Chronicles of Chaos: 20-Year-Old Extreme Webzine Halts the Charge Today

Staying alive for twenty years can be a daunting proposition.  If you’re an ant, a chicken or even a goat, that shit’s just not in the cards.  If you’re a turtle, a canary or an elephant, there’s still carnivorous predators,  poisonous mine shafts and, I don’t know, tar pits to watch out for.  If you’re an elm tree, then there’s fucking Dutch Elm Disease.  If you’re human you need attentive adults to care for your every need for years before you can even hope for self-sufficiency.  And there’s, like, middle school to deal with, too.  If you’re a band, surviving so long requires that members share parallel personal growth and continued fire and focus on the music that binds you.

Chronicles of Chaos was not animal nor plant nor band.  What began as an electronic mailing list zine shortly evolved into a full on metal reviews/rants webzine by the late 1990s.  A scan of the webzine’s early reviews reveals coverage of At the Gates, Brujeria, Suffocation and Emperor.  A perusal of reviews then and now will also show inflationary word counts, beginning with modest one-paragraph articles and winding up with rambling behemoths that take full advantage of the costless availability of electronic ink.  (I can poke fun because I’m as guilty of bloviating as anyone.)  Today the zine goes officially extinct as it publishes its final articles and remains only as an archive.

[Screen shot of the CoC header for the very first edition of the zine]
[Screen shot of the CoC header for the very first edition of the zine]

Chronicles of Chaos is a piece of metal scene history, and it was often a go-to source of information for which albums would most interest me.  I had the good fortune to write with CoC for the past four years, allowing me both the freedom to write articles of my own choosing and the opportunity to focus and expand my own writing career.  The site’s editors made the following statement about the closing of the site:

Twenty years after its inception, extreme music webzine Chronicles of Chaos has ceased publication. 

Said Gino Filicetti, founder of the magazine, on their decision, “It is with a heavy heart that we came to this decision, but the timing seemed right given the changing face of metal journalism. Chronicles of Chaos was always dedicated to thoughtful, long form articles that put more emphasis on quality and insight than on scooping everyone else. We have never had any intention on changing our modus operandi despite the waning interest in reading about music when listening to said music is just a Google search away.”

The decision was announced on Chronicles of Chaos’ website along with a series of opinion articles by current and former writers, reflecting on their relationship with the long-standing website and its relevance throughout the years.  Plans are in place for Chronicles of Chaos to remain online as an archive, continuing to provide free access to over 7500 articles.  More details and a look at the final articles can be found here.

Honor the zine ethos.  Get out there and really listen.  And maybe, once in a while, go check out an old CoC article.  They’ll be waiting.