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Music Magazine Analysis

1: Metal Hammer

2: Kerrang!

3: Q

Magazine Cover - This magazine came with a plastic cover, due to the free gifts. This plastic cover featured the pull quote (“we can’t grieve forever!”) and cover lines that would normally be contained in the left third; this magazine breaks conventions, by placing the cover lines in a section in the bottom half of the magazine (possibly because the Avenged Sevenfold logo takes up some of the front cover). - The skyline and cover lines both draw our attention to the free gifts – a Megadeth book, a free CD, a free ticket and an Iron Maiden Sticker. This would appeal to some readers, but also causes us to need to look inside the magazine to find out what is on offer. The only details of the stories inside are those of the Avenged Sevenfold cover story, and Dimmu Borgir’s new album. - The cover also contains two logos – the Avenged Sevenfold Deathbat, and Iron Maiden’s Eddie, which would attract fans of both bands to the magazine. - The masthead is in the typical ‘Metal Hammer’ font, with Hammer being the largest word, and made to look as though it is made out of metal. As a reader of this magazine, I understand that the font changes depending on the issue, to best fit with the design brief for the main image on the cover. In this issue, with the masthead being made out of metal and marked with bullet-holes, it fits with the general theme of chaos and destruction. - The skyline is accompanied by an image, to specify who the Megadeth book is actually about. It also reassures the reader that the product is 100% official, alongside the statistic at the end of the skyline.

Main Image -The cover photograph for this magazine serves as the main image, both behind and in front of the plastic cover. I chose to scan it separately so as to c0mment on some of the features of the image. -The lighter on the cover fits well with the idea of an explosion, and as it looks as though it has been thrown by M. Shadows, suggesting that the band caused the explosion. It also features the band’s logo, furthering this suggestion, and the birth and death year of their recently-deceased drummer, which could give greater meaning to the significance of the lighter and/or the explosion. - The road reads ‘Route 666’, which is not only a pun on ‘Route 66’, but this, coupled with the fiery imagery of the photograph, could suggest a personal hell for the band. However, the idea of causing chaos could also hail back to the band’s previous reputation as typical ‘bad boys’; this could connote two things. First, it may serve to reassure fans of the band that they will still remain faithful to their roots musically, and will not sell out. However, it could also symbolise the band ‘destroying’ their past, and shaking their bad boy reputations out of respect for their deceased drummer. I think that the second option seems far more likely, as the band are not in the midst of the explosion, they are walking away from it. - In terms of gender, the band is positioned in a typically masculine way; there are threatening undertones to the images, such as in the band’s facial expressions, which again relate to the idea of causing destruction, as well as the band’s precious image. Avenged Sevenfold, until this point, have typically been known for their ‘alpha male’ behaviour, which is portrayed in the pose, the expression, and even the inclusion of the motorbikes in the background.

Contents Page -The contents page differs from the imagery and colour scheme of the cover, but keeps to a set scheme of predominantly red, white and black. The articles are in black text set on a white back ground with red page numbers, and the letter from the editor inverses this, to draw attention to each depending on what the reader wants to know. - Some of the main features of the magazine are set out below the page numbering and what is in the magazine. The two main stories feature photographs of a part of the double page spread, which could be a device used to draw the audience in. - The font used on this page is a bold serif font, which is both blocky and eroded. In print, it demands attention when set against the smaller, sans serif font that the letter from the editor and feature information uses, by way of being slightly larger, and much bolder. - In terms of images, the page features two people holding up the ‘devil horns’ hand gesture, which is a gesture commonly associated with metal and metal concerts. The male in the larger ‘devil horns’ image is also wearing Kiss make-up, which may hark back to the fact that the magazine aims to combine classic metal with contemporary. - The letter from the editor is not titled as such, but instead is named ‘The Dark Lord Speaks’, which helps to establish a more informal relationship with the reader. The headline reads ‘We Are Winning’, which is inclusive and gives a sense of unity – printed in the same eroded serif font, it similarly draws attention and may even give a warlike feeling to the headline. There is a sense of the reader being invited to read the letter by way of this inclusion.

Double Page Spread 1 -This double page spread is actually part of a larger, 4-page article. However, this page contains the main body of text from the article. - The Avenged Sevenfold logo is placed in the corner, with two images of the band above the text, and a framed quote from a band member at the bottom. The quote, and dropcaps for the text, are written in the same old-English style font, which is congruous with classic representations of heavy metal music. - Similar to the contents page, the main colour scheme of the article is red, white and black. The white set on black stands out, and the red is used for the questions the band have been asked, in order to contrast with the piece about the band itself, and the answers given by the band members. - The image at the top of the page is an action shot of the band’s lead guitarist, Synyster Gates, throwing a ball, and the caption tells us that they are winding down between live shows, telling the reader that the band is touring at present. - Zacky Vengeance uses two expletives in his quote, suggesting either discomfort or distaste for the band’s recent acclaim. It may also express him repelling the idea that the band are at their best since they lost their drummer. - The tone of the article is reminiscent to begin with, and the language and tone is used to evoke emotion in the audience. The opening line ‘There are reminders of him everywhere’ makes it clear that the theme of death is going to be present throughout, but the images also reassure the reader that there will also be lighter moments in the article.

Double Page Spread 2 -This half of the double page spread serves as the main image for the article. This photograph and the quote from Zacky Vengeance on the first page are related, as he is the main feature of the photograph. - This relation can also be drawn from the fact that Zacky’s expression is relatively solemn. This also helps to highlight the band’s recent loss of their drummer, The Rev. However, the ‘film strip’ style montage set along the right edge of the picture contrasts with this – lead singer M. Shadows is shown laughing after hitting a home run in these photographs, which does not suggest grief. - The way Zacky is positioned in the shot is also at odds with the rest of the shoot. On the previous page, both of the shots used were action shots, and the film strip photographs are also a montage of action photography. Zacky, however, is shown deliberately posed, kneeling down with his hands resting on a baseball bat. I think that this pose was intentional, and was also used to showcase the fact that he has a tribute tattoo to The Rev on his neck. - The caption reads ‘Zacky: ready to demolish things’ which is congruous both with his use of expletives in his quote, and the cover image. It may also link back to the idea of the band leaving their bad boy past behind; the way Zacky is dressed in this image may also communicate this. His hair is slicked back and he is wearing a white t-shirt with a red-chequered shirt on top, which is not wholly a look we would associate with metal. - In terms of this image in relation to the main image on the cover, the two are very different. While the band is posed in a baseball stadium playing sports here, the main image showcases images of destruction.

Magazine Cover - Kerrang! Often breaks the conventions of magazine covers, by placing its main images in the centre of the cover, with cover lines accompanied by other photographs. This has become conventional for Kerrang! - The skyline remains fairly standard, layered on top of the typical Kerrang! Font, which sometimes changes colour depending on the scheme of the cover. Like the issue of Metal Hammer, the skyline is accompanied by a photograph. - The band name, ‘Stone Sour’ is in a mustard yellow font which complements the greens in the background, and on Corey Taylor’s hat. The size of the font is almost as large as the masthead, meaning when it is combined with the main image, it catches the reader’s attention. - The pull quote is not actually a quote from an article, but reads ‘at home with Corey Taylor!’ which would certainly appeal to long-term fans of both Stone Sour and his other project, Slipknot, as prior to 2005, Corey Taylor’s reputation was anything but homely. - It is not surprising that Stone Sour feature as the main article in the September issue as they are due to tour – the interview has obviously been arranged to co-incide with both this, and the release of their latest album ‘Audio Secrecy’. - In terms of gender, there is some irony in the main image. Taylor is dressed in an apron (although one could argue that the skill motif on the apron give it a masculine edge) and holding a spatula; two things we would more commonly associate with women. The image is also a non-threatening one, as Taylor is smiling, further reinforcing the pull quote – “at home with Corey Taylor” We can also see a barbecue and large garden behind him, which continues the idea of this article being a more welcoming and lightearted one.

Contents Page -The top half of the contents page is taken up by a large image of fans at the Reading and Leeds Festival, 2010. This is confirmed by the paint splatter with this information written in it. - The Reading and Leeds photograph displays several fans with smiles upon their faces. The fan who dominates the image has bright blue tattoos, and a bright yellow and red hat, and is making a ‘thumbs up’ gesture, all of which connote that he is having a good time. This invites the reader to find out what was so good ab out the Reading and Leeds festival this year. - In a similar fashion to Metal Hammer, there are images of the featured articles alongside the contents. Another similarity is the presence of black on white with one or two other colours added (in this case, yellow is the predominant colour), in a bold, eye-catching font. The yellow subheadings for contents categories are yellow on black because yellow on its own would not have the same impact. - There is also an advertisement for subscription in the bottom right corner, this time on red, which catches the reader’s attention. - The letter from the editor has no title, which aids the informal relationship between reader and editor – it is as though the reader is expected to know the editor, and know him from his picture. This also establishes the fact that this magazine has a following and readership, and seems to have had one for quite some time. - The names of the bands under the subheadings are also written in a bold font, whereas the feature descriptions are not as large, or bold, so it is clear that the names are designed to draw in the reader.

Double Page Spread 1 -Like the main image, the images on this part of the double page spread suggest a light hearted atmosphere. The first image shows Taylor and bassist Shawn Economaki in the kitchen, with Economaki smiling and Taylor putting mustard on a hot dog – this explains the barbecue in the main image, too. - The bottom left image is a black and white image of Taylor, once again, smiling and reclining in his chair, looking relaxed. The caption reads: ‘Corey: Older, wiser, but still as badly dressed as ever’, furthering the comedic nature of the article, but also giving reason for the image being black and white; the idea of Taylor being ‘older and wiser’ is almost connoted in the archaic nature of the photograph. - The tone of the article itself does not begin in such a comedic way, and the purpose is to set the scene. The journalist writes about travelling through Des Moines, Iowa, and describes the setting around Taylor’s house. The article quickly becomes more light hearted as it goes on, with many references made to family life, sharing jokes, friends, and other wholesome, and perhaps typical American suburban things. - In some ways, this could be construed as ironic, given Taylor’s wider reputation as the lead vocalist of Slipknot. This association could lead to a wider readership, however, because of its stark contrast to Taylor’s reputation, pre-2005. Fans and readers will, more than likely, want to find out what kind of person Taylor has become, and how he has done so. People may also have bought this issue of the magazine in light of Slipknot bassist, Paul Gray’s, recent death.

Double Spread 2 2 DoublePage Page Spread - In keeping with the photography on the previous page, there are two colour photographs and one in black and grey on this page of the double page spread. However, The black and grey photograph is not used to portray a more sombre mood here. - The actual tone of the article continues in a good humoured manner, and includes themes of togetherness and family. We are told of each band member’s arrival (with the exception of Jim Root), as well as Taylor being surrounded by friends and family members. There is also a rapidity to the way in which the writer of the article explains Taylor’s method of speaking; he is quoted in extended sentences, the lack of full stops and abundance of commas enhancing the fact that he is skipping from sentence to sentence. - When reasoning why he is actually at Taylor’s house, the writer also informs us of the release of the band’s new album, Audio Secrecy. This helps to open the release up to a wider audience, especially if people were initially reading the article to find out more about Slipknot, and whether or not they will continue. - In the picture on the right of the page, Taylor is smiling good-naturedly, and holding a spatula over a barbecue filled with burgers. This could be seen to represent some homely connotations about the change in Taylor’s lifestyle, as he is wearing an apron and looking ready to cook, but he is also wearing a helmet, which suggest defence, or even a more militant attitude. It may suggest that he intends to continue to fight, and , as he is wearing it alongside his apron, may help to represent the two different sides to Taylor that his fans have come to know.

Magazine Cover -This cover is fairly straightforward, and it is not at all chaotic. The masthead (the white ‘Q’ on a red background) is a recognisable one, and stands out against the white background. The fact that there are no real cover lines or pull quotes also establishes the idea that Q needs no conformation from its readers, and has a dedicated following. - Similarly, the skyline confirms this by stating that it is ‘The UK’s biggest music magazine’, therefore ensuring that Q does not need to use pull quotes in order to gain a readership. - In spite of this, the cover does feature the name of the featured artist, printed in a sans serif, strong silver font. Underneath the name ‘The Prodigy’, however, there is also a line that tells the reader that this is an ‘exclusive subscribers-only issue’, which would further explain the lack of cover lines and pull quotes. - The subject of the photograph, Keith Flint, is placed in a distinctive pose, and both the megaphone and cracked ground beneath him connote noise; this is not surprising, given that The Prodigy are icons of rave, kicked against the stereotypes and were regarded as ‘bad boys’ – everything about the photograph helps to connote this, including the white vest that Flint is wearing, which gives greater exposure to his tattoos. Similarly, his hair is styled in a mohawk, and there are many studs and chains on his belt, enhancing this. - The colour scheme for this cover is very simple, in keeping with the distinctive shades of black, white and grey, with only the masthead and some aspects of Flint’s clothing adding colour to the composition.

Contents Page 1 -The contents page in Q covers two pages. - For the most part, these two pages are predominantly covered by a main image of The Prodigy, emphasising the fact that they are the main feature of this issue. - The actual contents and page numbers, as well as description of what is in the issue, are written in a serif font, which helps to establish the fact that Q is a wellknown magazine, and also gives it a slightly more sophisticated edge. This could also serve to encourage readers and to convince them that they will get a very good quality interview in this magazine. - The image of Keith Flint correlates with the image on the front cover of the magazine, with a greater emphasis on the idea of ‘making noise’, due to his pose with the megaphone. - While some of the contents are named – with Sting, Green Day and Pop Babylon being listed down the side, all that it on the photograph of Flint is the page number. This could, again, reference the front cover of the magazine considering the name of the group, ‘The Prodigy’, was printed on the cover. - There is an inset image of Pop Babylon on the bottom left corner of the page. The description of the feature takes some of the most ostentatious headlines of the current events at the time, which is then used as a device to draw the reader in, surprise and/or shock them, and therefore, ensure that they are entertained by the content.

Contents Page 2 - The second page of the contents mirrors the first page – this time, the name of the features run down the right side of the page. -A variation of different images replace the image of Flint, introducing the reader to some other features of the magazine. There are screenshots taken from some of the articles, in a similar way to both Metal Hammer and Kerrang!, which also entices the reader, especially if the headline is eye-catching. - The top left image of Billy Joe Armstrong also coincides with the first page of contents, and causes the reader to question what he is doing in the photograph, thus drawing a response. - While the first page of the contents served to consist mainly of the issue-specific features, such as the interview with The Prodigy and features on both Sting and Green Day, this page is centred around the regulars that readers have come to expect from Q. There are more regulars than there are special features, which again, suggests the well-established nature of Q. - The contents pages keep the same house style as the front page of the magazine throughout. This style is more explicit in its similarities than Kerrang! And is much more evident than in Metal Hammer – the font remains consistent, and the colour scheme is strict with simple red, white, black save for the colour in the photographs.

Double Page Spread 1 -In keeping with the house style of the cover and contents pages, the double page spread uses the same red, black, white colour scheme. It also makes use of a large image at the bottom, the first of which displays member of The Prodigy, Maxim Reality. - The actual theme of the main image in this spread is also in-keeping with the cover. Maxim is holding a megaphone on this page, as Flint was on the front cover, and looks to be yelling into it in much the same way as Flint was. - The tone of the article is initially somewhat archaic, as the writer explains how The Prodigy are ‘reflecting on their summer’. This also helps to add quite a positive tone to the article itself, and we can assume that this will not be too negative. At the same time, it does not sound sycophantic, and we get the impression that the writer is much more familiar with the group than he is trying to establish a relationship with them. - As the article goes on, however, it begins to sound much more defiant. The Prodigy explain how they supported Metallica, but also cite their own music as being ‘the toughest music’ – through stereotypical representation, this could be seen as odd, considering Metallica are a very well established name in metal, which is always associated with being a ‘tough’ and ‘heavy’ genre of music. - The image also matches the content of the article, with members of The Prodigy using expletives throughout – this connotes, once again, the idea of them being ‘bad boys’, and they explicitly state that they do not care what anyone else thinks.

Double Page Spread 2 -The main image on this half of the double page spread features Keith Flint in very much the same pose as Maxim was. The caption tells us, rather sarcastically, that they are ‘in the act of crafting another delicate ballad’, which adds comedy value to the image. - The tone of the article continues on in much the same vein, with expletives used, references to debauchery, and later in the article, the writer states that ‘Mostly, though, they spent 18 months getting drunk.’ This underpins the same idea of chaos and debauchery that was associated with The Prodigy throughout the 90s, and also helps to justify the earlier comment about them, essentially, being heavier than Metallica. - There are also references to other famous rock bands inserted into the article, most notably a quote from Dave Grohl about The Prodigy being ‘better than Nirvana ever were’ – as Nirvana were grunge icons during the early 90s, this serves to aid the defiant nature of the article by placing The Prodigy above such icons. - The black background of the main image coupled with the article being printed on white gives a stark contrast between them, but also makes the article visually notable and difficult to miss. I feel as though this style is consistent throughout Q, and as it is such a well established magazine, it does not need to go overboard with the themes and props in photo shoots. The simplicity of much of the magazine is justified by its status in the magazine industry.

Music Magazine Analysis  
Music Magazine Analysis  

An analysis of three music magazine covers.