Final Six: The Six Coolest/Lamest Metal Band Logos
Chris Krovatin is the author of three young adult novels, Heavy Metal & You, Venomous, and Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones. He is currently working on multiple new writing projects, as well as new material with his local New York metal band Flaming Tusk. He is a contributing writer for Revolver and generally comes off as a good-natured pain in everyone’s collective ass. This column represents his opinions–and probably only his opinions.
OK, here’s what I’m thinking: I want the band name, you know, Meatball Grinder, only I want “Meatball” to be done as, like, splatters of human intestines against a brick wall on a hot day, right? But then “Grinder” should be made of big jagged pieces of riveted metal with kind of a chrome look. But here’s where it gets important: I want the intestines in the “M” to be pulled into kind of a chute, right, and then have the “R” have a spout that’s spitting out this furious barrage of ground meat, just a repulsive spray of chunky remains. And can we put an inverted cross in there? What if the “T” in “Meatball” is an inverted cross? No one’s done that, right?
Creating a truly cool band logo is hard, especially in metal where everything is done to death. But if you nail it, then damn, you’ve done good. Sometimes, your band says enough that you don’t need a logo, just a font (Motörhead, Pantera). Sometimes, your band is down to change their shit up album to album, the awesome band name doing most of the graphic designer’s job (Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard). And sometimes, you decide to have your band logo look like a Vidalia onion (Naglfar). But for the elite few, that logo remains as perfect symbol for that band’s awesome sound and atmosphere. Likewise, if your band logo sucks, I will never 100 percent dig you. Nothing personal, but it matters. So, dear readers, here is my list of the Six Coolest and Lamest Metal Band Logos.
The Six Coolest Metal Band Logos:
1. Slayer HELL yes. No other logo even touches the Slayer logo. It has a sharp old-school thrash-metal vibe to it (and, let’s all quietly admit, a slightly fascistic quality with that “S”), but remains edgy and modern. Perfect for tattoos, graffiti, yarmulkes, socks, shot glasses, rolling papers, and whatever else you can think of. Put it on everything.
2. Iron Maiden With its classic red block lettering, this is easily one of the most identifiable band logos in metal. It immediately invokes the traditional concept of the genre—long hair, pumping fists, black sleeveless shirts, war. Predictable, perhaps, but undeniable in its eternal power. Hail.
3. Metallica Yeah, we gotta do it. Say what you want about them as a band, Metallica has one of the cooler logos in music. What makes it so awesome is its simplicity—just make the ends of the word sharp, like fangs. Every time a death-metal band designs a wholly unreadable logo, they should stop and consider this one. Damn near perfect.
4. Napalm Death All too often, death-metal bands err on the side of spiky logos (Death, Morbid Angel) or dripping gory logos (Cryptopsy, Autopsy, all the “-topsies” really). Napalm Death found a perfect medium, their shredded, scrawled skeleton of a logo standing as a symbol of all things insane, repulsive, and enraged. Rock this on a shirt while stomping a Nazi’s face in.
5. Mayhem The Emperor logo’s more regal and the Darkthrone logo’s more cult, but the Mayhem logo has it all—spikes, crosses, bat wings, and “the true” written atop it. This is the standard that every black-metal band wanted to follow, a mutated outgrowth of overdriven evil. God, just LOOK at it.
6. Nine Inch Nails White box. “N,” “I,” backward “N.” Simple, elegant, hardcore, solid, undeniable, awesome.
Honorable mentions: Opeth, Carcass, Emperor, Venom, Death, Morbid Angel, Anthrax, Nile, Twisted Sister, Wolves in the Throne Room, and that Sepultura “S” made out of bones.
The Six Lamest Metal Band Logos:
1. Killswitch Engage Though I’m not a diehard Killswitch fan or anything, I don’t hate these guys, but–yikes! There’s just so many bad things going on here—the pouty half-skull, the weird semi-wings over it, the crown, the ultra-distressed type. This logo is confused more than anything else. A confluence of bad metalcore imagery.
2. hed PE As far as nu-metal bands go, I actually really like these guys. “Waiting To Die” is awesome, and their cover of “Sabra Cadabra” on Nativity In Black II is a solid revision of a classic tune. But man, those parentheses are infuriating, and that upside-down lower-case “E” just puts the killing rage in me. At least the backwards “R” in the Korn logo has a childish thing to it—no one writes an upside-down “E.”
3. Saxon Is the “S” supposed to be a battle-axe? Is that what’s going on here? Because otherwise, this logo is an odd mix of a 1970s rock font and a weird 1980s prog-metal script. And honestly, even if it is an axe, it’s not very good. Sorry, guys, but I got no love for this.
4. Morbid As much as I love Per “Dead” Ohlin and early black metal, I’m sad to report that this logo eats the thick veiny one. The weird little cutsey-goth bat shape, the lower-case “D” at the end… It all looks clumsy and unnatural. Obviously, it was redeemed by the Mayhem logo, but still, look at it. Blech.
5. HIM The heartagram sucks. Period. End of story. It is grade-A lame. Even when I listened to this band a lot—that’s right, they have some silky gothic grooves, man—I never rocked that heartagram logo. It’s Satanism filed down. It’s the beast with Mickey Mouse ears. Fuck this logo.
6. Megadeth Huh…look at how the first and last letters have those spiked corners. It reminds me of another, more successful band logo, but I forget which… Oh.