Marc Strömberg - Hardcore ABC zine (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Marc Strömberg

Hardcore ABC zine (2012)


In 2012, the act of printing a zine is self-defeating. Zines were long ago supplanted by blogs and, well, sites like The best way to advertise a zine would be via the web, but then again, the punks have always had a shaky grasp on irony. Zines cannot compete with the Internet when it comes to timeliness; professional print publications can't even keep up. If you publish an article about something that happened an hour ago, it's old news.

Marc Strömberg's zine Hardcore ABC defiantly sidesteps these problems simply by being a labor of love. Its design is simple but effective, and the pages are assembled with care. It doesn't fall into zine pitfalls (old reviews, bad photocopying, poetry). It has a really basic premise: Twenty-six essays about 26 topics. It isn't necessarily a primer on hardcore, but it does talk about the genre in glowing language.

Strömberg turned to his musical heroes to write about hardcore, and the results are a bit mixed. Some of the entries feel forced, like when Claes Nordin Tärby (Anchor) uses "A" to discuss "awesomeness" and instead rants about veganism. At least title your essay "animal rights" or something. Others are only tangentially related to hardcore, like when Matthew Fox (Shai Hulud) talks about being scared of Robocop when he was younger.

But a handful of the entries are quite well thought out. Some writers talk about their favorite albums. Ben Russin (Title Fight) writes about how awesome Lunchables are when you're on the road, especially the pizzas, and he's so right. The cynic in me wants to chide Bridge Nine founder Chriss Wrenn for writing three pages on straight edge (Of course the straight edge guy would have the most to say…), but his entry is actually informative and personal in equal measures. Wrenn writes about the journey he went on before arriving at edge, and even points out that while this lifestyle choice has worked well for him, it isn't for everyone.

Wrenn's depth is an exception in Hardcore ABC, however. Most of the pieces are to-the-point, making it a quick read. But it contains an excellent central idea, one that's flexible and relevant to hardcore's many directions. I don't know if Strömberg plans on printing future issues, but I'd be glad to read them.