As soon as I found out about this zine on their instagram account, I was immediately eager to check it out. I know, international shipping from the States might be pretty steep these days, but, thankfully, I’ve managed to pick up a copy from Ugly and Proud Records the other day.
The author of Voice of Strength is Evan Stein, an 18-year-old hardcore kid from Orange County, CA. I love it when young people start new zines, and this one is a total must-read!
Printed in full color, on glossy paper and with tons of great bands interviewed inside. The first issue is dedicated to Evan’s local OC hardcore scene and I don’t think there’s a better start than showing the world the things you have right next around you. Take note, everyone.
Prior to reading the zine I haven’t heard any of bands like Take It To Heart, DARE, and Fury, which are all interviewed here but now I’m seeing that straight edge band DARE influenced the layout of the zine and its front cover.
There’s also a column with “5 Tips for Starting a Band” and a tribute to the Programme Skate & Sound with a brief write-up about the author’s all time favorite sets at the shop. “Reacting to Classic Hardcore Bands” is a top-notch idea that I would like to see in all of VoS issues. In this one, we have reviews on Youth of Today, Madball, and Uniform Choice. “Young Person Showcase” is another great idea that everyone should take note if we want to get rid of gatekeeping and elitism in hardcore.
While the first issue was all about the OC hardcore scene, the second one is dedicated to some of the most dedicated upcoming straight edge bands in North America right now. Featured are interviews with Rain of Salvation, Inclination, Life Force, and Year of the Knife.
While I’m definitely into these bands, I’m not very familiar with who they are and what they stand for. It’s absolutely great to read about these kind of “hyped” US bands in a new zine like this one. The interviews are surely quite good and informative. There are also the usual write-ups, including “5 Tips for Recruiting Newcomers to Shows”, “Reacting to OG Hardcore Bands” (Bane, Agnostic Front, Strife), and the “Young Person Showcase” feature that I liked so much in the previous issue.
As I was writing about these two first issues, the third one just came out featuring Seeyouspacecowboy, World of Pleasure, Zulu, and more. Definitely get in touch with Evan and order your copy now, it’s totally worth it. If you are in Europe, definitely keep an eye on the Ugly and Proud zine section on their webstore.
And, of course… Rest in Power, Riley Gale!