Paradoxical as it may seem, I had never seen the evolution, particularly the recent evolution, of the world of music publishing, of which this fanzine is a miserable part, from an external point of view.
Living it from the inside, I have always had an immobile and obtuse vision, willing to change only by virtue of personal choices and in relation to the evolution of technologies, but never from a social point of view. Of course, the first online articles date back to the end of the 90s and belong in a way to a pioneering era when even the big publications had practically not yet approached network technologies. That sea of shit of professional magazines was still clinging pitifully to paper, limiting itself to a paltry online presence as was usual in web 1.0, with the difference that no one, at least in Italy, and I mean this seriously, no one who wrote on any newsstand magazine, had even minimal competence in the world of underground extreme metal.
The first journalists capable of delving beyond the usual 3-4 major labels and doing a bit of research (we’re talking about a time when archives were the preserve of a few) appeared with the webzines of the early 00s. You only have to pick up any magazine from the 90s to see that the people writing about it didn’t understand shit. Yet there was something going on in the underground and there were some very nice and well written fanzines in Italy. There was a period at the turn of the 2000s when many American fanzines had become freebies, free copies given away with packages in collaboration with certain labels that could afford it.
It was at that time that this fanzine began an alternation of formats from print to online, an alternation that still persists today.
Although Nuclear Abominations has been online since about 1999, as I said before, I’ve always stubbornly limited myself to reviewing what labels and bands decided to send me, to avoid actively searching for new stuff, as I used to do in the 90s when I spent my evenings writing letters, duplicating tapes and flipping through mountains of flyers. It’s more comfortable to lazily wait for something new to come along to hear, after all. And my justification was that at least, I had to force myself to listen to genres and records that, by my own volition I would never have put on my turntable.
With little side effects, though.
One of them was listening to hours of crap records or completely useless stuff, just for the sake of ethics. The least I could do to repay the trust of a band or label that had spent money to send me something was to listen to the worst shit at least a couple of times, even if that also guaranteed that I could butcher a record as I did with some regularity. I’m sorry but the least you get if you send me a promo of crap music is an abrasive review. Secondly, there was also the problem that I’d end up wasting hours reviewing bands from the same big labels and missing out on the more interesting stuff that was circulating directly between bands without a contract. Add to that the shop break between 2002 and 2004 that took away all interest in the genre and all in all the last 20 years has been a disastrous series of false starts.
But then, in reality, I felt like writing from time to time and so every now and then I tried again, but I progressively saw the world changing at every false start, finally adapting to the new technologies, the physical promos gradually disappearing and a huge mass of interesting bands coming out every day. There was also the factor that, after 2005, certain sounds that today are called OSDM were rediscovered (that those who follow me since day one know well that I have always preferred here compared to all the rest), without counting the real Black Metal, the putrid and very violent one of Conqueror and Black Witchery, finally got an upper hand thanks to labels like Nuclear War Now.
In 20 years the world has changed radically.
Today there are no more promos, or rather there are thousands of electronic promos to browse, select, and first of all decide what to waste your time on, time which is increasingly limited. What seems to be a limitation, however, leads to a new vision of the profession of fanzinaro: even if now I have no guidelines to follow, I can only talk about the stuff I like because I no longer have moral duties towards anyone.
While it’s true that the music world is infested by woke, dry losers who are afraid of words, who are wary of reading a review of a record that might destabilize them, apart from the general weakness of these shits, the world is now proposing a very, very free perspective. Probably nobody follows blogs anymore, but it’s time to go back to the early days when you could select your own playlist. Incidentally, I have never earned a penny from this publication, but nowadays I am completely not willing to compromise. So I welcome the era of electronic promos, videos on social platforms. There might still be something to say, after all.