Final Six: The Six Coolest/Lamest Metal Band Logos

Chris KrovatinChris 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.

 

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  • Brad

    Gotta disagree with Megadeth in the “bad” column. The lettering is strong and made of metal. The first and last letters are taller, giving the impressions of columns and strength. The font is much better than Metallica’s plain letters.
    Overall, Megadeth should be in the number 4, 5 or 6 spot of the best.

  • Rick

    Megadeth Logo 100 times better than Napalm death’s “Granny Knitting” logo or Morbid’s “Rejected Batman” logo. Sharp, blade-like font is iconic in design. I believe Emperor is closer to the Metallica logo. Are you rating the the designs or the bands? You also missed Obituary, Amorphis, Helloween, or Venom!

  • Bryan

    Big time disagree on the Megadeth logo and it should be in the best of category. And your comment about it being too similar to Metallica’s just leads me to believe that your judgement doesn’t have anything to do with the logos, but rather which band you like or dislike. Next time stay impartial except for the pertinent components otherwise you lose credibility.

  • Bryan

    Marketing 101 would tell you a key element of your logo is that you need to be able to read it! Mayhem’s is illegible and uncreative.

    • Ganondox

      Do you know anything about Black Metal? That would be the last thing Mayhem would want as using marketing techniques as that is the opposite of kvlt. Learn to think for yourself instead of just regurgitating what they tell you in school, you need understanding so you can apply stuff in the right context.

  • Derp

    I’m stupider from reading this opinionated bullshit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000481366684 William Bowman

    Your an idiot….

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1442976913 Phillip Skittles Jarrett

      You’re*………
      Oh the irony.

  • gedsego

    why did i take time to read this?

  • goose

    Hating on Him…..mfw theres no face

  • Oliver

    Worst article ever.. How is Slayer the best logo? Its so simple and could be made in 3 minutes.. Nothing special..

    • Angel Ramiro Chavarin

      As much as I love Slayer, yeah you’re right it is pretty lazy.

  • alberbleuhm

    NIN?????….Cool “metal” logo??….. are you on crack??

    • Ganondox

      Not exactly a metal logo, but the design is cool within it’s aesthetics and fits the band really well.

  • Roger

    The heartagram is one of the best symbols ever

  • TheYearsTragedy

    Are you serious? The Heartagram is in the worst section! That is complete bullshit. You can call HIM’s symbol satanic or cultist or whatever you feel like but hen you see that symbol you know what it stands for. It’s been used by Bam Margera, which adds to the fame of it entirely. Some may say that that was a sell out but Bam loves HIM more than anything so I feel he has every right to use the symbol that they constructed. Just..Bullshit! As a matter of fact I’m getting a Heartagram tattooed on me within the month!

  • JamesDean

    Hi. I’m a logo designer. I get pretty well to do it, too. You, sir, are NOT a logo designer. Apparently, not a metal fan, either. NIN? Metal? KILLSWITCH? Worse than MAYHEM? SLAYER, although pretty much as metal as any band could ever be, has one of the laziest logo types of all time. Oh, and that gay-ass heartagram? One of the highest grossing merchandised brands of the last ten years. Are you completely fucking retarded or was this a vain and pathetic attempt at getting a bunch of comments? “We are all now DUMBER for having heard your answer. I award you no points… and may God have mercy on your soul.” Also, avoid operating a motor vehicle… because you’re obviously visually impaired and about as metal as a plastic bag.

    • Ganondox

      You don’t need to be an ass. Yes, you are a logo designer and he is not, but that doesn’t matter as this in an OPINIONATED piece. For an opinionated piece he did pretty well as he explained exactly what was appealing or unappealing about each logo. Yes, the heartagram works great as a logo from a marketing standpoint, it’s a great design, but he pointed out the idiocy in it’s symbolism. It’s an opinion, you don’t need to rate things by objective merits like sales. Just because he has a different opinion than you does not make him an idiot.

      Ps. NIN isn’t a metal band, but they make metal music on occasion, like most of the Broken EP, and thus they qualify. Killswitch is metal too, but worse than Mayhem :P.

  • tiffany

    hahah megadeth got the worse METALLICA FOR THE WIN :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/arc.angel.54 Arc Angel

    I am gonna disagree with your opinion,
    that’s all

    • Ganondox

      The only decent person on this comment section.

  • Ganondox

    The Slayer logo is the worst logo ever, it should have been replaced by one of the honorable mentions, which are the best.

  • dsuciato

    Only an asshole says MEGADETH lame!!!!!!

    • James

      He’s not saying Megadeth is lame. Just their logo. Seriously, Megadeth kicks ass but they kind of ripped off Metallica logo, just a little bit.

  • GrebGoneBad

    I notice a trend here, and not just in this particular article. The most successful bands have logo’s that simply state the band name, either in full or as initials. I think this has something to do with the fact that you can clearly see who the band are (As you can read the name) and the ‘logo’ is simple to remember and replicate.
    I would also like to point out that Metallica has a second, not so well known logo of sorts. The Metallica ninja start, made out of 4 M’s 90 degrees to each other. Simply brilliant.