Zine Review: The Coming Strife #3

The latest issue of the UKHC fanzine brought to us by Oli Jack of The Coming Strife Records.

The Coming Strife Records has been one of my favorite edge-metal imprints for a while now. This London based label took off in 2018 with a mission to resurrect the ‘90s influenced metallic hardcore scene in the UK, but since then has also put out smashing releases by US, Australia and mainland Europe based bands like Rain of Salvation, Domain, Flames of Betrayal, Caged Existence, Embitter, A Knife In The Dark, xContentionx, and many more. Although they’ve been killing it in the vinyl and tape game, it’s great to see the tradition of label owners starting their own fanzines. The Coming Strife have been doing this for three issues now, and what makes it even better, they clearly love it. I couldn’t find the first two issues but as soon as I had the chance to get the third one, I had to pick it up and check it out, and I’m so glad I did.

Published in the second half of 2021, this issue is a half-size, 44 pages, full color zine printed on glossy paper. The digital cut’n’paste style layout is really great too, making perfect use of negative space and a two-column content that’s a real pleasure to read front to back. Inside this issue, there are interviews with UKHC / metalcore bands Climate of Fear, Burn Alive, SplitKnuckle, early ‘00s legends xCanaanx, and the Virginia, United States band Heavens Die. In addition, you’ll find a 2021 end of year list by Adam, the frontman of Polish band Embitter, writing about some amazing releases from the past year. There are also interviews with other young labels like Nuclear Family Records from Wales and Medusa’s Lair from Spain because, you know, hardcore is cooperation not competition!

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The real highlight of this issue is the xCanaanx interview, which is actually a very personal conversation with their singer Nathan Bean talking about much more than his time spent in xCanaanx. Throughout the years he has been involved in many other UKHC bands like Touchdown, On This Ice, Decline, Rot In Hell, Up In Arms, ran the label Hemlock 13 and published the zine Harder They Fall. Currently, he is doing Dungeons & Dragons modules for big metal bands like The Black Dahlia Murder and doing the awesome zine Trapped Nerve. Some of these activities are also covered in the interview.

In conclusion, The Coming Strife Fanzine is really worth getting if you want to learn more about the new generation of metal influenced UKHC bands. The interviews feel more like casual conversations and I’m sure Oli Strife could also easily come up with a great podcast in the future. I would love to see more questions about bands’ politics and straight edge though. With zines produced by label owners I’m always concerned about them being too promotional and biased towards their own roster, but in the case of Oli, it’s all about the love for hardcore and metal rather than trying to sell more records (which is something DIY labels have to do in order to survive anyway).

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