Metal hammer

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Metal hammer

description Music magazine
language German
publishing company Axel Springer Mediahouse Berlin GmbH ( Germany )
Headquarters Berlin
First edition 1983
Frequency of publication per month
Sold edition 23,324 copies
( IVW  Q4 / 2018)
Editor-in-chief Thorsten Zahn
editor Thorsten Zahn
Web link
ISSN (print)

Metal Hammer is an internationally represented music magazine that has existed since 1983 and specializes in the genres of heavy metal and hard rock . In addition, other “hard” forms of music such as hardcore , punk , alternative rock or crossover are also given attention.

The German edition has been published by Axel Springer Mediahouse Berlin since the editorial team moved from Munich to Berlin in 2010 . Since November 2011 Thorsten Zahn is again the editor-in-chief responsible for the content and also works as publisher. In other countries, for example England , Italy or Greece , Metal Hammer appears in independent editorial offices.



Metal Hammer in 1983 in Germany by Dietmar Wagner (publisher), together with Jürgen Wigginghaus (both also the founder and editor of music scene founded) and did not start as a ground - Fanzine , but as a stand-magazine. The original concept of a global, multi-lingual rock magazine, which as an expanded business model u. a. Elements such as radio broadcasts, concert tours and a lifestyle fan club and awards, was developed by Wilfried F. Rimensberger , then editor-in-chief of the specialist magazine Musik Szene , in London, but officially rejected by Wagner and Wigginghaus as impracticable. He therefore started Metalhammer England alone, is a founding publisher and was the first editor-in-chief of the English edition of Metal-Hammer , and from the start he was the most important foreign correspondent for the German-language Metal-Hammer magazine, in whose development he played a major role in various functions . The impetus was the success of the first heavy metal magazine Kerrang! in England. Rimensberger first discussed his concept of a multilingual rock music magazine with Kerrang! In 1982, which included entry into the German-speaking market as a first step. The talks did not lead to anything and were broken off at the beginning of 1983. Rimensberger now discussed the concept with Wagner and Wigginghaus, who then developed Metal Hammer in Germany. Although both showed interest in Rimensberger's ideas, they ultimately pursued a strategy that initially ruled out Rimensberger's involvement, but who was kept informed of the German plans by Sharon Osbourne and musicians friends from the German metal scene . In January 1984 the first German edition appeared with a circulation of 50,000 copies and 48 pages and had an enormous initial success: the first 25,000 were sold after a short time. At the same time, Rimensberger founded his own Metal Hammer Publishing Limited in England and the international, English-language Metal Hammer Magazine in response to Wigginghaus' and Wagner's approach. To this end, he built up an experienced editorial team in London that consisted of well-known writers such as Harry Doggerty and Tommy Vance, photographers such as Robert Ellis and young, as yet unknown talents such as PJ Brunelli, whose outstanding work also immediately benefited the German-language edition the Rimensberger came to an agreement. Wigginghaus and the just nominated first editor-in-chief Charly Rinne realized that they needed the ideas, international connections and journalistic work of Rimensberger in order to implement the concept in Germany and to be successful against the competition.

The editorial team for the German edition was in Lüdenscheid . The first editor-in-chief of the German edition was Charly Rinne. The then Steeler singer Peter Burtz , also a founding member of Metal Hammer, hid behind various pseudonyms such as Joop Van Nijmwegen, Paul A. Royd or Andreas Weiß . From London, Wilfried Rimensberger also delivered exclusive interviews and insider stories under various pseudonyms, which quickly helped the young magazine gain an international reputation. Rimensberger also spent part of his time every month in Lüdenscheid and later in Dortmund on the German editorial team in order to not only provide editorial support for the editors-in-chief, but also to advise Wigginghaus strategically and to contribute business ideas. A year later, the volume of the German-language edition had doubled and 55,000 copies of the magazine were sold every month. After Charly Rinne was replaced by the trained journalist Reinhard Harms as editor-in-chief in August 1986, the sold circulation of the German edition shot up from 60,000 to 90,000 copies within three months. In 1987, Wilfried Rimensberger sold his Metal-Hammer title rights and the English-language international edition to Wigginghaus, with whom he often had a quarrel because of unprofessional behavior in the German-language edition. Reinhard Harms then became editor-in-chief and from 1988 to 1990 in London, together with the former Melody Maker writer and multiple book author Chris Welch at the head of the UK Metal Hammer editorial team, also ensured that the English edition was printed to over 70,000 copies rose and the original Kerrang! has been brought into serious distress. The outstanding position of the magazine, especially in relation to quickly appearing competing products, was achieved primarily through the English-language edition with global reach and the associated exclusive reports and interviews. For example, Rimensberger's Metal Hammer report on the Rock-in-Rio Festival was co-produced for ZDF and broadcast in an extra program on ZDF SchülerExpress with Metal Hammer and the music scene in a coordinated manner. Large, international festivals like Monsters of Rock at Castle Donington were first presented by Metal Hammer through Rimensberger's connections and cemented the Metal Hammer name among rock fans around the world. The collaboration with MTV (Bailey Brothers) and the BBC ( Tommy Vance -Show), which Rimensberger also arranged, helped the magazine to become a global mouthpiece with a multilingual monthly worldwide sales circulation of over half a million in the second half of the 1980s to become the scene.

Market leader

In September 1985, the soundcheck (see below) was integrated into the magazine for the first time , which Dio won with the album Sacred Heart . On September 14, 1985, the first Metal Hammer Festival took place on the Loreley with around 12,000 visitors, at which the little-known Metallica , Venom and Running Wild performed (other artists: Nazareth , Warlock , Wishbone Ash , Pretty Maids , Heavy Pettin , Savage Grace , Restless , Tyran Pace ). Wilfried F. Rimensberger was again the responsible festival producer, who also organized the video filming of the event with Metallica. Half a year later, Anthrax , Overkill and Agent Steel played the first metal hammer road show. In 1986 Metal Hammer was already the market leader in the German-speaking area and the editorial team moved to Dortmund .

A year later, Wigginghaus had to sell the magazine to the Swiss MVG-Verlag after he had previously fallen out with Rimensberger, who owned the trademark rights to Metal Hammer and MetalHammer UK Limited and, as a puller from London, was also instrumental in the German publication helped to her success and fixed many problems of the German editorial team again and again. Rimensberger sold his shares in Wigginghaus and also introduced him to the owner of the MVG publishing house. Wigginghaus remained the pro forma editor of the magazine, but there was a dispute later. On April 30, 1989, Metal Hammer celebrated its fifth anniversary in Dortmund's Westfalenhalle. Ozzy Osbourne , Warlock and Queensrÿche performed, among others . Under editor-in-chief Peter Burtz, the biweekly publication of the magazine was stopped and changed back to a monthly one. Metal Hammer reached its sales peak with 125,000 copies sold per month. The first video magazine appeared in the summer of 1991. Burtz moved to EMI Electrola in 1992 as A&R Director, where he signed artists such as Paradise Lost, Fury in the Slaughterhouse and Deep Purple.


In 1993 the dispute between Wigginghaus and the MVG publishing house escalated. The editorial team moved to Munich . With Andrea Nieradzik, the German metal hammer magazine relied on a new editor-in-chief who increasingly brought new trends and fashions to the fore. In doing so, the magazine reacted to the changes in the world of hard music, which were not least influenced by the grunge boom. Wigginghaus tried in vain to establish the Headbangers Ball magazine and, after working as a consultant for MTV Europe and building up the rock music concept Phenomena from Munich and London, he worked on the European launch of Audiotex and built the ClubCall information service together with the DFB soccer clubs which was acquired by Springer in 1996 .

From mid-1996 the word “Metal” was printed smaller in the title of Metal Hammer , and at the same time a cooperation with the TV broadcaster VIVA began . With Markus Kavka , a Metal Hammer editor took over the moderation of the metal magazine Metalla . At Metal Hammer itself, more and more “non-metallic” themes appear - in March 1997 the no-doubt singer Gwen Stefani was on the cover, and a few months later Keith Flint from The Prodigy . With the August 1997 issue, the magazine was appropriately renamed New Rock & Metal Hammer , and many metal fans turned away. Andrea Nieradzik stated in the foreword of the issue, however, that the magazine will "no longer go new ways than [...] in the past", but "will continue to do everything [...] to filter the developments and currents of 'hard music' and to give you an overview of what is happening in this area ”. Instead of the previously up to 100,000 copies, only 50,000 copies of the issue, briefly titled Hammer for the January 1998 issue, were sold per month. As of the January 1999 edition, the title was changed to Hard Rock & Metal Hammer .


Robert Müller took over the post of editor-in-chief in May 1998. A year later, MVG-Verlag sold the magazine to Axel Springer Verlag , which integrated Metal Hammer into Axel Springer Mediahouse München GmbH. Since then, Metal Hammer is often referred to as a metal image . However, there are advantages for the magazine. In the coming years there will be a further course correction back to the traditional hard sounds. In 2001, the former Visions editor Thorsten Zahn took over the position of editor-in-chief. Under his leadership, the overdue start of the website (2003) and a year later the magazine was renamed Metal Hammer .


Metal Hammer has lost a lot of circulation in recent years . The sold circulation fell from 65,104 copies in the first quarter of 1998 to 23,324 copies in the fourth quarter of 2018. A decrease of 64.2 percent. Since then, the circulation figures are no longer reported to the IVW .

Development of the number of copies sold
Development of the number of subscribers

editorial staff


  • 1984–1986: Charly Rinne
  • 1986–1987: Reinhard Harms
  • 1987–1990: Edgar Klüsener
  • 1990-1993: Peter Burtz
  • 1993–1998: Andrea Nieradzik
  • 1998–2001: Robert Müller
  • 2001–2010: Thorsten Zahn
  • 2010–2011: Christof Leim
  • since 2011: Thorsten Zahn


In addition to a permanent staff of around ten people, more than 20 freelance authors, including a number of former editorial members, write regular articles. Scott Ian of Anthrax contributed a monthly column from 2004 until 2012. In 2013 Vinnie Paul took over the column. With Christof Leim, Matthias Mineur and Christian Hector, there are also three active musicians in the editorial team, all of whom are on the road as guitarists. Hector was with Midnattsol and now plays with the funeral doom band Ahab , Leim with Sinner and The New Black , among others , Mineur is active with the German melodic metallers Mob Rules .

Issue contents


The structure of the magazine follows a fixed structure. The first pages mainly contain letters to the editor and short messages, but there are also various categories such as the so-called “Track Attack”, in which two musicians comment on and assign pieces of music played to them, and the very intimate “couch”. This is followed by various studio reports in which recordings and listening sessions are reported.

After the up to ten-page cover story, individual bands and musicians are portrayed in interviews or journalistic articles. Specials on band and record company anniversaries or background reports on genre developments follow. Articles on music groups from potentially less mass-market sectors such as death , black metal or grindcore are dealt with in the “Sledgehammer” section.

The “soundcheck” (see below) is followed by the individual reviews of all new releases of the month, a double page is devoted to publications by newcomer bands without a record deal.

Metal Hammer closes with an overview of upcoming concert dates, bsw. Festival dates and various concert reports of the past weeks and months, the last double page belonged to the classifieds for a long time, meanwhile the section "final chord" closes the issue with personal conversations with established big names in the scene.

Sound check

The "soundcheck" is one of the central sections of Metal Hammer . Every month 25 to 30 new publications are graded by a jury of employees (formerly also a musician and a booklet reader). The rating scale ranges from one point ("diarrhea") to seven points ("ideal case"). The album with the highest grade point average is crowned "Album of the Month". The most successful here so far was Ozzy Osbourne , who was six times the winner. So far, only Metallica , Machine Head , In Flames and Rush have won four soundchecks .

The album Master of Puppets by Metallica received the highest average rating to date with 6.86 points. The worst came off the album Up the Dose by the Mentors with an average of 1.00 points. Since the musical taste of the individual jurors has become more and more diverse in recent years, average grades of over 5.50 points are a rarity these days.

No samplers or re-releases will be included in the soundcheck . Furthermore, new publications that are not made available to every jury member will not be considered. The publications that do not appear in the soundcheck are discussed in individual reviews.

CD or DVD insert

Since 1996, the magazine is a promotion - CD named Off Road Tracks at. On these CDs, readers can hear new songs from a wide variety of artists - sometimes weeks before they are released. Because GEMA charges double the fee for songs longer than five minutes, the possibly affected pieces have been faded out after 4:59 minutes for several years. Occasionally video clips were also found on the CDs.

While the first off-road tracks were only included in a partial edition of Metal Hammer and not even with the subscription copies, the CD was later released in all issues every three months, later every two months and since 1999 monthly. With the February 2006 issue, the hundredth issue appeared on DVD , which contains video clips and interviews.

Since issue number 101 (March 2006) of the promotion CD, the name has been changed to Maximum Metal . From then until January 2012 (Maximum Metal Vol. 169) a DVD was included instead of the CD every three months.

Metal hammer album of the year

Since 2004 the editors and freelancers of the Metal Hammer have chosen the album of the year. Each employee creates a list of ten personal favorite discs from the past year. Ten points are awarded for first place, nine for second, and so on. The first album of the year was the 2004 album The End of Heartache by Killswitch Engage .

year Interpreter Album title
2004 Killswitch Engage The End of Heartache
2005 System of a Down Mezmerize
2006 Stone Sour Come What (ever) May
2007 Volbeat Rock the Rebel / Metal the Devil
2008 Metallica Death Magnetic
2009 Alice in Chains Black Gives Way to Blue
2010 Enslaved Axioma Ethica Odini
2011 Machine head Unto the Locust
2012 Creator Phantom Antichrist
2013 Black Sabbath 13
2014 Behemoth The satanist
2015 Slayer Repentless
2016 Amon Amarth Jomsviking
2017 Creator Gods of Violence
2018 Judas Priest Firepower
2019 Rammstein Rammstein

Metal Hammer Awards

The Metal Hammer Awards have been presented annually since 2009 . Bands and musicians can be selected in various categories (such as "Album of the Year", "Metal Anthem of the Year", "God of Riffs") by the readers, the editorial team and a prominent musician jury. The award ceremony took place in 2009 and 2010 at the Wacken Open Air , since 2011 as an independent event with awards ceremony and concerts in Berlin.

The first Metal-Hammer- Awards were already part of Wilfried Rimensberger's original concept of the magazine and were awarded for the first time in 1986 and then annually as part of all Metal-Hammer language editions. Iron Maiden's singer Bruce Dickinson was one of the early winners. The tradition of the awards was ultimately only continued uninterrupted and very successfully by the English edition.

The Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards have been held since 2003 independently of the award ceremony organized by the German Metal Hammer editorial team. The annual award ceremony takes place in Great Britain .

Metal Hammer Paradise

Since 2013 the magazine in cooperation with FKP Scorpio the music festival Metal Hammer Paradise . The venue is the Weißenhäuser Strand holiday park .

Bands 2013

The first edition of the festival took place on November 15 and 16, 2013.

The Answer , Anvil , Behemoth , Belphegor , Dark Age , Deadlock , Der Weg einer Freiheit , Dragonforce , Drone , Dust Bolt , Equilibrium , Grand Magus , Grave Digger , Helloween , In Extremo , Kadavar , Lacuna Coil , Long Distance Calling , My Dying Bride , Orchid , Paradise Lost , Sabaton , Samael , Saxon , Sodom , Tiamat , Unleashed

Bands 2014

The second edition of the festival took place on November 14th and 15th, 2014.

Alpha Tiger , Amorphis , Avatarium , Bombus , Conan , Deserted Fear , Edguy , Erik Cohen , DAD , Doro , Dr. Living Dead! , Entombed AD , Feuerschwanz , Freedom Call , Gamma Ray , Knorkator , Mantar , Mob Rules , Mountain Witch , Napalm Death , Negator , Powerwolf , Reactory , Saltatio Mortis , Satyricon , Sólstafir , UDO , Within Temptation

Bands 2015

The third festival took place on November 13th and 14th, 2015.

At the Gates , Battle Beast , Black Label Society , Bullet , Civil War , Danko Jones , Destruction , Entombed AD , The German Panzer , Graveyard , Gus G. , The Haunted , Helloween , Imperial State Electric , JBO , Kissin 'Dynamite , Moonspell , Opeth , Rage , Sepultura , Subway to Sally , Tankard , Truckfighters

Bands 2016

The fourth edition of the festival took place on November 11th and 12th, 2016. Iced Earth had to cancel their performance at short notice due to the illness of their singer Stu Block and were replaced by Freedom Call.

Almanac , Annihilator , Anvil , Apocalyptica , Blues Pills , Brainstorm , Eric Cohen , Crowbar , Dew-Scented , Dirkschneider , Enslaved , Equilibrium , Freedom Call , Grand Magus , Die Kassierer , Lost Society , Mantar , Uncle Tom , Overkill , Pentagram , Pretty Maids , Primal Fear , Ram , Saxon , Schandmaul , Secrets of the Moon , Stallion , Sulfur Aeon , Year of the Goat

Bands 2017

The fifth edition of the festival took place on November 10th and 11th, 2017.

Amaranthe , Axxis , Battle Beast , Beyond the Black , Blue Sky Theory , The Charm the Fury , Dawn of Disease , Death Angel , Diablo Blvd , Doro , Eluveitie , Evil Invaders , Feuerschwanz , Grand Magus , Helrunar , Katatonia , Kissin 'Dynamite , Kreator , Majesty , Orden Ogan , Paradise Lost , Powerwolf , Pyogenesis , Rezet , Samael , Saturnus , Testament , Thundermother

Bands 2018

The sixth edition of the festival took place on November 2nd and 3rd, 2018. Cyhra had to cancel at short notice and was replaced by Nailed to Obscurity.

Accept , Die Apokalyptischen Reiter , Armored Saint , Bloodred Hourglass , Bullet , Dead Lord , Deserted Fear , Elvellon , Kadavar , Leaves' Eyes , Monolord , Mr. Hurley & die Pulveraffen , Nailed to Obscurity , Night Demon , The Night Flight Orchestra , Axel Rudi Pell , Portrait , Rhapsody of Fire , Ross the Boss , Skull Fist , Sun of the Sleepless , Tiamat , The Unity , Wintersun

Bands 2019

The sixth edition of the festival took place on November 8th and 9th, 2019.

Amorphis , Bonded , Burning Witches , Eric Cohen , Destruction , Dust Bolt , Gloryhammer , Grailknights , Grand Magus , Grave Digger , JBO , Khemmis , Kissin 'Dynamite , Mister Misery , Motorowl , The New Roses , Nine Eyes Nation , Uncle Tom Angelripper , Powerwolf , Primal Fear , Riot V , Sacred Reich , Saltatio Mortis , Savage Messiah , Steel Panther , Supernova Plasmajets , Unleashed , Visions of Atlantis


  • The live album Adrenalin by the band Die Apokalyptischen Reiter was only released as a bonus CD of the Metal-Hammer edition 9/2009 and was / is not otherwise available for purchase at first hand.
  • The album "Maximum Plague" by the doom metal band Paradise Lost was also only released in Metal Hammer (May 2015 edition). In addition to exclusive live recordings, there are still unreleased songs from the album "The Plague Within ".
  • The German thrash metal band Kreator released the live album "Live Antichrist" exclusively with Metal Hammer issue 02/2017. It concluded the tour cycle of the album "Phantom Antichrist" and served as preparation for the upcoming work "Gods Of Violence" .
  • There were other CD supplements with some exclusive and rare songs from Slash , Sabaton , Arch Enemy , Blind Guardian and Nightwish .
  • For the 20th anniversary of the Metallica Black Album in 2011, the Metal Hammer came with a special edition on the history of the album and a tribute CD. Various internationally successful bands such as Finntroll , DevilDriver , Callejon and Borknagar each covered a song from the black album . This tribute CD is only available with the September 2011 edition of Metal Hammer and is not available in stores. In 2013 a tribute CD followed for the 30th anniversary of Metallica's debut Kill 'Em All , later also for the albums "Master Of Puppets" and "Ride The Lightning" .
  • There were similarly maintained tribute samplers for the bands Iron Maiden (in issue 05/2017), Slayer (07/2016), Judas Priest (04/2019) and AC / DC (12/2019).
  • For the first time a record was included with Metal Hammer issue 04/2016: Amon Amarth exclusively released a 7 "vinyl with the songs 'At Dawn's First Light' and 'First Kill' shortly before the corresponding album " Jomsviking "was released .
  • This was followed by vinyl inserts from Judas Priest, from Motörhead to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the albums "Overkill" and "Bomber" and from Kiss. The latter was released as a collector's item for fans in four different colors.
  • At the beginning of 2012 the special edition History of Metal was published with an overview of 40 years of metal history, genre specials, interviews with musicians and makers as well as reprints of old articles and album reviews from the Metal Hammer. The special edition, expanded to include multimedia features, is also available as an app for the iPad, making it a pioneering piece for the magazine.
  • Under the title "Das Archiv - Rewind", all editions of Metal Hammer as well as the magazines Musikexpress and Rolling Stone published by the same publisher were scanned and digitized and are completely available online as part of a branded subscription.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Thorsten Zahn is returning to METAL HAMMER as editor-in-chief
  2. Metal Hammer launches interactive iPad app and print special
  3. a b c Tom Küppers: The early makers . Between success and failure. In: Metal Hammer . Axel Springer Mediahouse, Berlin August 2010, p. 43 .
  4. Andrea Nieradzik: The metal is gone! . In: New Rock & Metal Hammer , No. 8, 1997, p. 3.
  5. Thorsten Zahn: Metal is back! . In: Metal Hammer , May 2004, p. 3.
  6. ^ Metal Hammer
  7. according to IVW , fourth quarter in each case ( details on )
  8. according to IVW , fourth quarter in each case ( details on )
  9. Orange Amplification presents The Metal Hammer Golden Gods 2015 in association with World Of Warships . develop-online. June 15, 2015. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved July 22, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. MARILYN MANSON, LEMMY, MURDERDOLLS Attend METAL HAMMER Awards: Photos Available . BLABBERMOUTH.NET. June 5, 2003. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  11. ESP Bands Dominate Golden Gods Nominations . ESP guitars . March 25, 2015. Accessed July 22, 2015.
  12. New album MAXIMUM PLAGUE from Paradise Lost only in the May issue of METAL HAMMER . In: Metal Hammer . April 24, 2015 ( [accessed July 23, 2017]).
  13. Kreator release live album LIVE ANTICHRIST . In: Metal Hammer . January 5, 2017 ( [accessed July 23, 2017]).
  14. Order a magazine . In: Metal Hammer . ( [accessed on July 23, 2017]).
  16. Judas Priest: World exclusive 7 ″ vinyl in METAL HAMMER March issue. January 25, 2018, accessed on January 22, 2020 (German).
  17. Unique Motörhead collector's item: vinyl single with two unreleased cult recordings! November 28, 2018, accessed on January 22, 2020 (German).
  18. KISS collector's bundle - all four vinyl colors “THE DEMON, THE SPACEMAN, THE CATMAN and THE STARCHILD” with METAL HAMMER 07/19. In: Abo / Shop. Retrieved January 22, 2020 (German).