Tuesday, February 9, 2010

At Both Ends: Final Issue Review

Initially I thought I would review every aspect of this double issue magazine. I was going to give my opinions of all the articles and interviews. After going through the magazine a number of times, I've decided if I did that 1) That would be a fucking long review and 2) It wouldn't leave a lot of the content open for those of you who haven't read it. So what I've decided to do is highlight the unique articles that appeal to me. Please note: I'm not a writer, don't expect any wordy descriptions or proper writing styles, these are just my personal opinions and thoughts. You'll also notice that I may refer to this as a magazine and not a zine, that's because based on it's size and pure quality I feel that it is pretty much a magazine.

Bane Tour Diary
This piece was interesting to me because I'm a big Bane fan and also because I've always wanted to be in a band on tour. Basically the article covers a South American Bane tour from the perspective of a merch guy/roadie. The best part of the article is that we get an understanding of how the fans are in each of these countries. They're all unique in their own way. In particular, the insanity at the merch table in Chile.

Black And White And Read All Over

What we have here is basically a round table discussion on punk/hardcore zines and their relevance in today's wired(or actually wireless) culture. We get points of view from 4 different zine editors, from Las Vegas, Amsterdam, New York and Germany. I liked this article because I've also wondered a lot of the questions asked to myself. It's nice to get opinions on these issues from the people directly involved.

Remastering For Vinyl
This is a must read for anyone that enjoys or collects vinyl. It's an interview with Dave Eck on what it takes to master audio for a vinyl pressing.

Cryptozology NW
I'm really into horror movies and monsters and things of that nature, so I found it really cool that in this magazine there's kind of a directory for NW urban monster myths. It features background information on Bigfoot, Ogopogo, Cadborosaurus Willsi, The Batsquatch and The Zinesterosaurus. If you've ever wondered how these legends came to be, you'll find it in here.

The Great White North

This isn't really an article, just a map with information on all of Canada's major cities. There's a lot of facts in there that I had no idea about, so I'm sure for anyone in the US or overseas this would be a really interesting read. My favorite note is obviously the one for Saskatoon, you'll know why if you read it, but I've covered it on this blog before.

The last article we're left with is a history of At Both Ends, tools of the trade and advice sections. The history section gives an in depth look at not only how each issue was produced but some of the personal challenges Stephen faced when creating each one. And of course the tools section discusses certain tools used to create At Both Ends and the advice section offers some helpful tips to anyone wishing to try their hand at creating a zine.

Those aren't all of the features in the magazine, just the ones I found most interesting. There's lots more that deserve a read, I'm just not going to give away everything found in this magazine.

The amount of interviews and their content is just too much for me to cover. Instead, I'll simply list all of the people interviewed in hopes that some of you may be interested enough to grab a copy for yourselves. Shook Ones, Bill Stevenson, Excursion Records, To Kill, Sainte Catherines, Verse, A Perfect Murder, Sick Of It All, Shai Hulud, Brian Clement, Anchor, Wait In Vain, Greg Bennick. There's also content featuring Brand New Unit and Sparkmarker.

The reviews are one of my favorite things about this magazine. Stephen is brutally honest in his review of over 12 pages worth of full length albums, demos, splits, ep's and videos.
Some out there hate to face it that their project may get a negative review; welcome to reality. I'll be the first to admit that there were a lot of negative reviews in At Both Ends, I don't like a lot of what was sent in. Deal with the fact that not everyone enjoys something you've produced.
While I agree with some of the reviews and disagree with others, I find it refreshing to read short honest reviews. The number of reviews is incredible, I won't even start to go into specific albums, just know that there are a lot.

There's no doubt that the records included in this final issue of At Both Ends are a big reason for anyone to purchase it. On one you have the newest recorded material from Bane since their anniversary ep cd I believe. The newest material from Grade since 2001. The other features 2 newer bands, Unrestrained and Between Earth And Sky. It should also be noted that these songs are exclusive to this release and won't be available anywhere else.

Bane - Non-Negotiable/Struck Down By Me (re-recorded)
Non-Negotiable is instantly a new favorite Bane song. It starts out hard and fast and keeps going until just before the end where it slows down and plays perfectly into the intro for Struck Down By Me. What I like most about about Struck Down By Me is the lyrics; questioning every aspect of christian faith and being unapologetic about it.

Grade - These Eyes Are On The Exit/Optical Portions
I'll admit I hadn't really been into Grade until a little over a year ago. That doesn't change the fact that I was really excited to hear some new material from them. Both of the songs are awesome and pick up pretty much where Headfirst Straight To Hell left off. For some reason I like These Eyes Are On The Exit a little more. I really hope Grade continues to write and make more music, these songs are proof that they're still quite good at it.

Unrestrained - Immaculate Deception/Anak Krakatau
Unrestrained comes out hard with a very metal influenced style of hardcore and a singer with a unique and powerful voice. These guys know how do do heavy, fast hardcore, and they do it very well.

Between Earth And Sky - Skin And Stone/Flow
These are definitely the most interesting songs in this release. I've never heard of Between Earth And Sky before this, which is a shame because I really like these guys. It's ironic because I usually don't like talking in songs, but their singer has an excellent narrative voice, not to mention singing voice. The lyrics on both songs are very poetic, especially on Flow. They have a great ability to convey the despair and darkness from their lyrics into the songs themselves. Needless to say, I'm quite excited to hear a lot more from them

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