With a new strapline, "Everything louder than everything else", Metal Hammer is seeking to distance itself from what it calls the mainstream trend-led rock-pop market dominated by rivals the NME from IPC Media and Kerrang!, Q and Mojo from Emap.
In the last set of ABCs to June, Metal Hammer posted a 10% rise to 44,070. Kerrang!, with its mix of rock and nu-metal, climbed 9.3% to 83,988; NME rose 2.3% to 72,057; while Q dropped 10.2% to 180,168 and sister title Mojo rose 3.4% to 100,138.
Establishing itself as the rock and heavy metal bible, the new-look Metal Hammer is aimed at the 18- to 30-year-old audience that is looking for a serious and in-depth magazine and that, publisher Future says, is not catered for by the current rock media selection.
With an additional 16 pages of editorial, Metal Hammer has radically changed its content line-up. It is dedicating a substantial number of pages to the front cover artist, celebrating their career and their scene and has also introduced a number of new regulars, including an At Home With feature and The Spanish Inquisition - You Ask, They Squirm, in which readers put questions to the stars.
A further addition to the new-look is a retrospective story-behind-the-album feature, where the editorial team reappraises a classic album and its lasting impact on today's scene.
Metal Hammer editor Chris Ingham, said: "The 'metal' word has been around for ages. It has been apologised for and considered as dangerous. And yet it retains a vital connection to the history of rock and heavy metal music. The fact that we are straying away from the fly-by-night, one-hit wonders that dominate the nu-metal and junior rock-pop scene signals that we are moving away from a fashion-led magazine in order to create a rock and heavy metal bible."
He added: "Rock fans deserve better than what they are currently being served and we intend to provide it."
Backed by a substantial promotional campaign comprising point-of-sale promotions, cross-promotions with other Future titles and innovative cover campaigns, the first issue of the new-look title is covermounted with two CDs. Both CDs consist of 19 tracks -- one compiled by Metal Hammer and dubbed 'F.N.G.' featuring all new talent, and the other is a label-led promotional CD from Earache Records, whose artist roster reflects the bite and seriousness of Metal Hammer itself.
The first redesigned issue of Metal Hammer goes on sale March 3 with a cover price of £3.20.
If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.