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During the past decade IO has showcased some incredible music writing. But when I think of my tenure at IO what sticks with me the most are the artistic contributions of Jaci Raia. I first heard of Jaci when I was working with Cosmo on the 2011 Maryland Deathfest Guide. Although the guide has been produced in the years since it doesn't come close to what Jaci helped produce; a full-length magazine with stunning layout. Jaci's guide was a collectible, not a disposable handout. When Mike Nelson took over for Cosmo, Jaci became a full-time fixture and upgraded the site from good to visual marvel. All of her layouts were magazine-worthy. I brainstormed ideas just so I would have an excuse to team with Jaci on projects. When I did a piece on Cris Jerue (16) she took lyrics and presented them on bar napkins. When we compiled a feature on what metal artists love to read I asked her if we could present the selections like old dustbound books. She produced something breathtaking. Jaci did this unselfishly with every writer or photographer she worked with during her stint.

Many people rightly view music blogs as hives of incessant trolling and ill will. Jaci designed things that elevated what I thought was possible on a blog and turned thoughtful writing into something else: art.

Read: ‘The Books They Carry vol. 1

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