Country of origin: United States
Number of issues: 2
Review based on issue: 2
Lay-out: Black & white, A4
Focus: Underground metal and neofolk artists, in-depth interviews, Christianity
Normally, the focus that metal zines have on interviews bothers me. Where a straightforward review can still camouflage the simple-mindedness that strikes quite a few metal writers, interviews are right up there with so-called ‘think pieces’ on metal culture when it comes to their ability to expose said individuals as boring, limited thinkers who hit the level of college freshmen, at best. An additional problem is that it makes zine editors heavily reliant on artists for content. Even when they do agree to take part in an interview, their answers may prove too superficial, half-baked or pre-cooked to make publication even worth considering. Filling the pages of your print zine with interviews may seem like the quickest road towards completing a new issue. But to differentiate yourself from the countless other outlets using this method requires you to be more selective, exhaustive and creative than your copious competitors.
Call From The Grave magazine proves that such a feat, while difficult, is definitely possible to achieve. Zine editor Aaron takes in-depth interviews to a new level with his broad range of philosophical, spiritual and musical questions. The biggest indicator of his dedication is the fact that his questions could only ever have been directed towards the artist they were intended for. They are custom-tailored, so to speak. This might seem logical, but many interviews in more mundane publications are essentially variations of the same checklist offered to any musician they interview.
Sadly, some of the interviewees do appear to lack the intellectual depth to provide the answers that the more thoughtful questions implore. But when the interviewer’s inquiries and the artist’s acceptance of his curiosity do synthesise, they spark thought-provoking, meaningful dialogues that stretch across multiple pages without spreading thin. Add to that some unusual other features, such as a report of a visit to an Orthodox monastery, and you have something truly unique. And as far as the interviews go, I have yet to encounter a music magazine better than Call From The Grave.