- For the district in the Bahamas, see Rock Sound, Bahamas.
Rock Sound is a British magazine which covers rock music. The magazine aims at being more "underground" and less commercial, while also giving coverage to more well-known acts. It generally focuses on pop punk, post-hardcore, metalcore, punk, emo, hardcore, heavy metal and extreme metal genres of rock music, rarely covering indie rock music at all. The tag-line "For those who like their music loud, extreme and non-conformist" is sometimes used. Although primarily aimed at the British market, the magazine is also sold in Australia, Canada and the United States.
The British edition of Rock Sound was launched in March 1999 by the French publisher Editions Freeway. The magazine was bought out by its director, Patrick Napier, in December 2004. The magazines offices are in London. Separate titles with the same name have been published under the same umbrella company in France since 1993, and in Spain since 1998.
The magazine is known for including a free CD in most issues, which has tracks from bands' new albums that have not been released as singles. These are now normally called '100% Volume' or 'The Volumes', but in the past compilations were also called 'Music With Attitude', 'Bugging Your Ears!', 'Sound Check' and 'Punk Rawk Explosion'. Buyer reaction has been very negative when there has been talk of turning the CD compilation into a digital compilation. Sometimes whole albums are included with the magazine, particularly from bands wanting to gain exposure, including Futures' debut album The Holiday in March 2010, and Burn The Fleet's debut album The Modern Shape in May 2012.
The first issue was published in April 1999. Issue 2 featured British band Reef on the front cover, and later issues 3 and 8 featured Terrorvision and Foo Fighters respectively. In July 2011 a host of "Through The Years" articles were written to celebrate the 150th issue of the magazine.
The magazine had a circulation figure of 15,005 from January to December 2010 auditored by ABC. This includes 10,162 sales in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and 4,843 from Other Countries. The same auditing body said the magazine had a slightly lower circulation figure of 14,227 from January to December 2011, with sales of 10,053 from the United Kingdom and Ireland, and 4,174 from Other Countries. The majority of sales come from newstrade, with some coming from subscriptions.
The main rival to the magazine in Britain is Kerrang! because of the similar types of music both magazines cover. However, Kerrang! is released weekly and does not usually provide as much coverage to more alternative bands, to new and upcoming bands, nor to the British rock scene.
Album of the Year
At the end of every year the magazine lists their favourite 75 albums released in the previous twelve months.
- 1999 - Filter - Title of Record
- 2000 - A Perfect Circle - Mer de Noms
- 2001 - System of a Down - Toxicity
- 2002 - Isis - Oceanic
- 2003 - Hell Is for Heroes - The Neon Handshake
- 2004 - Isis - Panopticon
- 2005 - Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
- 2006 - The Bronx - The Bronx
- 2007 - Biffy Clyro - Puzzle
- 2008 - Genghis Tron - Board Up the House
- 2009 - Mastodon - Crack the Skye
- 2010 - Bring Me the Horizon - There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret
- 2011 - Mastodon - The Hunter
- 2012 - The Menzingers - On the Impossible Past
- 2013 - letlive - The Blackest Beautiful
- 2014 - Lower Than Atlantis - Lower Than Atlantis
- 2015 - Bring Me the Horizon - That's the Spirit
- 2016 - Panic! at the Disco - Death of a Bachelor
Hall of Fame/Throwback
Occasionally Rock Sound adds a new album to its Hall of Fame. The main criteria is thought to be influence - even within a particular genre - and for that reason many of the albums have been commercially successful as well as critically successful because they have then gone on to influence large numbers of bands or the music scene. Thus this differs from the Yearly Top Albums lists which do not take influence into account. In each article there is normally an interview with band members, a commentary on the album's release, a look at its initial success, and reaction from other musicians as well. In some of the newer issues this section had been renamed to "Throwback".