SVART RECORDS is pleased to announce the forthcoming release of the Isten fanzine anthology, entitled Don’t Break the Ghost. Written by Mikko Mattila with Janne Sarna and Professor Black, the 800-page hardcover book is scheduled for release in late September.
“We’re extremely pleased to be working with SVART,” said Mikko. “It is important to do this right, and to do it right now. There’s only going to be a diehard edition. It’ll be svart and heavy.” Professor Black added, “SVART’s commitment to excellence in presentation and complete trust of their artists’ creative vision have us very excited indeed to see the finished product.”
Mikko Mattila founded Isten in 1984 in Tampere, Finland. His devotion to fanzine craftsmanship quickly escalated alongside his vigorous obsession with heavy metal. By the early 1990s, the underground mail networks were in full swing worldwide, and Isten had become a well-respected source for reviews and interviews. It also earned a reputation for being hard to please. “If you happened to get a favourable mention of your demo in Isten,” quipped Taneli Jarva of Sentenced, “you’d peaked. You’d fuckin’ made it.”
As the 1990s progressed, Isten experimented fearlessly with both layout and content, bringing the art of fanzine-making to a sustained climax, still with every bit of the original wild-eyed adolescent passion at its core. Some came to view Mikko and his cohort as arrogant and bitter as they isolated themselves from an underground scene quickly transforming under the influences of capitalism, “extreme” metal, and the Internet. Yet somehow these “stubborn Finnish bastards” (as A.A. Nemtheanga of Primordial calls them) emerged unscathed.
Don’t Break the Ghost tells the full story and hides none of the evidence. In addition to careful reproductions of nearly all of Isten’s issues in their entirety, the book features over 60 pages of artifacts from the Isten archives, including unpublished interviews, handwritten letters, and never-before-seen photos. Mikko’s personal narrative throughout the book offers a glimpse into the human machinery of Isten and its unprecedented dedication to 30 years of heavy metal fanaticism.
In other news, the price of black ink in Finland continues to rise…