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HM Magazine is a monthly, digital and print on demand publication focusing on hard music and alternative culture of interest to Christians. The magazine states that its goal is to "honestly and accurately cover the current state of hard music and alternative culture from a faith-based perspective." It is known for being one of the first magazines dedicated to covering Christian metal. The magazine's content includes features; news; album, live show and book reviews, culture coverage and columns. HM's occasional "So and So Says" feature is known for getting into artists' deeper thoughts on Jesus Christ, spirituality, politics and other controversial topics.
HM Magazine, Issue #117, January/February 2006
|Founder||Doug Van Pelt|
|First issue||Summer 1985|
|Final issue||2011 (print)|
|Company||HM Publications LLC|
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In 1985, Doug Van Pelt started Heaven's Metal as a fanzine. The classified ad Van Pelt's friend placed in Kerrang! happened to be in the British rock magazine's 100th issue — an issue with 100,000 extra copies. This affected the number of people ordering subscriptions. During that time, many Christian record labels became interested in Christian metal, and they started to advertise newly signed metal bands on in Heaven's Metal since it was the only publication exclusively covering the movement. Soon, Heaven's Metal achieved more popularity and became an official, professional publication, with five full-time journalists working for the magazine. Heaven's Metal achieved a regular subscription base of 15,000 readers.
The name was changed to HM Magazine in 1995, HM stands for "Hard Music." Despite name and format changes over its history, the magazine's spiritual focus remains Christian, as it follows both the Christian rock and the Christian metal movement. Bands' sales usually rose when the ensembles were covered in the magazine. For example, during the mid-1990s, HM was the only magazine that covered P.O.D. The band's label appreciated HM for this, and eventually Atlantic Records bestowed upon Van Pelt the gold P.O.D. plaque.
During the 1990s, HM sealed a distribution deal with a major magazine wholesaler that immediately increased its print-run from 13,000 to 22,000 copies, and it allowed Van Pelt and his co-workers to double ad rates, making HM a stable business enterprise.
Two specific articles greatly bolstered HM's popularity. The first was the band King's X's vocalist Doug Pinnick revealing his homosexuality. The second was Alice Cooper's interview in 2002 when he, for the first time in public, admitted being a Christian, though he had avoided becoming a "celebrity Christian" since other news portals in the world quickly noted this interview.
In October 2004, Van Pelt revived the Heaven's Metal name, starting a fanzine under the same name, to be released between issues of the primary HM Magazine. (At the time, HM was a bi-monthly publication.) Christianity and metal music were also themes of this venture, but it was produced in a smaller, less formal format. The fanzine focused on the more traditional styles of heavy metal, and it regularly featured bands considered not as mainstream as those featured in the HM Magazine.
Currently, Heaven's Metal is run alongside HM Magazine as a "magazine within the magazine," coming out 12 times a year as part of HM Magazine.
HM has expanded to include acts other than those that would fit into the hard rock or metal category. It is not unusual to find an article on a softer rock band like Deas Vail or a synthpop group like Owl City. However, the magazine's focus remains steadfast in covering "left-of-center" bands.
In an attempt to get out of debt, HM launched a "Save HM Magazine Campaign" in March 2012 through their website to raise funds in order to continue printing the publication. As a thanks to donors, contributors were offered a collection of songs available for download. After more than 26 years of publishing as a print magazine, with simultaneous digital editions starting to run in May 2007, the publication went exclusively digital starting with the December 2011 (issue #151) and changed to a monthly format.
In February 2013, Van Pelt sold the magazine to current editor David Stagg under undisclosed terms. Stagg had previously interned at HM Magazine in the summer of 2003, and remained on staff as a feature writer and reviewer when ownership changed to his hands.
- Stagg, David. "About". HM Publications LLC. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
- Langer, Andy (August 7, 2000). "Heaven's Metal". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved December 11, 2007.
- "Find Our what Former HM Magazine Editor has been Up to". Adrenaline PR. November 17, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2016.