Rock hard

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Rock hard
description Magazine about rock and metal music
Area of ​​Expertise music
language German
publishing company Rock Hard Publishing and Trading GmbH
First edition 1983
Frequency of publication per month
Editor-in-chief Michael Rensen, Boris Kaiser
editor Holger Stratmann
Web link
ISSN (print)

Rock Hard is a monthly music magazine based in Dortmund . Over 300 issues have appeared since September 1983. Holger Stratmann is the founder and publisher . It is dedicated to all styles of rock and metal . The booklet contains reviews of current publications, concert reports, interviews and other categories. For Rockhard are now part of the same, independent branch in Brazil, France, Greece, Italy and Spain. The editor-in-chief of the magazine was Götz Kühnemundwho was last responsible for the February 2014 edition. Since February 2014 Boris Kaiser and Michael Rensen have been two long-time employees in the editor-in-chief. They are supported by publisher Holger Stratmann (since viSdP ) and Thomas Kupfer (coordination). According to the publisher, the topics are worked out in "teamwork".

The magazine used to appear bimonthly and switched to a monthly rhythm in 1989.


The name comes from a song from the album "The Rods" (1981) by the American band The Rods . It is also the reverse of the genre name Hard Rock . The founders saw Rock Hard over other evaluated names, such as B. Paranoid (like Black Sabbath's song of the same name and current at the time ) has the advantage of timelessness, although it is sometimes claimed that the name comes from a vibrator called Rock Hard, a British sex toy company .

In issue 278 (July 2010) it is stated, however, that the name is derived from a song by the NWoBHM band Raven .


1983 to 1984

Editor Holger Stratmann (2016)

Uwe Lerch and today's publisher Holger Stratmann decided in 1983 to publish a German magazine for heavy metal based on the Dutch model Aardschok . The two school friends Stratmann and Lerch got to know the later editor-in-chief of Rock Hard , Götz Kühnemund, through the classifieds of an Aardschok magazine that had been translated into German . At that time he still published his own magazine called Metal Maniacs .

During the Metal Hammer as a kiosk magazine with a circulation of 50,000 copies - of which the first 25,000 sold immediately - launched, started Rock Hard as underground - Fanzine . The first three rock-hard magazines (No. 1 to No. 3) comprised about twenty pages and an edition of about 110 copies for a price of 3.00 DM in record shops  in the Dortmund area . They were not printed, but photocopied .

The first magazine contained a Japan special, concert reports on the bands Bullet and Accept , a Black Sabbath story, the text for the song "Victim of Changes" by Judas Priest , the introduction of the then newcomer Savage and various record reviews. The record of the month was Kill 'Em All by Metallica . A reprint of the first edition was enclosed on the occasion of the anniversary of edition 200 (December 2003).

Number two included a report on the Monsters of Rock festival , as well as reports on the bands Scorpions , Saxon , Viva and Demon Eyes . Lyrics for Iron Maiden and a special for the Newcastle music label Neat Records . The album of the month was Guilty as Charged by Culprit . A reprint of this edition was included in edition 203 (March 2004).

The third edition was equipped with a Metal Blade Records special from Uwe Lerch covering the entire discography of the time. The still valid rating for the album rating was defined.

Since the magazine Metal Maniacs of the later Rock-Hard editor -in- chief Götz Kühnemund was being printed for the first time, the editorial team at the time decided to have Rock Hard print no . Rock Hard has been published as a printed magazine since this issue . Since both magazines were displayed in the same shops and had the same circulation, Stratmann and Kühnemund worked together from mid-1984.

The fifth rock-hard edition bears the logo of the graphic artist Joe Däweritz of the small print shop Vario , which is still in use today . It was also first printed on glossy paper. There were reports about Venom , Savage and Metallica and specials about the metal scene in Germany and Shrapnel Records .

Since the sixth issue (June 1, 1984) the magazine Metal Maniacs and Rock Hard merged to a common medium. Since this issue, the rock-hard magazine has become known in the US underground and is the go-to place for young bands.

1984 to 1987

In the next editions there were gradual extensions. So were z. B. Headings were introduced and the booklet was designed more professionally and produced in a larger printing house. Posters were also enclosed. Issue No. 16 has already been printed in an edition of 3,500 copies. At the end of 1985 the first compilation LP was released by Roadrunner Records with the title "Teutonic Invasion". But this was not a great success. Rock Hard No. 19 included the first Destruction A2 poster . The advertising market for new labels such as Roadrunner , Steamhammer and Noise Records also improved . The better cooperation with the labels also made it easier for the editors to access information, records and interviews.

During this time (issue 19) the editorial team changed: Founding member Uwe Lerch left the magazine and became a promoter at Roadrunner. Götz Kühnemund took a job at Metal Hammer and Holger Stratmann began studying and also earned money by writing “Crash” for the Musikexpress offshoot. The new members of the editorial team, Wolfgang Schäfer and Thomas Kupfer, came for this . Because of the many sideline activities of the editorial team, Rock Hard could not develop any further and a professional distribution company was therefore sought so that awareness could grow beyond the underground. Holger Stratmann also wanted to devote himself more to rock hard again , since the merger of Metal Hammer and Crash would have resulted in a monopoly without Rock Hard . Issue No. 24 (December 1987) was produced by Inland Presse Vertrieb with a print run of 10,000 copies and sold in station kiosks and record stores.

1988 to 1989

Issue no. 25 also supplies the remaining kiosks. Rock Hard received a larger readership and could triple its circulation by the end of 1988. The well runs T-Shirt -Sales good. Since then there has been a new shirt every year. Such a t-shirt appears in the Beastie Boys video of "Fight for your Right (to Party)".

The Swiss Chris Leibundgut becomes the Los Angeles correspondent and can thus supply the magazine's news page.

In 1989 Götz Kühnemund came back to the rock-hard editorial team. Frank Albrecht was also employed with him . At the end of the 1980s, the editors rent their first office in Dortmund.

1990 to 2000

In 1991 two editors took part in a music fair outside of Europe for the first time. Frank Albrecht and Götz Kühnemund visit the “Foundations Forum” in Los Angeles . The magazine opened up to new styles of music such as grunge or crossover , and finally, alongside Slayer, rapper Ice-T landed on the cover of issue 80. After the xenophobic incidents in Rostock and Solingen and the subsequent allegations against the heavy metal scene, that became Issue more political. This was followed by an argument with Peter Steele of Type O Negative , after Steele had used the word " Untermensch " several times and the band's concerts were hindered by left-wing groups, followed by a written apology from Steele in Rock Hard . Due to negative media coverage, which mentioned right-wing rock bands in the same breath as most of the non-political metal bands, the magazine supported the “Sieg Heil - ohne uns!” Campaign initiated by several independent labels .

The magazine's open sympathy for the band Böhse Onkelz caused a lot of controversy when the Frankfurt band finally and expressly broke away from the right-wing camp in 1991. The 1990s were overshadowed by reports of murders in the metal scene: In 1993 a metal fan was beaten to death by skinheads in Hoyerswerda , and in the same year the then members of the band Absurd (then not yet right-wing extremist) murdered a classmate in Sondershausen .

Due to the numerous hostilities from the Christian-conservative camp, especially from the Saarland teacher Christa Jenal , the magazine was forced to take various self-censorship measures from the mid-1990s. Various covers and advertisements, which the editors believed were inhuman or glorifying violence, were no longer printed, and a cover story with Slayer was deleted after Slayer singer and bassist Tom Araya spoke about the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet .

The content of the magazine has also changed. In the mid-1990s it had grown to over 170 pages, there were columns on various genres of heavy metal, the editorial staff placed more emphasis on marketing and the first CDs appeared as a booklet with “Gods of Grind”. From 1996 the so-called “dynamite CDs” followed regularly, containing audio samples of those bands that had made it to the top 10 in the magazine's record reviews. In 1991 the first RockHard video appeared, for this purpose a separate production company called Rock Visions GmbH was founded. But after just over 10 issues, the project was discontinued.

In 1996 the Rock Hard editorial team published the book Rock Hard Encyclopedia , which contains interesting facts about numerous interesting rock and metal bands.

In 1997 the website was launched under the direction of Hansi Daberger. The first sampler from the series “Unheard of! The best bands without a deal ”with a circulation of 100,000 pieces.

From 2001 onwards

With the French edition, the first international branch of the magazine came out in the summer of 2001. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the magazine, the Rock Hard Festival was held in 2003 . Originally this should only take place once, but was repeated due to its great success and has been taking place annually since 2004. The 250th issue of the rock hard magazine was published in March 2008 as an anniversary campaign in A3 format. This campaign was repeated with the 300th edition, which was also published in A3 format in April 2012.

With Terror Prevails - Live at Rock Hard Festival by the German thrash metal band Kreator, a so far unique action is the addition of a live CD to a music magazine. The album was included in the Rock Hard edition from December 2010 and became a Recorded at the Rock Hard Festival 2010 almost six months earlier. It did not appear in stores elsewhere and was therefore only available through the magazine. In May 2012, the second part of the concert was included in the booklet on CD.

On January 8, 2014, the magazine announced that editor-in-chief Götz Kühnemund was leaving the editorial team. The separation was "amicable and amicable" because "the ideas about the future of Rock Hard [..] are too far apart". Instead of Kühnemund, publisher Holger Stratmann will be responsible for the content together with Boris Kaiser and Michael Rensen. It was also announced that Frank Albrecht and Andreas Himmelstein will leave the editorial team. According to the publisher Holger Stratmann, the separation from the two editors took place for “purely economic reasons”. In the Rock Hard online forum and on Facebook , other employees have announced that they will be leaving the editorial team. Götz Kühnemund founded a new magazine called Deaf Forever , in which Albrecht, Himmelstein and other former rock-hard editors are involved.

Circulation statistics

Number of issues sold each month

Number of copies sold monthly by subscription

International editions


A French rock-hard magazine has been published in France since June 2001 and is published by Grands Malades Editions SARL . It is written by the photographers and journalists Marc Villalonga and Philippe Lageat , who have already gained experience in other magazines. The editorial team also includes the journalists Stéphane Auzilleau , Bruno Bages , Benji , Sandrine Kowalik , Isabelle Le Maguet , Bertrand Pourcheron and Morgan Rivalin .

The magazine has the same categories as the German edition and now also has its own categories such as œil de verre (translated: glass eye ), de l'art et du cochon (translated: of art and mess ; a category that goes into more detail on a record which was judged by the editors as particularly successful or particularly bad) and métalthèque idéale (translated: the ideal metal counter ; a section that presents the best albums per genre).

The editorial team is 100% independent. Unlike many similar magazines in France, they can be entirely self-funding through ads and sales.

The French-language Rock Hard is sold in France, Belgium , Switzerland , Luxembourg and Canada .


Due to the bankruptcy of the Rocksound publishing house , the entire editorial team decided to independently publish the monthly magazine Rockzone . The Spanish version of Rock Hard is published by part of this editorial team. The Spanish magazine is dedicated to both international and Spanish artists.

Brazil / Portugal

The magazine has existed in Brazil since 2006. It is the result of a merger of the Valhalla magazine , which was founded ten years ago. A large number of articles from the German edition are translated and only a few are self-written. The Brazilian edition is the metal magazine with the largest circulation in South America. It is also distributed in Portugal.


Rock Hard is published in Italy by the graduated economists and metal fans Luca Barigione and Marco Ardemagni . The Italian magazine has become more and more important and influential since its inception, eventually becoming a major sponsor of the Gods of Metal festival in 2006. The Italian version is distributed in Italy and Austria .


An issue has been published in Greece since December 2005. The initiators are Sakis Fragos and Dimitris Seirinakis . This edition is a very independent edition with its own sections such as remember tomorrow (comparison of older and current band photos), horoscope metal (a humorous section) and blast from the past (chronological review of different albums by a band that are at least ten years old) . The Greek edition is distributed in Greece and the Republic of Cyprus .


  • Since 1993, some of the Rock Hard employees have been running their own rock band called Randalica , which is to be understood as a parody of the music scene.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. RockHard: Imprint .
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Holger Stratmann, 1983 to 1991: The definitive rock hard history! in Rock Hard, No. 50, May 1991
  3. Rock Hard 278, July 2010, p. 44.
  4. a b Tom Küppers: The early makers. Between success and failure . In: Metal Hammer . Axel Springer Mediahouse, Berlin August 2010, p. 43 .
  5. a b c d e f g Holger Stratmann: Chronicle of madness . In: Rock Hard . No. 200 .
  6. a b Background information on the Rock Hard Festival ,, accessed on February 13, 2011
  7. 250th RH edition in large format! ( Memento of the original from February 17, 2011 on WebCite ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ,, accessed on February 13, 2011 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Rock Hard - Edition 300 in XXL format ,, accessed on June 19, 2012
  9. a b c Kreator live album as an exclusive rock hard addition ,, accessed on February 13, 2011
  10. a b online editorial team: Götz Kühnemund and Rock Hard split up., January 8, 2014, accessed January 9, 2014 .