zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Break the Chain - Volume Three

A5, 36 pages
£3.23 (+ £4.03 p&p)

I’ve got a soft spot for Break the Chain. Nothing in its pages is relatable to my life – my knowledge of post-hardcore and post-punk music is shaky, I rarely share my political views and the closest I’ve ever gotten to Jacksonville, Florida is Canada. I am firmly outside of the target demographic.

I think the thing about this zine which resonates with me the most is its earnestness. Its cut-and-paste aesthetic is reminiscent of the early zines of the sixties and seventies, hastily photocopied, stapled and distributed while the pages were still warm. There’s a lot of heart in its pages.

The third issue offers more psychedelic artwork from Stacey Matchett, an intriguing artist who appears to have almost no online presence. Her drawings are as detailed and hypnotic as always, and they seem to be composed with a more definite sense of purpose than the pieces that have been included in previous issues.

There’s also work from an artist whose name I hadn’t heard before – Austin Redwood. His art is in total contrast to Matchett’s; serene paintings of trees and landscapes. This type of artwork in this type of zine is a surprise, but a welcome one.

In general, the band interviews are a fun read. Matt Sessions (creator of Break the Chain) has scored interviews with bands from across the Unite States, including Big Ups, Priests, UV-TV and Profit Prison. Each of the interviews are sufficiently engaging, but I can’t help but notice that most of the musicians’ answers to Sessions’ questions are astonishingly articulate, almost as if they’d had quite a lot of time to compose each response. It’s fair to say that the interviews are probably conducted long-distance, but I think this is an understandable trade-off for reaching bands outside of Jacksonville.

Sessions poses his trademark question to each of the bands: “What are you reading at the moment? Are there any books you’d recommend?” I’m still waiting for the day somebody reels off a reading list full of Andy McNab thrillers or Marian Keyes paperbacks, but the selection was as distinguished as always – titles by Joan Didion, Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf and Arundhati Roy, amongst others. I guess artists appreciate art, no matter what the medium.

This volume is a solid instalment in the Break the Chain zine and it will be a pleasing read for fans of the first two volumes. It is interesting, impactful and illuminating – everything I’ve come to expect from this zine.

You can buy your copy of Volume Three of Break the Chain here.

Review by J.L. Corbett

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