Chroium Dioxide

Chromium Dioxide
(pic stolen from

Chromium Dioxide
, for those not in the know, is a brand-spanking-new metal mag coming out of Toronto. They’re just into their second issue, and I’m getting in while the getting is good. (please excuse the cliche. I’m sick, and grumpy and can’t think right.)

I am lucky enough to be married to a guy who’s “in the know”. (yep, sick, cliche, etc.) He made it out to the release party of the first issue, and I get access to the mags through him. (I just sneak them off of the bookshelf when he’s asleep or at work.)

When I first heard about this mag, I kinda expected them to lose momentum after the first issue. I’ve seen a lot of keen guys with great ideas and no follow-through, so I don’t ever get my hopes up.

I found the second issue of Chromium Dioxide on the coffee table one morning, and figured that these guys seem to be serious about what their doing.

Scroll down for my professional artistic critique, but keep reading for my average joe (*cough* see, still sick) critique.

My first impression of this magazine is that it looks like a comic book. WTF?! I love comic books! … and it’s clearly metal. That’s two pluses (+2) before I’ve even opened the cover. Way to go boys.

About two paragraphs in, I had a pretty strong impression of the style of the mag. Frankly, I loved it. Everything is written very personally. CD gives a very comfortable, friendly read. Stylistically, Chromium Dioxide is right on the mark. It reads like your talking to your buddy who has some great info on a new band. I could do without the cursing though. Yes, swearing is metal, but it takes some authority away from the writers.

Content-wise, I found that it was a good mix of interviews, label profiles, album reviews and random editorials. And in the snarky mood I’ve been in lately, I was thrilled with their “Sh*tty Album Covers” section.

I love the look of the whole mag, but wish that the type was bigger. (more on that later in the post.)

Overall, Chromium Dioxide is more than worth the $6 cost. Go out and buy a copy.

Harsh Artistic Critique

*Disclaimer — After 6+ years of formal art education, I can’t make a post about anything without acknowledging the aesthetic merits and pitfalls. I try to moderate my comments when discussing work created by someone without a Fine Art B.A. (after all, no one can take a brutal critique like we can.) Critiques can hurt but are intended only to help the, um, critique-ee. These comments probably belong on my Design Blog, but laziness overcame me.

Ok, it’s print, so let’s start with typography. A mix of typefaces is expected in a grunge style, and CD pulls this off nicely. While the typefaces are all good body types, they aren’t all the best for metal. (Venetians are just too dated for such a modern topic.)

I have a big problem with the point size. It can’t be more than 7pt, possibly even 6pt. To compound the problem, only one or two articles had proper leading. Most pages were cramped.

I assume that the type point is uber-small because of the enormous amount of content that the guys are putting out. My advice: cut-back or save up the content and let your type breathe a little.

In terms of graphics, I couldn’t give any suggestions for improvements. The 80’s toon style illustrations is perfect for this feel. Graphic elements are heavily used through the mag and give each page a good balance. The illustrations themselves beautifully blend experience with raw energy.

Overall, Chromium Dioxide is a great mag. A few slight shifts would make it amazing, and I am sure that as the mag grows, those small changes will work themselves in to make CD amazing.


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