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Metal Hammer (sometimes MetalHammer) is a monthly heavy metal magazine in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in Germany, Austria, Finland, Spain, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Serbia, and Montenegro by a different publisher. Featuring mainstream and more unusual bands from the wide spectrum of metal music. It is the second-largest selling rock magazine in the UK behind Kerrang! and was often viewed as the more underground magazine, but in recent times has moved towards the mainstream metal market which it originally shunned. In Germany, Metal Hammer has been the market leader since it was launched in 1984.

History Edit

London-based Wilfried F. Rimensberger instigated the concept of MetalHammer magazine in 1983. At the time, he suggested to the infant Kerrang! magazine in London to publish a German version. Kerrang! was not interested. Rimensberger took the idea to Jürgen Wigginghaus, publisher of German MusikSzene magazine where Rimensberger was Chief-Editor, and proposed the idea of a multi-lingual rock music publication. He also approached some of Europe's largest publishers such as Springer, Ringier and Bauer. None were interested.

Eventually, Wigginghaus used the Dortmunder Rocknacht as a test ground for the publication in Germany and Rimensberger started Metalhammer UK from London. He developed the multilingual concept that propelled the magazine to a monthly circulation of over 1 million and, during its peak, published in 11 different languages across the globe - at the time outselling Kerrang! by miles. Metalhammer had local language editions in countries such as Japan,Serbia, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Hungary, France. Metalhammer was also the first Western youth publication in the USSR. Rimensberger's original and, at the time, unique concept of a heavy metal lifestyle magazine that was embedded in a network of Metalhammer branded radio shows, aired in various countries, awards, tours, festivals, recordings, etc. made the publication into the leading genre platform of the 80's - and a global leader. Rimensberger, who started and owned Metalhammer UK Ltd and the registered rights in the name, later sold out to Wigginghaus whilst remaining in the background until the early Nineties as an adviser to Wigginghaus. Rimensberger was the promoter of the first Metalhammer Lorelei Festival with leading metal acts such as Metallica, Motörhead, Venom etc. and recommended Metallica to Peter Mensch (AC/DC) for management. Rimensberger also linked the name Metal Hammer with other successful brands such as the BBC (Tommy Vance Rock show), MTV Metal Show with Bailey Brothers and Castle Donington Monsters of Rock Festival.

Harry Doherty, formerly of Melody Maker, became the launch editor of the English-language Metal Hammer, also producing the Metal Hammer TV Show on satellite television. He left to found the video magazine, Hard'n'Heavy, before being asked back by Wigginghaus to take over all the European issues of Metal Hammer and other associated magazines, such as Rock World. In association with Picture Music International, the video arm of EMI Records, he also launched the Metal Hammer Video Magazine, in direct competition to his earlier creation, Hard'n'Heavy. Doherty left after a management dispute with Wigginghaus.

Rimensberger joined the start-up crew of MTV Europe as a consultant to the director of Network Development. He also became a co-producer of Tom Galley's Phenomena project, organising its worldwide record deal and linking it with some of the best rock musicians and singers. He co-produced with Tom Galley Phenomena's best selling Dream Runner album, which has become somewhat of a rock classic uniting the best rock voices of the time on one studio album. Rimensberger also represented Stiletto Entertainment Los Angeles in Europe and produced Nina Corti at the Royal Albert Hall and various TV productions for Swiss, German and UK TV. In the 1990s, Wigginghaus lost control over the publication and, advised by Rimensberger, sold the German edition to Jürg Marquart, the publisher of Penthouse and Cosmopolitan magazine in Germany. Later, Wigginghaus had to sell the remaining UK publication to cover personal financial liabilities.

Publishers Edit

Metal Hammer UK changed hands several times, being bought first by Dennis Publishing and is now with Future Publishing. The German Metal Hammer [1] is now owned by Springer publishing. There remain Greek and Italian Metalhammer publications, both published independently. Today, Rimensberger is Founding Chairman of The Childrens Art Academy CAA [2] in London and is further involved in international magazine publications and media productions. Wigginghaus is now publishing a local event publication in Germany. Serbia's edition is published by Color Media Group. It has over 20000 sold copies each month, and magazine covers Serbia, Montenegro as well as all other former Yugoslavia republics.

ReferencesEdit

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