEVE VON TILL | NEUROT 7 | ENDARKENMENT | ANAAL NATHRAKH | METAL BLADE 8 | NO GOOD TO ANYONE | TODAY IS THE DAY | BMG 9 | THE GOD-SHAPED VOID | PSYCHOTIC WALTZ | INSIDEOUT 10 | OMNIA MORS AEQUAT | ULVEBLOD | CONSOULING SOUNDS 11 | REBIRTH BY BLASPHEMY | MIDNIGHT | METAL BLADE 12 | UNDER SULLEN SKIES | TOMBS | SEASON OF MIST 13 | FAREWELL TO ALL WE KNOW | MATT ELLIOTT | ICI D’AILLEURS 14 | MESTARIN KYNSI | ORANSSI PAZUZU | NUCLEAR BLAST 15 | SECT OF VILE DIVINITIES | INCANTATION | RELAPSE 16 | SOUTH OF HEAVEN | FOTOCRIME | PROFOUND LORE 17 | FOREVER BLACK | CIRITH UNGOL | METAL BLADE 18 | ENLIGHTENED IN ETERNITY | SPIRIT ADRIFT | 20 BUCK SPIN 19 | THE VANISHING | INSECT ARK | PROFOUND LORE 20 | CITY BURIALS | KATATONIA | PEACEVILLE
Together with Mr Mincemoyer, ZT’s co-founder / editor had the pleasure of working with Mr Kevin Stewart-Panko when serving their sentences at Terrorizer Magazine in the late-’90s /early-noughties. It took many, many years to snare the skills of KSP – who does all sorts of other clever things such as writing books – and it’s true to say that his involvement in ZT has really given the magazine some extra muscle over the last few years. We think we’ve successfully strong-armed him into contributing long into the future…
1 | THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEATISM | NAPALM DEATH | CENTURY MEDIA 2 | MACABRE MELODIES | WOMBRIPPER | MEMENTO MORI 3 | EXTINCT | CONVULSIF | HUMMUS 4 | MISANTHROPIC BREED | LIK | METAL BLADE 5 | ENDARKENMENT | ANAAL NATHRAKH | METAL BLADE 6 | SCORPIO | THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX | TEE PEE 7 | QUADRA | SEPULTURA | NUCLEAR BLAST 8 | GENERATION ANTICHRIST | ONSLAUGHT | AFM 9 | DROPDEAD | DROPDEAD | ARMAGEDDON LABEL 10 | THE FALLEN CRIMSON | ENVY | TEMPORARY RESIDENCE 11 | A SILENT SOUL SCREAMS LOUD | PYOGENESIS | AFM 12 | EX ROSA CEREMONIA | PULCHRA MORTE | TRANSCENDING 13 | FEVER DREAM |HORSENECK | SELF-RELEASED 14 | DIMENSIONS | LANTERN | DARK DESCENT 15 | NIHILISTIC ESTRANGEMENT | FORGOTTEN TOMB | AGONIA 16 | OLD SMOKE | BARISHI | SEASON OF MIST 17 | THE SUNS OF PERDITION – CHAPTER II: RENDER UNTO EDEN | PANZERFAUST | EISENWALD 18 | ENLIGHTENED IN ETERNITY | SPIRIT ADRIFT | CENTURY MEDIA 19 | THE GERMS OF CIRCUMSTANCE | JOHANSSON & SPECKMANN | SOULSELLER 20 | ALPHAVILLE | IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT | CENTURY MEDIA
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