HM (magazine)

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HM Magazine.gif
HM Magazine, Issue #117, January/February 2006
EditorDavid Stagg
Categories Christian metal
FounderDoug Van Pelt
First issueSummer 1985
Final issue2011 (print)
CompanyHM Publications LLC
CountryUnited States
Based in Houston, Texas
LanguageAmerican English
ISSN 1066-6923

HM Magazine is a monthly, digital and print on demand publication focusing on hard music and alternative culture of interest to Christians. It is headquartered in Houston, Texas. [1] 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." [2] 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.



Heaven's Metal Fanzine featuring Theocracy HeavensMetlCover.jpg
Heaven's Metal Fanzine featuring Theocracy

In 1985, Doug Van Pelt started Heaven's Metal as a fanzine. Van Pelt's friend placed a classified ad in Kerrang! which was in the British rock magazine's 100th issue. That issue published an extra 100,000 copies which 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. [3]

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. [3]

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. [3]

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.[ citation needed ]

In February 2013, Van Pelt sold the magazine to current editor David Stagg under undisclosed terms. [4] 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.

Related Research Articles

Christian metal, also known as white metal, Jesus metal or heavenly metal, is heavy metal music distinguished by its Christian themed song lyrics and the dedication of the band members to Christianity. Christian metal is typically performed by professed Christians, principally for Christians and is often produced and distributed through various Christian networks.

<i>Psycho Surgery</i> 1991 studio album by Tourniquet

Psycho Surgery is the second studio album by the American Christian metal band Tourniquet. It was originally released on Intense Records and Metal Blade Records in 1991. A remastered version was released on Pathogenic Records in 2001 and includes revised artwork, an expanded album booklet, and bonus tracks that include live versions of songs featuring then-lead vocalist Luke Easter as well as demos. Retroactive Records released a remaster on June 26, 2020, retaining the original album title and including an extended booklet as well as different bonus tracks. Considered by critics to be Tourniquet's most balanced of the band's first three albums, Heaven's Metal fanzine ranked Psycho Surgery Christian metal's second-best album of all time.

<i>Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance</i> 1992 studio album by Tourniquet

Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance is the third studio album by the American Christian metal band Tourniquet. It was originally released on Intense Records in 1992 to the Christian market and later released on Metal Blade Records in 1993 to the secular market. It is the last Tourniquet album to feature vocalist Guy Ritter, who left the band after the recording of the album. It was independently re-released on Pathogenic Records in 2001 with digital remastering, two bonus live tracks from the 2000 Dutch Flevo Festival featuring then-lead vocalist Luke Easter, and new cover art. Another remaster was released, by Retroactive Records, on June 26, 2020 with the original cover art, an expanded album booklet, and four different bonus tracks. Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance was voted as the "Favorite Album of the 1990s" by readers of HM Magazine. In 2010, HM Magazine ranked it #23 on the Top 100 Christian metal albums of all-time list.

Trytan is a Christian progressive / glam metal / hard rock band from Chicago, Illinois, musically similar to Rush. The band was ministry oriented, and had what Christian music critic John J. Thompson characterized as a significant impact on their scene.

Bride is an American Christian metal band formed in the 1980s, by brothers Dale and Troy Thompson. During the band's peak years it was known for covering a wide range of musical styles and remains popular in places like Brazil. Their song "Same 'Ol Sinner" is on the Digital Praise PC game Guitar Praise.

Vengeance Rising was an American Christian thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. Fronted by vocalist Roger Martinez, they originally formed as Vengeance in 1987, but changed their name in 1989 to avoid conflict with another band from the Netherlands. Band members Larry Farkas, Doug Thieme, Roger Dale Martin, and Glen Mancaruso left following Once Dead and formed the band Die Happy. Roger Martinez stayed on to record two more studio albums, but aside from him, Vengeance Rising's lineup changed for each subsequent album. While the group was a ground breaking Christian metal band, today Vengeance Rising is known for vocalist Martinez's turning from Christianity to Satanism to atheism. AllMusic describes Vengeance Rising's history as "one of the most entertaining and bizarre stories in the realm of heavy metal."

Bloodgood is an American Christian metal band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984. By 1988, Bloodgood represented one of the four largest Christian metal bands alongside Barren Cross, Leviticus, and Whitecross.

Hit Parader was an American music magazine that operated between 1942 and 2008. A monthly publication, it focused on rock and pop music in general until the 1970s, when its focus began turning to hard rock and heavy metal. By the early 1980s, Hit Parader focused exclusively on heavy metal and briefly produced a spinoff television program entitled Hit Parader's Heavy Metal Heroes. The magazine reached its circulation peak in the mid-to-late 1980s selling a half-million copies every month as heavy metal music achieved high levels of popularity and commercial success.

Kekal Indonesian metal band

Kekal is a heavy metal and electronic music band formed in 1995 in Jakarta, Indonesia. According to AllMusic, Kekal was one of the first heavy metal bands from Indonesia to make international inroads, and according to sociologist of heavy metal, Keith Kahn-Harris, was one of the few extreme metal bands from Southeast Asia to ever make more than a minimal impression on the global scene. Founded by two musicians known simply Yeris and Newbabe, the band underwent some shifts in lineup in its early years, but emerged with a consistent lineup of three key-members, guitarist/vocalist Jeff Arwadi, bassist Azhar Levi Sianturi, and guitarist Leo Setiawan. Frequently labeled as black metal, progressive metal, and avant-garde metal, Kekal plays a very diverse range of music styles within the frame of metal and rock, incorporating many other music genres such as ambient, electronic, jazz fusion, and progressive rock. Over the course of its career, Kekal has transitioned from a heavy metal-based style to a more experimental and electronic sound.

<i>Deliverance</i> (Deliverance album) 1989 studio album by Deliverance

Deliverance is the 1989 self-titled debut album by the Christian speed/thrash metal band Deliverance. The original Intense Records pressing is now considered a valuable collectable. It was reissued, minus 2 songs in 1998 on KMG Records as a two-disc set along with the 1990 album Weapons of Our Warfare. It was officially re-released late 2008 with two bonus tracks on Retroactive Records. The album was ranked at No. 44 on Metal Hammer's top 50 thrash metal albums of all-time list. In 2010, HM Magazine listed Deliverance No. 31 on its Top 100 Christian Rock Albums of All Time list stating that "'If You Will' into 'The Call' is almost as good as metal gets " and that "this record would forever change and impact me and the Christian metal music scene as we knew it!"(-Bill Balford). Heaven's Metal fanzine ranked it No. 3 on its Top 100 Christian metal albums of all-time list. writer Dan Marsicano wrote "Metal with a religious concept is not for everybody, and Deliverance doesn’t try to pander to the secular crowd. So, if you don’t mind a little preaching, their music is straight-to-the-gut thrash metal at a time where the genre was getting more expansive with its themes and sound. For giving Christian metal a thrash hero to rally behind, Deliverance gets the nod for this week’s Retro Recommendation."

Leviticus (band)

Leviticus was a Christian metal band from Sweden. The band formed in 1981 and was led by Bjorn Stigsson. They released four albums before breaking up in 1990.

<i>Undeceived</i> 2000 studio album by Extol

Undeceived is the second LP and third studio release by Norwegian Christian metal band Extol. It was released in 2000 on Solid State Records and re-released in 2002 on Century Media; all releases of the album other than the Solid State version switch the two opening tracks, such that "Undeceived" is the first track on the album.

Mortal was a Christian industrial/dance band fronted by Jerome Fontamillas and Jyro Xhan. Both members went on to found the alternative rock group Fold Zandura, and for a time were members of both bands simultaneously. The band is known for its lyrical intelligence, incorporating advanced theology with what has been billed as "Industrial Praise and Worship." According to CCM Magazine "Mortal has had a much greater influence... on industrial music than its modest output would suggest."

<i>Extraction from Mortality</i> Album by Believer

Extraction from Mortality, also known as Extraction, is the debut studio album by the American Christian thrash metal band Believer. It was released on R.E.X. Records in 1989. In 2010, HM Magazine ranked it #33 on the Top 100 Christian metal albums of all-time list.

<i>Human Sacrifice</i> (album) 1988 studio album by Vengeance Rising

Human Sacrifice is the first studio album by the Christian death and thrash metal band Vengeance Rising. It is the first full length Christian thrash metal album as it was released in 1988. Though controversial, Human Sacrifice and the following album, Once Dead were huge successes in the world of Christian music, making Vengeance Rising one of the few bands in the genre to cross over into the secular music scene. Dave Caughney of Cross Rhythms magazine wrote in 1990 that this "legendary classic debut [...] breathed much needed freshness into the somewhat stale white metal scene". HM Magazine editor Doug Van Pelt called Human Sacrifice "the most radical Christian album ever released". In 2010, HM ranked Human Sacrifice the best Christian metal album of all time on its Top 100 list because it "tilted the Christian metal world on its ear".

Lust Control Christian thrash punk band

Lust Control is a Christian thrash punk band, originally formed in 1988. They are known for their explicit lyrical content, which is devoted to matters of sexual purity and sin, including abstinence, masturbation, pornography, sex ed, and related topics. For their unwavering views on sexual purity, CCM magazine has called Lust Control as "the Josh McDowell of the Christian rock world." Musically they have been likened to The Ramones or The Dead Milkmen. The band formed as a joke and was not meant for long term exposure, which has led some to refer to it as a Christian version of Spinal Tap. Lust Control received the title of "The Worst Christian Band of the Decade" for the 1990s from HM.


7ball is a discontinued Christian music magazine, first published in 1995. They focused on rock, hip-hop, and other "alternative" forms of Christian music. The magazine was initially published by the Royal Magazine Group alongside Release magazine and others. Its primary competition were magazines such as HM, True Tunes News, and CCM.

Precious Death

Precious Death is a Southern California heavy metal band from the 1990s. The group was known for intense live shows that won over the local scene in L.A. before broadening their audience the rest of the country. They were a regular favorite at KNAC nights, on the Hollywood strip and tha summer music festivals. Veering away from the usual rock songs about partying the group wrote intricate songs with a Christian message. Singer Christopher Scott and guitarist David Bishop went on to form Blackball as a side project. Precious Death won album of the year and rock song of the year at the Los Angels Music Awards and was nominated for Dove awards.

Everdown is an American Christian metal band, from Manchester, New Hampshire, United States. The band formed in 1992, but disbanded in 1998. The band reunited in 2009, and released two new songs. The band has consisted of drummer Chris Wible, lead guitarist Nate Shumaker, rhythm guitarists John Helmig, "Greene", Dave Ball, and Rob Wolfe, bassists John Becht, Ryan Leech, Zach Wells, Chris Allain, Bryan Young, and Mark "Rug" Fields, and lead vocalist Erik "Adams" Bureau.

Recon was an American Christian metal band that originated in California in 1987.


  1. "HM Magazine". Linkedin. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  2. Stagg, David (April 26, 2013). "About". HM Publications LLC. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 Langer, Andy (August 7, 2000). "Heaven's Metal". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved December 11, 2007.
  4. "Find Our what Former HM Magazine Editor has been Up to". Adrenaline PR. November 17, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2016.