Today, 38 years ago, first ever Kerrang issue was published. AC/DC’s guitarist, Angus Young, was on the cover.
Founded by Geoff Barton, it was first published as a one-off supplement in the Sounds newspaper. Named after the word that derives from the sound made when playing a power chord on a distorted electric guitar, Kerrang! was initially devoted to the new wave of British heavy metal and the rise of hard rock acts.
Launched as a monthly magazine in 1981, Kerrang! began to appear on a fortnightly basis later, and in 1987 it went weekly.
During the 1980s and early 1990s the magazine placed many thrash and glam metal acts on the cover (like Mötley Crüe, Slayer, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Poison, and Venom) but later discarded them when grunge acts such as Nirvana rose to fame. Readers often criticise the magazine for repeating this process every time a new musical subgenre becomes trendy.
The term “thrash metal” was first coined in the music press by Kerrang! journalist Malcolm Dome while making a reference to the Anthrax song “Metal Thrashing Mad” in issue number 62, page 8, published on 23 February 1984. Prior to this Metallica’s James Hetfield referred to their sound as “power metal”.
With the emergence of emo and metalcore during the mid to late-2000s, Kerrang! began to heavily feature this musical trend. The revamp was not welcomed by all readers and many complaints were received about Kerrang!’s sudden emphasis on emo and metalcore music.
In April 2017, Kerrang! magazine, its website, and the K! Awards were purchased by Mixmag Media, publisher of dance monthly Mixmag, along with assets related to defunct style magazine The Face. Mixmag has since formed parent company Wasted Talent, which relaunched Kerrang! as a digital-first title, while continuing to publish a weekly print edition.
The magazine received a logo change in mid-2017 before receiving a complete redesign during 2018.