For fans of black metal, the name Maniac is immediately recognizable. As one of the voices behind Mayhem’s early work on much of Deathcrush (and later on the band’s 2000 and 2004 releases), Sven-Erik Kristiansen has played an important role in the history of the genre. But fewer people may know about his role in documenting that history. In 1985, Maniac set out to create a fanzine called Damage Inc. The zine lasted two issues, released in 1986 and 1986 with interviews and features on bands like Mayhem, Sepultura and Necrophagia. As these years saw the formation of many bands that would shape the future of extreme metal, this makes the zine a great artifact of black metal and death metal history.
But rather than simply re-issue the old editions, Maniac decided to create a new issue for 2017 and package it all into one book. He enlisted the right person to help him: Dayal Patterson, author of Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult and the man behind the Cult Never Dies machine of awesome black metal book manufacturing. As a big fan of these sorts of books, I wanted to know more:
Tell us a bit about how the fanzine started. What inspired you to put it together in the first place?
It started after having read some of the other fanzines around at the time, like Slayer Mag and Not Mag. It was so good to read about bands that you did not find in the pages of say Swedish magazine OKEJ or Kerrang. The good and the wild stuff. So I wanted to be part of that. To spread the word on bands that really mattered and were struggling a bit further down there. I was already starting to choke on the mainstream. I never stopped admiring the larger bands like Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath, but this felt even closer to heart. I wanted to reach out from the shit village I grew up in and pull the world closer with metal and then share that experience with like minded people. The confusion of teenage angst beautifully distilled in short angry songs that the majority hated, that was unity. Anyway, it’s a long time ago and if asked at the time why I would probably just say “fuck off!”
Likewise, why come back now with a new issue after so long?
Fuck off! Hehe. No, I guess I just missed it more and more after reading too much shitty comments and opinions on the net. Why not support some good underground bands instead of just talking shit about everyone else except your oh-so-fucking important self? Too much idiots out there so I just wanted to do some interviews with bands who really really matter to me so that other people, who might be hidden in the wiseness of shadows, could read what these great bands had to say and not what morons think about the bands. That was actually the main reason. Then it was the creative process of it and what that gave back to me. It seriously takes more than three minutes to get into the meaning of a band like Teitanblood, so I present you with a deeper level of information about them. Besides, I miss physical magazines as fanzines and I am sure there’s more people out there like me.
What do you think makes fanzines so important to underground extreme music (e.g. black metal, death metal, punk, hardcore)?
In the beginning it was to spread the word. It was, along with tape trading, our only means of spreading info and getting info on all those fantastic bands from all over the world. It was very very important. These days news or fake news travels fast and is very often just gossip and shit. I think fanzines are still important for die hard fans. Internet is a fantastic tool for getting info and for spreading music but without a few filters you just end up at the bottom of a cesspool of truly disgusting shit. Literally. Fanzines are still a genuine part of the underground to people who are genuinely interested in it. I don’t know if this makes any sense to a lot of modern day kids but I’m sure there’s kids who gets it and that’s the people I am writing for and for myself and bunch of other old geezers.
Ultra Damaged: Damage Inc. Fanzine 1985/2017 is available now via Cult Never Dies.