“The quality of the print, the formatting, the unconventional use of space, the topics and bands covered signals back to the days where independent print magazines were like the town criers of the pre-internet heavy metal days.”
Golgotha and The Black Candle recently joined ranks to release a collaborative publication. An interesting concept that busts the mold of traditional publications, something that cannot be replicated in the mainstream print world. The outcome, the end product, is a nihilistically beautiful print magazine that touches the subjects of underground music and art without tripping over the hurdle of pretentiousness. Interviews are far beyond the typical fanfare of “tell us about the new album” and the interview subjects offer insight far deeper than “our new album is the best thing we’ve done so far.” The quality of the print, the formatting, the unconventional use of space, the topics and bands covered signals back to the days where independent print magazines were like the town criers of the pre-internet heavy metal days.
Starting with the outside aesthetics, Golgotha is the first to present itself. Opening the package revealed a compact publication. The minimalist matte black finish of the outside front cover bears the traditionally flavored architecture of black metal font, spelling out Golgotha in contrasting white lettering, bearing a cutoff image of what appears to be a goat’s head jutting out from the print’s spine.
The stock the magazine is printed on is a heavy-set .006″ thick, measured on a micrometer. One might wonder why the stock is being brought to attention. In America, most conventional magazines and newsletters are printed on stock that is half this size, .003″ thickness. Its flimsy quality is disguised with high-gloss finish and vibrant ink printing, the lack of thickness creates a publication that is flimsy and does not age well. The thickness of Golgotha x The Black Candle is representative of quality first and everything else second. An excellent move on the creator’s side.
Opening the magazine, the inside cover bears the words “we are going to hold hands, take LSD, find God and what happened?” in scratchy, block lettering like an absurd ransom note.
Golgotha’s first interview is with Austrian unit Amestigon. The interview covers the 1990’s period of black metal at their national level, the severing of the band’s relationship with Napalm Records and the (unneeded) attention given to World Terror Committee, whom released Amestigon’s most recent full-length. Religion, the Austrian music scene, the relationship to Abigor, and the use of psychological/psychedelic drugs as catalysts for musical creation are all also covered. The interviewer keeps the questions compact and much of the pages are covered with Amestigon’s responses.
Following the Amestigon interview is an interview with the obscure Raspberry Bulbs. The interview is conducted with HWCT, who may be more easily identified as one of the driving forces behind Bone Awl, as well as the Klaxon and Seedstock record labels and the Fall To Your Knees Pissing ‘zine. The conversation with HWCT covers a wide range of subjects and is engrossing, as HWCT is an articulate speaker and gives great detail into the history of Bone Awl. The final passage from HWCT may be the best part of the entire interview.
Ulrike Serowy, author of Skogtatt, gives a lengthy piece on how her black metal-themed novella came into being. This is one of several interviews spread across the ‘zine where the interview focuses on other associated streams of art tied to heavy metal.
Following the interview with Ulrike Serowy, The Black Candle’s contribution begins. Bound in the center of Golgotha, the sudden visual shift and the dramatic difference in interviewing style is a unique seizing of opportunity. The black pages and white text in combination with numerous snippets of odd passages and absurd imagery littered around the pages gives it a bleak atmosphere; bands struggle to create atmosphere in their music, there is a ‘zine where the creator’s managed to actually create an atmosphere using only words and aesthetic.
Black Candle’s first interview is with Austin Rathmell of The Way To Light and Falm. Black Candle’s interviews come off more as casual conversations, helping bring the personalities of the interview subjects forward. Rathmell discusses the core of The Way To Light and gets into his own personal roots and upbringing.
Following the interview is a page of short reviews covering Ritual Control, Systematik, Ponor, Recitation, and Ghostchant. The reviews are one or two paragraphs each and cut straight to the point.
Mike Apocalypse of Gehenna (and many others) is the next interview subject. Again, the casual conversation style is exercised here, with Mike Apocalypse coming off as a very grounded individual.
Photographer/Artist Helmut Wolech is another interview similar to Golgotha’s piece on Ulrike Serowy. This is one of the best interviews in the entire release, Wolech gives excellent answers and offers a look at an upbringing radically different from most parts of the world and how it congealed to create a unique artistic output. Following Wolech’s interview are several pages of photos, photos which can’t be reasonably described. The photo of a rat getting ready to crawl into a woman’s exposed vagina was a bit of a surprise.
Runhild Gammelsæter is The Black Candle’s final interview subject. Runhild was involved in Thorr’s Hammer, a Doom/Death Metal band with output in the mid-1990’s that can be tied to numerous bands such as Khylst, Sunn O))), and GIinnungagap. Gammelsæter covers her time in the music scene and the vast spread of projects she has taken part in, also noted is her specialized, very precise education in cell physiology.
The Black Candle ends with several more reviews, covering Fyrnask, Coffins, Funeral Sutra, and Woe. As The Black Candle’s contribution ends, the next page seamlessly shifts right back into Golgotha.
Interviews with VLK and Ofermod follow, with VLK giving insight on their influences as well as several statements on Midwest American culture that are pinpoint accurate and Ofermod going into extensive detail on the concepts of Orthodox Black Metal and the chaotic history of the band.
Hafsteinn Viðar Ársælsson, Icelandic artist/illustrator/musician, is interviewed as well as French act Chaos Echoes, to close out Golgotha’s contribution. Both are very lengthy interviews.
Overall, the collaboration between Golgotha and The Black Candle is a big victory. The layout is excellent, the pacing is great, the interview subjects and the interviews themselves are always interesting, and the quality is far beyond what most ‘zines are capable of achieving. The size and sheer weight of content means is above and beyond most typical outputs.
Track this ‘zine down.