Isten Fanzine - Donít Break the Ghost

The first 30 years of Isten Fanzine. All of the unadulterated metal madness from 1984 to present.

Classic, exclusive interviews with Deathrow, Dream Death, Coroner, Carcass, Grave, Anacrusis, Sadus, Sepultura, Autopsy, Darkthrone, Entombed, Paradise Lost, Therion, Xysma, Asphyx, Sigh, Order From Chaos, Mayhem, Samael, Sentenced, Dark Tranquillity, Impaled Nazarene, My Dying Bride, Furbowl, Meshuggah, Sabbat, Katatonia, Mortiis, Drowned, Rotting Christ, Opeth, Babylon Whores, Solstice, Arch Enemy, Morbid Angel, Unholy, The Haunted, Nifelheim, Watain, Primordial, Portrait, Sůlstafir and many more.

Hundreds upon hundreds of hard-hitting reviews and other critiques, a panorama of unique drawings and photographs and a tabletop game.

The whole story, all of the evidence.
Release date December 12, 2014.


Metal is heavy.

Summon your spirits.

Mad devotion lies at the heart of "Don't Break the Ghost". Founded in 1984, Isten Fanzine thrived on underground fanaticism and vigorous obsession. Isten didnít only write about heavy metal, it became one with its slogans and maxims.

Are you morbid?
This means war.
To the death.

An excerpt from the Donít Break the Ghost narrative.
The chapter Reverence: Merciless Faith deals with Isten #7.

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I craved life metal. Heavy metal for life. And ďheavyĒ, for all you smart alecks out there, is not a prefix. Heavy metal is not even a genre. Heavy metal is a realm. Swear the oath. The Force is heavy metal. Mental Funeral is heavy metal. A Blaze in the Northern Sky is heavy metal. If it doesnít work as heavy metal, itís fucked, it fails, full stop.

You commit yourself to the practise of this magicónight after night of exaltation and ceremonial rites as you try to decipher the coffin texts and puzzle out the minutiae of the ceremonies. Listener or musician, it makes very little difference. You need to be a fanatic first and foremost.

When it came to myself, devotion and desperation certainly walked hand in hand. I worked for twelve months on the closed ward of a mental institution (my non-military service). The experience was eye-opening for reasons different to those I had expected. While I identified with the infinite loneliness of the inmates, I detested the attitudes of the personnel: cynical, condescending, defined by the strict confines of their hollow lives. I felt clocks melting as if in a DalŪ painting, and remember contemplating this whole zine insanity long and hard. It wasnít much, but it was better than a dead-end job in a soon-to-be-closed small-town hospital. It gradually dawned on me that Isten was my canvas to paint. I was like Nosferatu doodling in his castle.

To what extent was the underground an imaginary world? Letís ask instead to what extent the imaginary substance in heavy metal is real. Iím referring to the apparition that flickers throughout the history of this music, in its liturgy, in its sacraments and institutions. Is it this chimera that resonates in our chests, sets our eyes aflame, and makes us clench our fists? Or is it, in fact, our own merciless faith? I think they are one and the same. Inherently interwoven, in constant upheaval, requiring ardent practice. At least half of it is you. If you fail, donít blame the priest. Donít blame the doctor. Donít blame the placebo.

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Isten Fanzine: Donít Break the Ghost

by Mikko Mattila with Janne Sarna and Professor Black
with vital contributions from Damhair, Kola Krauze and Dominique Poulain
ISBN 978-952-93-4496-3
Hardcover, 804 pages
Svart Records 2014