|Staff writers||Nick Ruskell, David McLaughlin, Emily Carter, Tom Shepherd, Ethan Fixell, Christopher Krovatin, Cat Jones|
|Publisher||Wasted Talent Ltd|
|First issue||6 June 1981|
Kerrang! is a British music webzine and quarterly magazine that primarily covers rock, punk and heavy metal music. Since 2017, the magazine has been published by Wasted Talent Ltd (the same company that owns electronic music publication Mixmag). The magazine was named onomatopoeically after the sound of a "guitar being struck with force".
Kerrang! was first published on 6 June 1981 as a one-off "Heavy Metal Special" from the now-defunct Sounds newspaper. Due to the popularity of the issue, the magazine became a monthly publication, before transitioning into a weekly in 1987. Initially devoted to the new wave of British heavy metal and the rise of hard rock acts, Kerrang!'s musical emphasis has changed several times, focusing on grunge, nu metal, post-hardcore, emo and other alternative rock and metal genres over the course of its forty-year publication history. In 2001, it became the best-selling British music weekly, overtaking NME.
After publishing a total of 1,818 issues, Kerrang! ceased publication of their weekly magazine in March 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst continuing as an online publication featuring digital "cover stories". In December 2021, the print edition of Kerrang! was brought back, and is now published on a quarterly basis.
Kerrang! was founded in 1981. The editor of the weekly music magazine Sounds, Alan Lewis, suggested that Geoff Barton edit a one-off special edition focusing on the new wave of British heavy metal phenomenon and on the rise of other hard rock acts. Billed as a "Sounds Heavy Metal Special", Kerrang!'s first issue was published on 6 June 1981. Angus Young of AC/DC appeared on Kerrang!'s first cover. According to Alan Lewis, the first issue reportedly sold out within days of its publication, and the magazine began being published on a monthly basis. In February 1982, after only eight issues, Kerrang!'s frequency was doubled by its publisher, United Newspapers. Starting with issue 148 in 1987, the publication went weekly. During the 1980s and early 1990s the magazine placed many thrash metal and glam metal acts on the cover, including Tigertailz, Mötley Crüe, Slayer, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Poison, and Venom. The term thrash metal was first coined in the music press by Kerrang! journalist Malcolm Dome, in reference to the Anthrax song "Metal Thrashing Mad". Prior to this Metallica's James Hetfield had referred to their sound as "power metal".
By April 1991, Kerrang! boasted an average weekly circulation of 58,685, ahead of its rival publication RAW, and was making profits of £1 million a year. That same month, United Newspapers sold Kerrang! to EMAP Metro (now known as Ascential plc), then-publishers of RAW, who moved the publication's offices to Carnaby Street in London's West End. In April 1992, Barton left his post as the magazine's editor, and was replaced by Robyn Doreian. Although her tenure as editor was brief, Doreian would balance the magazine's focus between heavy metal and the growing alternative music scene, following the unexpected success of grunge acts such as Nirvana.
Phil Alexander became the new editor of Kerrang! in June 1993. Alexander felt that the magazine was lagging behind RAW in terms of its coverage of newer bands, and Kerrang!'s emphasis began to largely eschew previously featured glam/metal acts in favour of modern acts, such as Hole, Nine Inch Nails, Kyuss, Corrosion of Conformity and Machine Head. During the Britpop era, the magazine would largely focus on heavier "Britrock" acts such as The Wildhearts, Manic Street Preachers, Terrorvision and Therapy?. Starting in 1995, Kerrang! began covering the nu metal genre after one of the magazine's journalists, Mörat, was introduced to Korn by Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn. During the late 1990s, the magazine would end up covering the likes of Limp Bizkit, System of a Down, Deftones and Slipknot, and various other punk rock, hip-hop and hardcore acts.
2000s – 2020s
In 2000, Paul Rees became the new editor for Kerrang!. In 2001, Kerrang! overtook NME as the biggest selling music weekly in the United Kingdom, bolstered by its coverage of nu metal. By mid-2002, the magazine had a circulation of 83,988 copies per week. After Rees left the to edit Q magazine, former Kerrang! reviews editor Ashley Bird appointed editor from 2003 to 2005. Following his departure, Paul Brannigan took over as editor in May 2005. In the mid-to-late 2000s, the genre focus of Kerrang! shifted once more, with a new emphasis on emo, post-hardcore, pop-punk and metalcore music, coinciding with the decline of nu metal. Furthermore, the magazine continued to occasionally feature more established bands such as Iron Maiden and Metallica on the cover. In 2006, the magazine's circulation stood at 80,186 copies.
In 2008, EMAP sold its consumer magazines to Bauer Media Group. Brannigan left Kerrang! in 2009 and Nichola Browne was appointed editor. She later stepped down in April 2011. Former NME features editor and GamesMaster deputy editor James McMahon was appointed as editor on 6 June 2011.
In April 2017, Kerrang! magazine, its website, and the K! Awards were purchased by Mixmag Media, publisher of dance monthly Mixmag, along with assets related to defunct style magazine The Face. Mixmag has since formed parent company Wasted Talent, which relaunched Kerrang! as a digital-first title, while continuing to publish a weekly print edition. Former Editor-in-Chief Phil Alexander was appointed Global Creative Director on 3 August 2017. Bauer retained ownership of Kerrang! Radio and the Box Plus Network will continue to operate Kerrang! TV as before. An updated Kerrang! logo was debuted in mid-2017 before the magazine received a complete redesign during 2018. This change saw several of the magazine's long-running features dropped, including the Ultimate Rockstar Test, while new features were added in their place.
On 13 March 2020, after publishing a total of 1,818 issues, publication of the weekly print edition of Kerrang! was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kerrang! website continued to run articles as normal. On 29 July 2020, the magazine debuted its first weekly digital 'cover story' long-form article, announcing Corey Taylor's first solo album CMFT (2020). In December 2021, a one-off print edition of Kerrang! was published, celebrating the return of live music events in the UK. Sales of this magazine proved successful enough that a second stand-alone print magazine was published in April 2022. The magazine continues to be published on a quarterly basis.
Emap launched Kerrang! Australia in the late 1990s. Unlike its weekly counterpart in the UK, the Australian edition was published monthly due to stiff competition from free local music publications. Kerrang! is also published in Spanish and German. Kerrang announced its aim to expand into the US in March 2018.
In March 2018, following a magazine redesign, Kerrang! announced it would be expanding to the United States, with an office in New York run by Ethan Fixell. The goal would be to generate US-centric content, events, and brand partnerships.
Kerrang!'s website, www.kerrang.com, was launched in summer 2001 by Dan Silver. Kerrang!'s parent company Emap acquired the domain name from a Norwegian cybersquatter by the name of Steingram Stegane for a token sum of £666.
Kerrang!'s website features news and features on both contemporary and classic rock bands, as well as previewing upcoming events. The website hosts Kerrang!'s online shop, podcasts, message board, TV and radio segments ensuring more opportunities to sell associated merchandise and products. In 2001, Kerrang! launched its own online forum with the "rants and raves" section taking up most of the traffic. According to Alexa www.kerrang.com is ranked 83,545th globally, and 33,532nd in the U.S.
Since 1993, the magazine has held an annual awards ceremony to mark the most successful bands in the interests of their readers. The awards became one of Britain's most recognised events by the now defunct Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, often listing some of the winners in their annual round-up of the previous year. The event is presented by major music celebrities, with many others outside the industry who attend the event.
After a year hiatus, the Awards were relaunched in 2018, with notable guests that included Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Tony Iommi, Corey Taylor, and Dave Grohl, among others. After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ceremony returned in June 2022, with the reader nominations period beginning in April 2022.
In 2000, EMAP launched Kerrang! as a digital radio station, across the United Kingdom. This was principally a 'jukebox' station, playing a back-to-back sequence of rock and alternative music. On 10 June 2004, Kerrang! 105.2 was launched as a regional radio station in Birmingham with an advertising campaign by London-based creative agency ODD. The radio had a number of specialist programmes dedicated to the many subgenres of rock music. The radio output included interviews with those affecting popular culture and society as well as those involved with music. It stopped broadcasting on FM as of 14 June 2013 and once again became a digital station, with listeners able to tune in on DAB or the Kerrang! Radio app. With this broadcasting change came a move in Kerrang! Radio's offices from Birmingham to London. Absolute Radio is now broadcasting on its FM frequency.
In 2001 EMAP launched Kerrang! TV. As with the radio station, the television channel covers the more mainstream side of the rock music as well as classic rock bands including Aerosmith, AC/DC and Guns N' Roses and classic heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Metallica. Kerrang! TV, along with its The Box Plus Network sister channels, is now fully owned by Channel Four Television Corporation.
The Kerrang! Tour ran from 2006 to 2017. The line-up for each year was usually announced in October of the previous year and was held throughout January and February of the following year. Relentless Energy Drink sponsored the Kerrang! Tour for several years. It is currently unknown if the tour will ever be revived.
- 2006, featured Bullet for My Valentine, Hawthorne Heights, Still Remains and Aiden.
- 2007, featured Biffy Clyro, The Bronx, The Audition and I Am Ghost.
- 2008, featured Coheed and Cambria, Madina Lake, Fightstar and Circa Survive.
- 2009, sponsored by Relentless Energy Drink from this year; featured Mindless Self Indulgence, Dir En Grey, Bring Me the Horizon, Black Tide and In Case of Fire.
- 2010, featured All Time Low, The Blackout, Young Guns and My Passion. Jettblack were added for two dates at the London Roundhouse at the end of the tour.
- 2011, featured Good Charlotte, Four Year Strong, Framing Hanley and The Wonder Years.
- 2012. The tour lasted from 5 to 17 February. It featured New Found Glory, Sum 41, letlive. and While She Sleeps. On 20 January 2012 it was revealed that Sum 41 had been forced to pull out due to frontman Deryck Whibley who had suffered a back injury and was not well enough to perform for the duration of the tour, they were replaced by The Blackout who had previously played on the 2010 tour.
- 2013, featured Black Veil Brides, Chiodos, Tonight Alive and Fearless Vampire Killers. It was an 11-date tour which ran from 3–15 February, with the 6th and 11th being days off. William Control was a guest DJ and also appeared alongside Black Veil Brides on 2 songs; Shadows Die and In the End.
- 2014, featured Limp Bizkit, Crossfaith, Nekrogoblikon and Baby Godzilla.
- 2015, featured Don Broco, We Are the in Crowd, Bury Tomorrow, Beartooth and Young Guns.
- 2016. On 29 September the headliner for the eleventh Kerrang! tour was revealed to be Sum 41. In an interview with Kerrang, frontman Deryck Whibley stated that "After a three-year break, we're honoured that our first tour back is the Kerrang!" The tour featured Sum 41, Roam, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Biters.
- 2017, featured The Amity Affliction, Boston Manor, Vukovi, and Casey.
The K! Pit
The year after the final Kerrang! Tour, Kerrang! launched a new gig concept known as 'The K! Pit', where the magazine promotes a free gig for a popular band in a tiny London venue. Fans gain access by applying for tickets online and being selected at random in a competition-style draw. Artists featured so far include Parkway Drive, Mastodon, Fever 333, and Neck Deep, the latter performance coinciding with the 2018 Kerrang! Awards where Neck Deep would win 'Best Song'. The brand has since also launched the series in Brooklyn, New York, featuring artists such as Sum 41, Baroness, Knocked Loose, Daughters, Fit For An Autopsy. Performances are also streamed on the Kerrang! Facebook page before being uploaded to YouTube.
The Official Kerrang! Rock Chart
During the 1980s, Kerrang! published weekly heavy metal charts for singles, albums and import albums. Each was compiled from sales data from fifty specialist stores across the United Kingdom.
In March 2012, Kerrang! announced a new weekly rock singles chart for the UK based on upon airplay across Kerrang Radio, Kerrang TV, and specialist rock radio stations, as well as sales figures from the Official Charts Company. As of 2020, the chart continues to be printed in the magazine every week, contains 20 tracks, and often features accompanying facts or artist quotes. The official Kerrang Spotify profile also features a playlist of the tracks on the chart and is updated every Wednesday. The chart was announced on Saturday mornings on Kerrang! Radio and could be viewed online every Saturday at midday. The chart would also be shown on Kerrang! TV on Thursdays at 4 pm.
Unlike the UK Rock & Metal Singles Chart produced by the Official Charts Company, which is typically dominated by classic rock artists, the Kerrang! Rock Chart focuses primarily on new releases by contemporary rock artists.
Kerrang! year-end lists
Album of the Year
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- ^ a b Ruskell 2023, p. 14
- ^ Brannigan, Paul (6 June 2006). "25 Most Important Bands of Our Lifetime". Kerrang!. No. 1110.
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- ^ Ward, Steven. "Geoff Barton, behind the wheel". Rock Critics. Archived from the original on 11 May 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 17
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- ^ Kerrang!, issue 62, page 8, 23 February 1984
- ^ Dome, Malcolm (23 February 1984). "Anthrax 'Fistful of Metal'". Kerrang!. Vol. 62. London: Spotlight Publications Ltd. p. 8.
- ^ a b Ruskell 2023, p. 70
- ^ a b Anon. (13 April 1991). "Emap scoops up Select in music titles sell-of" (PDF). Music Week: 3. ISSN 0265-1548 – via worldradiohistory.com.
- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 66
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- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 80
- ^ a b Ruskell 2023, p. 83
- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 86
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- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 99
- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 100
- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 124
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- ^ a b Cozens, Claire (15 August 2002). "NME loses ground to Kerrang!". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
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- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 142
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- ^ Kerrang! 22 March 2003. No. 947.
- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 151
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- ^ Brook, Stephen (17 August 2009). "Nichola Browne to edit Kerrang!". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- ^ Cardew, Ben (6 June 2011). "Kerrang! names new editor". Music Week. Intent Media. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- ^ "Wasted Talent appoint Phil Alexander as global creative director of Kerrang! and Rock Music Media". musicweek.com. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
- ^ "Mixmag complete purchase of Kerrang! and The Face from Bauer Media". musicweek.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 223
- ^ Carter, Emily (29 July 2020). "Corey Taylor: "You can't experience joy unless you know what real sadness feels like"". Kerrang!. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- ^ Ruskell 2023, p. 226–227
- ^ Kerrang! staff (2 December 2021). "Kerrang! releases special-edition magazine celebrating the return of live music". Kerrang!. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- ^ "The making of Bring Me the Horizon - only in the new issue of Kerrang! magazine". Kerrang!. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
- ^ Kerrang! staff (15 September 2022). "The rise of Måneskin – only in the new issue of Kerrang! magazine". Kerrang!. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- ^ Kerrang! staff (8 December 2022). "Nova Twins are officially the band of the year – only in the new…". Kerrang!. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- ^ Kerrang! staff (23 February 2023). "The phenomenon returns: BABYMETAL take us inside their new era – only…". Kerrang!. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- ^ Kerrang! staff (11 May 2023). ""My heart and soul is dedicated to Slipknot": A world-exclusive…". Kerrang!. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
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- ^ "Kerrang! Tour 2016! - Kerrang!". Kerrang!. Archived from the original on 23 January 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- ^ "Neck Deep Are Playing The K! Pit For The Kerrang! Awards Week Of Rock — Kerrang!". Kerrang!. Archived from the original on 10 August 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
- ^ https://www.kerrang.com/the-news/the-kerrang-rock-chart-1/ Archived 8 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine Kerrang! Rock Chart, 28 November 2018
- ^ "Rocklist.net...Kerrang! Lists Page 1..." www.rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- ^ "The 50 best albums of 2021". Kerrang!. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- ^ "The 50 best albums of 2022". Kerrang!. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- Ruskell, Nick (2023). Kerrang! Living Loud. UK: DK. ISBN 978-0-2415-8294-7.